Saturday, October 22, 2011

Keke Koko - Koko Cake

By panipopos

You saw it here first! 

A Panipopos' Kitchen original.

Keke Koko.
(try saying it real fast, non-stop...sounds like a train)

Now I know there are going to be protests and complaints over this. In fact, when I first mentioned the idea to my sister O, who is in the food business, she said, "Why do you have to mess around with our traditional food?" and I said, "Well someone has to, or else Samoan food is never going to develop". 

And I truly believe this. 
Why not mix things up a bit and have some fun with Samoan ingredients. You never know. The results could turn out to be finger-licking, fork-licking, even PLATE-licking good. 

So, how did this recipe come about? Well, I've been thinking of ways that we can use Koko Samoa that don't involve drinking it. Because let's face it, the whole 'pegu between the teeth' thing isn't everyone's cup of tea. 

So what I came up with is a dense fudgy cake with the taste of chocolate, and the texture of nuts. That's right - chocolate plus nuts. Best thing is, there are no chocolate or nuts anywhere in the recipe! Simply koko.

I tested this on a friend that has extreme pegu aversion, and he gave it a thumbs up. So enjoy!

Keke Koko
makes an 8 inch (20cm) square cake

¾ cup grated Koko Samoa
½ cup boiling water
3 eggs
½ cup water
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 sticks (225gr) butter, softened
2 cups flour
1½ cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the koko and leave it to cool to room temperature.

Mix the eggs, water and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

When the koko has cooled, add the butter to the large bowl and beat until well combined. 

Sift in the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat with a mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened and then beat on medium for 1½ minutes. 

Finally add the egg mixture in two parts, beating well for ½ a minute after each addition. 

Pour into a lined cake pan and bake for 45-60 minutes at 350°F (180°C).

Try to let the cake cool (the aroma will make it difficult) and then cut into 8 or 12 pieces. 

Do NOT serve with a cup of freshly brewed koko Samoa. It's just too much, believe me. 

While you're munching on your koko cake, take a chance to check out Becki's efforts over at Cooking by Stove. Earlier this year she started cooking around the world, and you can see her take on American Samoan food here. She made our keke pua'a dough and paifala, and looked like she had a heck of a meal! Thanks Becki! 

And to those of you out there who make Panipopos' Kitchen recipes, feel free to share your cooking with our readers. Most people only visit my site just to look at the photos anyway. 


  1. LOL@just looking at the photos. I'll admit, I'm one of them... but I absolutely love your blog! When I'm homesick or in need of some Samoan soul food... I come to your site and just imagine I'm having one of your delicious recipes!! Thanks for sharing the love!!! :)

  2. Thanks for 'fessin up...haha...You're not alone...heaps of lurkers on my site. Enjoy!

  3. This looks delicious. I'm going to have to try it the next time my mom comes to visit and brings me some koko. :)

  4. LOL but your photos look so yummy! But seriously THANK YOU for posting all these recipes. This keke sounds very interesting. Great job on thinking outside the box!

  5. Let me know it works out for you...All the best!

  6. this is an awesome idea!! Thanks to the generous inlaws we have an over supply of koko in the fridge WE LOVE the this is going to be an interesting way to try it :) Will post how it turned out when I get around to making this one up :)

  7. Hope it works out! I would love to have feedback on this recipe, so definitely let me know how it goes...Even if you don't like it, please let me know because I'm not too proud to adjust my recipe if it luck!

  8. I had to check this out as soon as I read the post the name (it does sound like a train!), but love the idea of chocolate and nuts in a cake too (pity the ones who don't like one or the other or both!).

  9. Hey Rowena, great to see's a really nice cake so pls give it a go...If you don't have any koko, I'll send you some.

  10. wow...that looks all of the above....will try as soon as someone comes visit me fm home with my koko samoa....hahaha...thank you for the very wonderful recipes....can i make a request?..okay couple of request. one for the nz long john doughnut thingy and the keke saiga?...the flower looking one...thanks for willing to share your recipes....<3 alofas..

  11. Hi, thanks for dropping by the blog...not sure what nz long john doughnuts are but I'll google it...Happy cooking!

  12. I love that pegu between the teeth' thing

  13. as do majority of Samoans...but I've heard it described as "like having dirt between your teeth" and "like eating sand"

  14. YAAAAAY My aunt in samoa told me that she made a cake of the same sort so decided to google it cos the ai'u wouldn't give me the recipe to the shops to buy the ingredients!! THANKS xoxo

    1. LOL funny how she wouldn't give you a recipe that you can find for free...Hope you enjoy the cake!

  15. I tried the kekepuaa n the pagipopo ..loved it my kids loved it especially the kekepua so we call it it coming :)

    1. Thanks for the happy your kids enjoyed the food. If they loved the kekepua'a (manapua), you must have made an awesome filling. Great stuff!

  16. Thanks so much for sharing this fantastic recipe! I made a double recipe and shared with a friend and she loved it. It is not the sweetest keke. Sadieʻs Restaurant in American Samoa makes this with a cream cheese frosting, so next time I make it Iʻll try out that pairing. Thanks again.

  17. Luv the koko cake recipe so keen to try it out:). Do you have a chocolate brownie recipe using koko instead of regular cocoa

    Thank You :)

  18. Talofa do you think I can substitute oil for the butter since its such a dense cake?

  19. This was the perfect thing to make late at night! Not too sweet, just right