Fancy Cake Mix Coconut Cake

I love SWEETS! YES, I workout to do my best to be healthy, but guilt free dessert is a big part of it too ;). If I’m being totally transparent, I am at best an average cook. I have a small library of “go to” dishes I make that my family loves, but making reservations is probably more my specialty. I’m lucky my husband Seth has taken on most of the cooking since retiring from the military and we are all well fed and grateful for it!

Baking however, is not his thing. He wants the treats, but not the job of making them. My 9 year old daughter Kenley however is baking obsessed! We have watched every episode of the Great British Baking Show and she already has plans to open her own bakery and take on a British accent, so watch out Montana the “biscuit queen” is ready to wow you with some “show stoppers” just let her get through elementary school first.

In the meantime, in the midst of our busy lives I want to have this time with her making something delicious, but also have it be as stress free as possible. So bring on the cake mix, with a few easy twists so I don’t have to say no to my little baker whenever inspiration strikes.

We combine a simple store bought white cake mix, two tubs of vanilla frosting and a bag of sweetened coconut flakes, and it has quickly becomes our favorite Easter dessert. The trick to jazzing up even the most basic cake mix is just a few simple substitutes.

Here’s what we do:

Use the measurements and direction on the box, but instead of water USE MILK, instead of oil USE MELTED BUTTER, and instead of three eggs USE FOUR. These little changes make a richer, fluffier cake that no one will believe came from a box.

To be FANCY, we divide the batter into three round tins and bake following the the box instructions. Once baked and cooled, use a piece a parchment paper torn into four strips and slide under the first layer of the cake to help with the mess. We are messy bakers for sure, and this helps us hide the fact that we can’t be bothered with precision but still want the end result to look pretty ;)

Each layer gets frosting and sweetened coconut. We are pretty generous with the coconut, this is the only coconut in the dessert so we like to have a good layer between each cake.

Finally, use the last of the frosting to cover the top and sides, then finish with coconut all over. We take small handfuls of coconut and lightly press them into the frosting to help cover the sides, it’s messy but that’s where the parchment paper really helps.


We keep our finished creation in the fridge and serve cold with a glass of milk. It is great at room temperature, but there is something amazing about it being cold, it’s our favorite. This cake is quick, easy, delicious and pretty enough to WOW any dinner guest.

We make this every Easter, but it’s a great “go to” when you need something last minute any time of the year. I buy double each time I buy the cake mix, frosting and coconut because they will keep in your pantry and always be there when you need it. Consider it your delicious secret weapon! If you try this, let me know what you think!

Happy Baking Loves!

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