by LINDA FRABL | photos by Tyler McElhaney

Hawaiian Dessert Delights


After taking a glorious trip to Hawaii, it’s usually a letdown to return to the mainland and merely dream about all of those tantalizing tropical treats, right? Wrong! Susan and Mark S. McKenna thankfully brought the enticing delights of Hawaii to their new interactive dessert destination, Ohana Cupcakes.

cs_ohana2Sounding as if he’s describing a lush Hawaiian resort instead of a cupcake store, Mark explained, “When you arrive, you feel as though you are on vacation. A tropical vibe with ocean colors abounds, and we’ll greet you with a huge ‘Aloha.’ On the surfboard hanging overhead, you see the options that await you.” And what tantalizing options there are!

There is a “Create, Bake, and Take” station, where you make your own cupcake while donning a chef’s hat and apron. You mix your chosen ingredients at the mixing bar, and an Ohana team member then bakes your concoction in about eight minutes, whereupon you can decorate it with exciting toppings! Susan declared, “When your cupcake is ready, you will see a train take the baked cupcakes from the mixing station to the decorating station!”


“…If we can bring a bit of that magic to the mainland, we have done our job.”


If you’re pressed for time, you can go to the “Ohana Express” station, where a team member will build a “naked cupcake.” You can choose its flavor from options like chocolate, red velvet, vanilla, and more, with your choice of filling, icing, and toppings. There is also the “Megan’s Corner” station – named after the McKennas’ daughter who was the inspiration for the concept – where you can grab pre-made cupcakes, all ready to take home. This station also features a Kona Coffee hut and an authentic Hawaiian Shave Ice station. There is even a party room, which Mark emphasized, “is tropical and inviting, with palm trees and sandy beaches that come alive on the wall!” Ohana Cupcakes also sells freshly baked sweet Hawaiian bread and Hawaiian flavored jellies such as mango, papaya, and guava, as well as milk and organic sodas. In addition, Ohana Cupcakes donates two percent of their proceeds towards a child-based charity.


Summing up Ohana Cupcakes’ unique theme, Susan explained, “Living in Hawaii for a year helped us realize that the Hawaiian Islands are magical, and if we can bring a bit of that magic to the mainland, we have done our job.” Mark added, “Ohana means ‘family’ in Hawaiian, and our concept is all about just that… family.”


Name of Business: Ohana Cupcakes
Owners: Susan and Mark S. McKenna
Year of Establishment: 2015
Address: 2455 Vista Way Suite M, Oceanside, CA 92054
Phone: 760-757-4262
Description of Business: Ohana Cupcakes is an experience. You can create, bake, and take your cupcake or have a naked cupcake that was just baked and choose your filling, icing, and toppings. There is a party room and cupcakes also ready to purchase. Ohana means family and Ohana Cupcakes is about connection and creating wonderful memories.