Cinnamon Custard Cake {Latiya}

 Cinnamon Custard Cake, or Latiya (pronounced “la-tee-ja”), is a delicate dessert among the islanders of Guam. Angel food cake, sponge cake, yellow cake, or pound cake can be used as the base. Our family prefers to make it with pound cake. 
It’s funny how a picture can say a thousand words. Just glancing at one can bring out the tiniest bit of emotion that you never knew existed. My parents are the ones who take up occupancy in the picture below. I assume it was taken before I came into this world, hence their smiling faces πŸ™‚
As a child, I used to stare at this picture for hours, wondering what they were thinking as they looked into the lens of the camera. Looking at this picture as a middle-aged adult who is no longer a child, I see a couple who is about to embark on the greatest journey of their lives together as a military family.
They met on the tiny island of Guam, where both of them are from. Dad was in the U.S. Marines when they married. They relocated to the United States shortly after their wedding and a couple of years later, my father transferred over to the U.S. Army, where he retired as a First Sergeant.

Throughout all our travels, my mother would always cook and bake dishes from her native island.  It wasn’t unusual for her to spend half the day in the kitchen, cooking up our favorite Chamorran (the name that describes everything Guam related) dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or *just cause.*  I think it was her way of chasing away the homesickness.

When I moved out on my own in my early 20’s, I made sure that I took copies of the recipes to some of her signature dishes that I grew to love. Latiya is one of them πŸ™‚

This dessert is famous among the people of Guam. I LOVE it because it’s like comfort food for me. Who can resist angel food cake/sponge cake with a tasty, creamy custard on top and cinnamon sprinkles to round it out??

It’s great to make if you are having a barbecue or have been invited to a special event because it makes quite a lot.  All the credit goes to my mom when it comes to this recipe.  She is the one who introduced this dish to us and in turn, I am introducing it to all of you πŸ˜‰

Cinnamon and Custard Cake (Latiya)

Cinnamon Custard Cake, or Latiya (pronounced "la-tee-ja"), is a delicate dessert among the islanders of Guam. Angel food cake, sponge cake, yellow cake, or pound cake can be used as the base. Our family prefers to make it with pound cake.Serving Size: 1 piece 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 10 people
Calories Per Serving: 541


  • 1 stick butter
  • 24 oz. can of Evaporated Milk
  • 2 cans of water, poured into both emptied evaporated milk cans
  • 1 and 1/4 cup sugar
  • 12 tbsp. or 3/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 Store bought or homemade angel food cake, sponge cake, or pound cake


  • Cut the cake into squares and place them on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan.
  • Melt butter in a pot and add milk. Add one of the cans of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium.
  • In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch and the second can of water. Mix thoroughly.
  • Add the cornstarch mixture to the milk mixture and stir constantly. Add the sugar while stirring.
  • Let this boil for 5 minutes or until thickened. It may take a while to thicken, but it will πŸ™‚
  • Pour over the cake. Place in the fridge to chill for a few hours or over night.
  • Sprinkle with enough cinnamon to decorate and serve.

Libby's Notes

Recipe Source:
My mama πŸ˜‰


Calories: 541kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @cooknwithlibby or tag #cookwlib!


  1. YUM! I like the sound of this!! Thanks for the recipe! Great site! πŸ™‚

    1. Nicole Bolton says:

      I just wanted to say what a beautiful story of your parents. My mom is from Guam. I feel this so much. Thankyou for sharing. My mom is a Quitugua from Piti

      1. Very welcome for sharing Nicole πŸ˜‰ Thank you for reading πŸ˜‰

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hafa adai. I'm glad I came across your corner of the Internet. I was on, did a search for Guam and your latiya recipe came up. That's one of my favorite desserts from home. It's funny that your recipe uses a Carnation can as measurement – my mom's recipe calls for the same thing. I'm definitely paying your blog another visit soon. Happy Holidays to your and your family.

    – Rich T (Guam/Seattle)

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Libby – silly question for you – do you pour the liquid on while it's still hot? The angel food cake looks flat in the picture. Thanks!!

  4. Yes. You pour the liquid on while it is still hot. As it cools, it will begin to thicken. It's ok if the angel food cake is cut flat or in chunks. It's good either way πŸ˜‰ Hope this answers your question πŸ™‚

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sponge cake, pound cake or yellow cake can also be used to make this dessert.

  6. I'm not Chamorro, but I lived in Guam for a good part of my life and I just wanted to thank you for putting this recipe up. I have taken Chamorro in high school, but I left behind the recipes that my teacher have given us back in Guam. I tried recalling the recipes, but I couldn't so I searched it up. πŸ™‚
    I love eating latiya while it's still warm and over pound cake. πŸ˜€
    Again, thank you so much!

    1. You are very welcome πŸ™‚ We LOVE this dessert here πŸ˜‰

  7. Anonymous says:

    What size can of evaporated milk do you use?

    1. We use two (12 oz.) cans of evaporated milk πŸ™‚

  8. Anonymous says:

    My grandma never measured… I remember her standing at the stove, throwing in this & that & of course, she used the empty can of carnation to measure the water…

  9. Hafa adai! Thank you for posting my favorite recipe from family parties. My grandmother was a Libby from Guam too. Her mother was from Saipan and always made this with ladyfingers, and my grandmother would use a spongecake. I think angel food cake sounds really good. I'll have to pass on your URL to my sister!

    1. Ohhh…ladyfingers would go well with this! I think we did try it with spongecake before as well πŸ˜‰ Yes…please pass this on to your sister πŸ˜‰

  10. karen smead mondale says:

    My grandmother (Marion Lake Smead) started the high school in Guam. She cooked something she called masaki that she learned from a native Guam friend. It's a DELICIOUS dish comprised of eggplant, ground beef, tomatoes, onion. I have added garlic, turmeric, rosenary to my version & serve it over rice or elbow macaroni, sometimes adding grated cheese.

    Anyone from Guam heard of this masaki? I'd live to see the original or different version.

  11. What a sweet sweet post Libby! I smiled all the way through…pinning this amazing dish. Thanks for sharing – hope you enjoy an awesome Mother's Day!

    1. Thank you Marsha! I hope yours was a good one as well πŸ™‚

  12. Hi Libby! First off, beautiful picture of your parents. I was wondering if you left out eggs from the recipe? I’ve never tried it without eggs. I like the sound of this better.

    1. Yes. I did leave out the eggs. This is my mother’s recipe and she never made it with eggs πŸ˜‰

  13. Evelyn Lauren Tapel says:

    I was born in Guam lived in the states now for a very long time, and missed eating this desert. And many Guamanian dished. I’ve tried your recipe 2 times now and it’s a hit. It’s so easy to make and so delicious and light. My friends took home the leftovers and I was left with a little piece. Thanks for making it so easy for us.

    1. You are very welcome Evelyn. I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe πŸ˜‰

  14. My mom (East coast white girl) learned from my grandma ( pure Chamorro). She spent 3 months with her learning how to cook island food for my dad. The difference is they add a layer of fruit cocktail between the cake and custard and it is awesome. My daughter and granddaughter are learning now how to cook this.

    1. Ohhhh that sounds like a wonderful addition! We will have to try this! Thank you for sharing this memory with us πŸ˜‰

  15. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it turned out amazing! The only issue, you could say, that I ran into was that once I started pouring the custard mixture onto the pound cake, it started to float or rise up a bit. Did you have any suggestions on how to prevent that?

    1. Hmmmm….I am not sure as this has never happened when I make it. Maybe use a deeper dish to place it in? That may work.

  16. Thank you for this recipe. My only comment is that the term is β€œChamorro” not β€œChamorran”. This is a common mistake but honestly it’s like nails on a chalk board for many of us that grew up in the Marianas. But thank you for sharing these special recipes! It means a lot to Chamorros and Guamanians l living abroad.

    1. Thank you for letting me know this, as I grew up in the United States and not on the island. Very welcome for sharing these recipes πŸ™‚

  17. Never pour the custard all at one time to the sliced cakes! Use a ladle or coffee cup to gently pour the hot custard onto the cake. It is the sudden force of gravity when pouring that causes the cake to β€œfloat”.

  18. Anonymous says:

    5 stars
    This is so delicious thank you 😊

  19. Jeanann Cruz Birder says:

    I grew up with this dessert too. My mom would make her own sponge cake. There was a time when this is all she made and we were burnt out on Latiya! Good memories. I am going to make this for my moms 80 th birthday. Thank you for sharing

    1. Very welcome Jeanann. What a wonderful memory! Enjoy the recipe πŸ˜‰

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for this recipe. My husband’s co-worker, who is from Guam, just passed away. We are taking food to the family, and I made your recipe. I hope it brings comfort to her family at this time.

    1. I am sorry to hear about this πŸ™ I hope this recipe was able to surround them with comfort during this difficult time.

  21. Hello Libby,
    FYI, your dad was in my elementary class. Don’t want to mention his name. Was a very quiet individual and shy.

  22. 5 stars
    Hi Libby!! Do I put it in the fridge while it’s still hot or let it cool down and then put it in the fridge over night? Thank you!!

    1. We normally let it cool down for at least 30 minutes and then put it in the fridge over night.

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