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White Chocolate Coconut Cake

This white chocolate bundt cake with coconut is perfect for holidays or any occasion. We’ve enjoyed them unglazed as a snack cake with afternoon coffee. After hearing about the Tom Cruise cake, the cake that he sends to his friends during the holidays. I tested versions of this cake multiple times from scratch, using someone’s memaw’s old fashion sour cream pound cake and was not completely happy with the results. After some rumination, I figured, it’s the holidays and I wanted to make a cake that was easy and delicious. And that doesn’t necessarily have to be from scratch if it hits the right flavor notes.

As a doctored cake mix recipe, it doesn’t get any easier than that, but in case you hit a few snags, here are my notes.

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• Cake mix – use any brand that suits your taste and is in your budget. This time of the year, cake mixes are usually on a buy-one-get-one sale. I’ve tested it with both Betty Crocker’s (BC) and Duncan Hines (DH) and they both work. BC’s box is 14.25oz and DH’s box is 15.25oz. Hence, the cake mix box size on the ingredients list is 14-15oz.
• White chocolate pudding mix – same goes for the pudding mix. I used Hershey’s, but the Jell-o ones work too.
• White Chocolate – I used 2 of the Ghirardelli 4 oz baking bars and chopped them up. They melt so well and basically incorporate into the cake. Make sure you chop them small though. Bigger pieces are heavier and tend to sink to the bottom of the pan. Alternatively, you can use white chocolate chips, just make sure to incorporate well so that they are evenly distributed.
• To glaze or not to glaze? – You can frost them anyway you like. The glaze that I used here is my go-to for cinnamon buns. However, I’ve enjoyed the cake with a cream cheese buttercream frosting, and unfrosted with nothing extra at all.
• Better the next day – In my opinion, the cake is better the next day. I can still taste that box cake-ness when eaten the same day. But less so and the flavors seem to have developed more the next day. So this might be a good make a day ahead cake! If you’re glazing with the cream cheese glaze, store it in a container in the fridge. If you’re going the unglazed route, store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days.
• Bake time – as always, remember that each pan, oven, and ingredients are different. Baking time will vary. Start checking the cake after about 45 minutes or so until your tester comes out clean. For bundt cakes I like to use a small bamboo skewer rather than a toothpick so that I can test deeper into the pan.

White Chocolate Coconut Cake

Serves: 14-16
Time: 1 hour, not including cooling time

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (14-15oz) box white cake mix
1 (3.4oz) box instant white chocolate pudding mix
½ cup (118ml) warm milk or warm water
½ cup (118ml) canola or vegetable or any mild flavored oil
8oz sour cream
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
8oz white chocolate, chopped
1 cup (~4oz) coconut flakes

Cream Cheese Glaze
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature for about 15 minutes
1-1 ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk (or until you get desired consistency)
Toasted coconut for topping

• Preheat oven to 350F.
• In a small bowl mix all-purpose flour and butter until you get a paste. Spread the paste liberally onto a bundt pan. Make sure to get it into every nook and cranny of the pan. You may not use all the paste. Set the pan aside.
• In a bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl (if using a hand mixer), add cake mix, pudding mix, warm milk, oil, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract (if using).
• Mix for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl occasionally.
• Fold in the white chocolate and coconut flakes.
• Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.
• Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a bamboo skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
• Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes. Then turn onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
• Prepare the cream cheese glaze. In a medium bowl, cream together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar. Add vanilla extract. Then add milk one tablespoon at a time. Mix to incorporate. Add more milk until you get your desired consistency.
• Spoon or drizzle the glaze onto the cooled cake. Top with toasted coconut.
• Enjoy!

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