Samoa: Samoan Steamed Bundt Cake w/ Vanilla Custard


This week we traveled to the country of Samoa and ate Samoan Steamed Bundt Cake with Vanilla Custard. So far, this has been my favorite destination because of the recipe and also because I have always been fascinated by this country. 


The people of Samoa are known to love to joke around, sing, dance and are serious about three things in life which are faith, family and music. Their family is so important to them that they do most activities together. 

Samoan’s traditionally live in a fale (their form of a house), which contains no walls and up to 20 people may sleep on the floor of the fale. During the day, the fale is mainly used for chatting & relaxing. Elders in the family are greatly respected and held to the highest status.


Every major life event is marked with a feast, and every Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. Most Samoan families meet together to share an umu together for a Sunday afternoon meal. In a traditional Samoan household, the older members of the family will sit and eat first, and as the meal continues the younger members and the children are invited to eat.

As I was researching and learning about the cuisine of Samoa, I kept coming across recipes for Steamed Spice Cake, otherwise known as Puligi, which is a popular sweet treat in Samoa. This cake is traditionally steamed in an underground oven known as an umu.

When I was looking at this recipe, I decided that it needed to be a little more simplified so I came up with my own version that is a little more simple. This cake tastes good with or without the custard. I prefer it with custard, but my husband thinks it tastes better without.

Samoan Steamed Pudding Cake with Vanilla Custard


3 1/2 cups GF Flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

2 cups sugar, separated

1/4 tsp. salt

2 sticks DF butter

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup water

1 can coconut milk

1/2 cup raisins

Handful of Almonds or walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Grease your bundt pan with olive oil or coconut oil and set aside.

Place 1 cup of sugar in a pot over high heat and stir constantly until it turns a syrupy brown color. Slowly add the water and whisk in the coconut milk. Once all the liquids are added it will look like a cocoa colored liquid. Set aside.


In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a mixing bowl cream together the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar. Add in the eggs and vanilla. Then alternately add the flour mixture and burnt sugar mixture. Mix in the raisins and your nuts of choice. When the batter is smooth, pour into your prepared bundt pan.


Just a side a note here! DO NOT overfill your bundt pan like I did because then you will end up with a big globby mess in your oven (see pic below)!


Cover your bundt pan tightly with foil and bake for 1 hr.

Let the bundt cake cool and then remove from bundt pan.


Serve cake with custard sauce on top.


Vanilla Custard

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 cups DF Milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup honey or maple syrup

Place cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the milk and whisk constantly for 2 to 4 min. until smooth and thickened. Make sure there are no lumps. Whisk in the remaining milk, vanilla extract, and honey. Continue to whisk constantly until the mixture thickens.

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