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Foodie Fare
Foodie Fare

Making Mother’s Day even sweeter

By Christina O Connor Photos By Anthony Consillio
May 4, 2014

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By 4 a.m. each day, the bakers at Hokulani Bake Shop are already up and working — rolling dough, decorating sugar cookies by hand and whipping up their award-winning cupcakes.

“We adhere to a strict quality of freshness,” explains Tushar Dubey, who co-owns Hokulani with wife Ana. “When you see an item at any of our stores, you can be confident it was baked that morning.”

Hokulani constantly rolls out new and seasonal products. Right now, for example, you can treat Mom to a Mother’s Day Gift Box that offers 6 cupcakes ($15) or one dozen ($30, gift packaging is available for pre-orders only). Customers can personalize their package by selecting from a variety of flavors including Red Velvet and Strawberry Guava adorned with an edible rose made of frosting.

If cookies are more Mom’s speed, Hokulani presents its special Mother’s Day Cookie ($4). Sweet sayings such as “I love mom” adorn each cookie, which come in shapes of plumeria, hearts and more.

And great news! Hokulani recently introduced its Peanut Butter Jelly Cup-cake ($3.50), which features organic peanut butter and housemade jelly.

“If you’re a peanut butter fan, you will love this cupcake,” Dubey says.

Expect new flavors this month and next. Come Monday, Lychee Cupcake (with a whole lychee inside) and Vanilla Creamsicle (a vanilla cupcake with orange cream cheese frosting) will make their debut, joined by Banana Cupcake Thursday, which incorporates local apple bananas with a choice of chocolate cream cheese or peanut butter cream cheese frosting.

You also can be sure that all items at Hokulani Bake Shop are sans oil, trans fats or corn syrup.

On the Side

When Hokulani Bake Shop owner Tushar Dubey called New York City home about 12 years ago, he spent a lot of time frequenting the great, innovative restaurants in the area. What he enjoyed most was the variety and creativity produced by the bakeries there. He was mostly impressed with Eleni’s, a bake shop famous for its whimsically decorated sugar cookies.

“I thought it was amazing, and I wondered, ‘why isn’t anybody doing this in Honolulu?'” recalls Tushar, an Oahu native. “I had the idea to take what I saw at Eleni’s and bring it back to Honolulu.”

When Tushar returned to the Islands in 2004 with his wife Ana (whom he met in New York), he originally launched a line of refrigerator magnets with local sayings, yet the couple couldn’t get cupcakes out of their heads and decided to pursue their dream of starting a bakery.

“Everybody thought we were crazy!” Ana recalls.

After all, neither Tushar nor Ana had a background in baking, or much experience in the restaurant industry, save for a few stints as servers. But they did — and still do — care deeply about bringing fresh, quality products to the market.

“I always had a passion for good food and good desserts,” says Tushar.

By 2005, Hokulani Bake Shop opened its first location at Waterfront Plaza. Things started small; at first they focused on sugar cookies. Then, after a few months, they launched their cupcakes. The Dubeys admit that at first their cupcakes were “really bad.”

“We feel sorry for the first customers,” says Tushar with a laugh.

But through a process of trial and error, and nonstop baking, Tushar and Ana have perfected their product. These days, Hokulani seems to have found its sweet spot. Hokulani now has a total of four locations: Pearlridge Uptown, Windward Mall and Hyatt Regency Waikiki, in addition to Waterfront Plaza.

Contact Christina O’Connor at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Hokulani Bake Shop

500 Ala Moana Blvd. Ste. 4B, Honolulu
(additional locations at Windward Mall, Hyatt Regency Waikiki, Pioneer Plaza and Pearlridge Center)
536-2253
Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.