Passion-Orange-Guava (POG) Cake

Before POG was a game in the ’90s, it was an acronym for a juice blend invented in the ’70s on Maui. The tart yet sweet blend of passion fruit, orange, and guava juices is nostalgic for many — especially my Dad.

(Oddly enough, the game “pogs” is named after the juice — in ’91 a school teacher used POG juice caps to  teach a modern version of a plantation-era game flipping ‘milk covas’ from the ’30s. My ’90s mind would have been blown!)

POG is relatively unknown on the mainland, and it is near impossible to find. I have only seen Aloha or Hawaiian Sun brands on the east coast, which are thick, syrupy, and lack freshness.

But, the POG experience can be re-created. For my sister’s rehearsal dinner in March we catered dessert from Taste of Aloha and the POG cupcakes were non-negotiable.

I asked baking kumu Amy if she would share her cupcake recipe so I could make it into a birthday cake for my Dad. Thankfully she obliged!

The POG cake was a hit (again!). Since I made cakes instead of cupcakes, the baking time was much longer (~40 minutes), but the cake was still incredibly moist and flavorful.

I also opted for 2 different fillings since there were 4 layers of cake. Filling 1 was a tropical fruit curd which consisted of: peach-passion fruit juice, palekaiko tea, ginger, orange puree, li hing powder. Filling 2 was the incredibly creamy and smooth liliko’i butter from Kahuku Farms that I recently lugged back from Hawai’i.

I covered the cake in toasted coconut because I didn’t want to make candied orange peel, but in hindsight it would probably be quicker to make the orange peel!

POG Cake

By nicole Published: October 7, 2018

  • Yield: 2 6-inch cakes (10 Servings)
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Ready In: 2 hrs 0 min

Adapted from Taste of Aloha



  1. CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In your stand mixer, add the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, corn starch, baking powder, salt) and mix together until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients (oil, milk, orange puree, eggs, extracts) until just combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on low, increasing to medium. Scrape the sides and bottom with a rubber spatula to ensure all dry ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Grease and flour 2 6-inch round cake tins. Line the bottom with parchment rounds. Fill with 2 cups of batter, tapping to remove large air bubbles. (Note: you will have enough batter to make a few extra cupcakes. Fill wells ¾ full and bake 18-20 minutes)
  6. Bake until cake tester comes out clean and tops are golden brown, 35-40 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 30 minutes before removing from tins.
  8. Cut the cake layers in half, yielding 4 layers total.
  9. Wrap layers in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until ready to assemble. While chilling, start on the filling, frosting, and garnish.
  10. GARNISH: Preheat oven to 300°F. Place coconut flakes in heat safe dish in a single layer. Place in oven, stirring every few minutes to prevent over-browning. Once desired color is achieved (30-40 minutes), remove and allow to cool.
  11. FILLING: Add passion fruit juice to a pan and bring to boil, reserving some juice. Add cornstarch to reserved juice to make a slurry. Add slurry to heated juice to thicken. Allow to cool before using (can be placed in refrigerator).
  12. FROSTING: In the bowl of a mixer combine butter, jelly, and cream cheese until smooth. Add guava flavoring. Add powdered sugar and combine until smooth. If necessary, thin using milk.
  13. ASSEMBLY: Place first layer of chilled cake on plate or stand, adhering with a bit of frosting.
  14. Using a piping bag, pipe a ring of frosting around the edge of the cake layer, leaving about a ½ inch margin between the frosting and the edge of the cake.
  15. Fill the inner circle with filling of choice (passion fruit reduction or liliko'i butter). (If baking cupcakes, fill using the cone method.)
  16. Place next layer of cake on top and repeat until all layers are complete.
  17. Apply a thin crumb coat of frosting around the sides and top using an offset spatula.
  18. Chill to allow crumb coat to set (at least 15 minutes).
  19. Apply a thicker layer of frosting to the now-chilled crumb coat.
  20. If garnishing with toasted coconut, press handfuls of coconut flakes into the side of the cake. Dust off excess.

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