This is the tale (or should we say saga?) of the beloved Oatcakes from Starbucks / Costco / Honolulu Baking Co. The legend is real. And delicious.
are were a thing in Hawaii. For a long time, since mid-1990s.
After school, my friends and I often walked to Starbucks Manoa. We’d split a Frappuccino and each get our own Oatcake. When I went on a trip, we’d visit Starbucks on the way to the airport and get an Oatcake to tuck in my backpack. For just in case I got hungry…
The Oatcakes were brown, round, and study. They didn’t look like much (they were actually pretty unattractive), but they were delicious. It’s one of those if you know, you know things. You know??
Those who didn’t know really had no idea. What. You eat pastries at Starbucks?? When there’s a ton of other amazing local bakeries? You go to Starbucks?
But it wasn’t about all the pastries. It was only about the Oatcake. Not many people wrote about these Oatcakes on the internet. Except on my old blog. Because there wasn’t much out there about the Oatcakes, anyone who googled them wound up at the blog, specifically at this post. If you search for something so specific, you must really be interested in them. So I got a TON of emails from Oatcakes loyalists over the past many years. We were a private Oatcake fan club and I felt like the leader lol. This is that old post. And I’m here today with an update!
But let’s start at the beginning.
The First Post
My first post about the Starbucks oatcake was on August 31, 2006. This is what is said:
The Starbucks Oatcake. Only found in Hawaii. And not even all of Hawaii. Only on the island of Oahu. Kinda neato, eh? I was introduced to these mysteriously ugly brown rounds by my friend Noelle. She would bring them into our high school newspaper office every so often and munch on them for breakfast/lunch/snack, or whatevers. I was intrigued. It took quite a while to eat, those heavy monsters. And they weren’t very attractive at all.
Then one day, out of sheer curiosity more than anything…I bought one. $2.25. Weightwise, I felt as if I were carrying 3 or 4 of their scones. I pulled it out and inspected it. Ugly. Moldy appearance. Hard. I couldn’t wait to dig in 🙂
And you know what? These things are awesome! Close your eyes and eat. Eat bit pulled off (I wouldn’t suggest biting a piece off with your mouth) is a bit chewy with the faintest taste of honey. Lots of nutty oats and the occasional bit of blueberry, but more often, dried cranberries. Blended with ground walnuts, it’s not too sweet yet satisfies my dessert and lunch craving. And at 500 calories a piece, you bet it’s a lunch! So add this on you list of excuses to come visit our little island: I need to go to Starbucks. And please don’t turn your nose up high. I like Starbucks. Besides, the oatcakes aren’t shipped over from some random place but are baked by our very own local Honolulu Baking Co.
And make sure to visit early as they sell out fast – islanders are addicted to these Hawaiian Hockeypucks. Here’s comment posted by “MR” on the Starbucks Gossip post on the general crappiness of Starbucks pastries, “The only Starbucks that has good pastries are the ones in Hawaii. Why? They use local vendors. That’s what all of them should do! They have a killer oatcake!” Indeed. Why in fact, it’s caused quite a bit of experimenting on the part of Hawaii’s newspapers and local homecooks more than once. But after reading the recipe, I think I’ll stick with purchasing them!
The Second Post
The second post was on February 4, 2010. This is what it said:
In 2006 I made a post about the Oatcakes that you can find only at the Hawaii locations of Starbucks. They are wonderful. A few things about these oatcakes (and why pastries at Hawaii Starbucks are much better than those on the mainland):
- The pastries are baked locally, by the Honolulu Baking Co.
- Locals are so addicted to these oatcakes that Betty Shimabukuro at Star Bulletin did an article on how to recreate them. Actually, make that two articles!
- Oatcakes: not so pretty but very tasty.
- About 500 calories apiece
I recently received an email from a reader, Ken. He had fallen for the oatcake (no one can resist the charms of this oatcake) and emailed Honolulu Baking Co. for the recipe. And they gave it out, just like that! Ken was thoughtful enough to email me the recipe (thank you, Ken!). I thought we’d share it with you ^-^
The recipe makes plenty so plan accordingly…
4# whole wheat flour
1 oz. baking powder
4 tsp salt
3 cup/1#4oz. brown sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
6 cup pecans
4 cup cranberries
3 cup dates
2 1/2 # butter (melted)
2 1/2 # water
2 cup honey
1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
2. Combine all dry ingredients.
3. Add liquid, mix just until everything is incorporated.
4. Scale into 5 oz. balls, and press into 3″ cake rings.
5. Bake at @350F for 25 minutes.
The Third Post
The third post was on June 1, 2018. This is what it said:
I originally posted about Hawaii Starbucks Oatcake in 2006, and then again in 2010. Over a decade later, this post remains one of the most popular posts on the blog. I would have never expected that! But it’s pretty cool. And fun. I still eat Oatcakes often when I am home in Hawaii (some habits never change). A few updates I want to note:
- Not sure if Honolulu Baking Co. still bakes the Oatcakes or if they’re baked by another company.
- I haven’t personally made the recipe Ken sent. There seems to be an issue with the lack of blueberries in the recipe (which is supposed to give the oatcakes that blue/grey color).
- I am trying to find out who the current baking company is. And get a recipe straight from the company. It would also would be fun if we could get into the kitchen to see the production process. I will keep you posted.
The Fourth Post
The fourth post was on May 10, 2019. This is what it said:
Hi, everyone. Some upsetting news today. Thank you so much to Robert from Mililani for the below email:
“Last week I went into Starbucks to purchase my oat cake only to learn that it had been replaced with a lame substitute from the Mainland… not EVEN close.
Very sad day for a foodie ;-(“
I agree it is a very, very sad day. And I have no idea why Starbucks would do this. I’ve been eating these oatcakes since middle school time and it breaks my heart that we won’t be able to get them anymore. They were the main reason I went to Starbucks. And they were SO delicious. I’ll ask around and see if Honolulu Baking Co. might be able to share recipe now given the situation.
The Fifth Post
The fourth post was on May 13, 2019. This is what it said:
A second update (and good news). Thanks to Robert from Mililani!
“I also spoke with a very kind lady at the Honolulu Baking Company who said that she will be offering the oat cakes at Costco in packs of six (6). She added that they freeze well for up to a month.”
What Now? Aka Current Update / Good News
Well first off, THANK YOU again to Robert from Mililani. I knew we could count on our private oatcakes fan club!
Second, I got to Costco as fast as I could. Meanwhile, the news was breaking everywhere! The local newspaper, local IG accounts, local news, etc.
Here we are at the Iwilei Costco. Oatcakes galore! They have Oatcakes available at all Costco locations Oahu (I’m not sure about the neighbor islands.)
I also stopped by Starbucks Kahala to look at the new mainland oatcake substitute. They look oddly smooth and strange.
Back to Costco. Ok so the Oatcakes are sold in 6-pack for $7.99. (They used to be about $3.95 each at Starbucks.) So this is a deal. BUT these Costco ones are much smaller, maybe about 60% the size of the originals? No complaints though.
Better look at the packaging…
…and ingredients / nutrition facts.
They taste as good as I remember! So happy. These are so hard to describe but you must try them. They’re super dense and moist and nutty in all the right way. Bits of blueberries and cranberries speckled in there. My sister and I ate the entire box in one day. Then we went back a few days later to buy another box. They’re great out of the box the first two days. After that you want to refrigerate and then toast them (super good hot).
Long live the Costco / Honolulu Baking Co. Oatcakes ^_^