Puligi Samoa Steamed Spice Cake


February 25, 2022 9:45 a.m.

Be Well Utah

Passing down recipes from generation to generation is a tradition for many Pacific Islander cultures. Over the years we find subtle changes by each generation to make it their own. Chief Pomaikai of Taro Patch Catering remembers seeing his uncle make Puligi in a pot of crackers over the fire at many family gatherings and has now brought you his variation.

cooking with SKIN (Pasifika Enriching Arts of Utah) is a collaborative effort with Be Well Utah and University of Utah Health to achieve two goals:

  1. teach people how to cook “traditional” Pacific Island dishes.
  2. to provide healthier options for some of the ingredients in recipes frequently used by Pacific Islanders.

Puligi Samoa Steamed Spice Cake

Makes 12 slices (slice size may vary)

Can be served with traditional Haupia pudding diluted with a little extra skimmed milk to desired thickness.

Puligi Ingredients:

4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon chilli

1/4 tsp salt

1 ½ cups 2% reduced fat milk

1 cup monk fruit sweetener

1 cup rapeseed oil

3 eggs

Ingredients of “burnt” sugar:

2 cups monk fruit sweetener*

2 cups of water

*can add nuts or raisins as an alternative

Haupia Pudding Ingredients:

2 – 12oz. cans of coconut cream

4 tablespoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons monk fruit sugar

Baked Instructions:

  • Grease the Bundt pan well with butter. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Cook the sugar over high heat, stirring constantly, until it turns light mahogany brown. Add water and stir.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, monk fruit sweetener, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and all the spices.
  • Combine dry ingredients, eggs, oil and milk. Add the burnt sugar mixture when cooled, alternating about 1/3 of each at a time until smooth; may not need all of the burnt sugar mixture. When batter is smooth, pour into Bundt pan. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 60 to 75 minutes.
  • While Puigi cooks, mix the coconut cream, cornstarch and monk fruit sugar together, stirring frequently for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until thickened to desired texture . Let cool. Can replace powdered sugar.
  • Remove from oven, let cool, then remove from Bundt pan. Serve with powdered sugar or Haupia pudding and enjoy!

Steaming Instructions:

  • Replace the Bundt pan with a homemade steamer.
  • Take a large saucepan, place a small saucer upside down in the bottom and cover with a personal pizza rack. Top with a metal cullender and line the inside of the cullender with muslin.
  • Pour the batter into the muslin and pull each corner together and secure tightly with a piece of muslin. Leave about 1 inch of space between the dough and the muslin knot.
  • Add aluminum foil to prevent water from entering the muslin.
  • Allow to steam for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.



1 tablespoon of gelatin

1/4 C water

1/4 C sugar

4 eggs, separated

1/2 C frozen passion fruit juice, thawed

6 tablespoons of sugar

1 9-inch baked pie crust (baked)

1 C Heavy cream, whipped into stiff peaks


Soak the gelatin in water.

Beat together 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks until well blended. Cook in a bain-marie, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick. Remove from fire.

Add gelatin. Stir until it dissolves. Costs.

Add the thawed passion fruit juice and beat until completely blended.

Cool until slightly thickened but don’t let it set.

Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of sugar and continue beating the whites until stiff.

Fold the thick mixture of passion fruit and gelatin into the egg whites.

Pour into the cooled and baked pie shell.

Cool until firm.

Garnish with whipped cream.

Be Well Utah 2021 offers virtual cooking demonstrations so you can learn how to prepare tasty and nutritious meals from home. Our Registered Dietitians at the University of Utah Health have partnered with PEAU to modify traditional Pacific Island recipes that are easy to prepare, include healthy ingredients, and are suitable for the whole family. Watch the cooking demonstration on our Facebook page or follow the recipe below. We encourage you to share a photo of your family with your completed Be Well Utah recipe and tag @BeWellUtah on Facebook and Instagram.

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