Tom Cruise sends this coconut cake to all of his famous friends — and we tried recreating it at home

·6-min read
This white chocolate coconut cake was made from a copycat recipe of one of Tom Cruise's favorite cakes. (Photo: Megan duBois)
This white chocolate coconut cake was made from a copycat recipe of one of Tom Cruise's favorite cakes. (Photo: Megan duBois)

Having a slice of cake isn't just for birthdays, especially when you're friends with Top Gun: Maverick star Tom Cruise. Just ask Doan's Bakery, a Woodland Hills, Calif. bakery that's been whipping up cakes, cookies, cheesecakes and more for visitors to drool over for more than 25 years.

While Doan's is a favorite with locals and visitors, A-list celebrities like Tom Cruise are also big fans. So big, in fact, that Cruise routinely gifts his famous friends with the same cake from Doan's Bakery. The cake is a decadent coconut white chocolate bundt cake, iced with cream cheese frosting and covered in white flakes of coconut. It's now known around the world as the "Tom Cruise cake" after superstars like Angela Bassett and Jimmy Fallon have raved about it publicly.

The white chocolate coconut bundt cake is so popular that one Yahoo editor waited for two months for it to arrive via Goldbelly, a company that ships foods and meal kits from restaurants around the country. Her take: the cake is a "coconut dream come true," and "fully worth the hype."

But what's the cost of this famed coconut goodness? At Goldbelly the Doan's Bakery creation costs $110. Getting the cake straight from the bakery will run approximately $50.

The copycat version of the
The copycat version of the "Tom Cruise cake" did not disappoint. It was moist on the inside and crisped perfectly on the outside due to the toasted coconut flakes. (Photo: Megan duBois)

The white chocolate coconut cake, as it's called on the official Doan's Bakery menu, has been available for guests to devour since the bakery opened a quarter-century ago, according to Eric Doan, who owns the bakery with his mom, Karen. "It's almost embarrassing to say that it's probably been 25 years," he tells Yahoo Life. "And it's just become more and more popular."

Doan says his small business has become very familiar with Cruise's cake-ordering habits over the years. "In the last 10 or 11 years Odin Productions, which is actually Tom's production company, would order these and give them as gifts over the holidays or at the close of a movie shooting or something like that," he shares, explaining that the production company typically orders a few hundred of the scrumptious cakes in October so Doan's Bakery has plenty of time to complete the order before the shipping deadline and busy holiday season. According to a 2015 Facebook post from delivery company 247 Delivers Inc., it seems Cruise has even thanked his delivery services for transporting the cakes by ... that's right ... giving them a cake of their own.

But what makes this cake so good? While Doan wouldn't share the list of ingredients that make the confection so tasty, he did let us in on one secret. "It's just made with a lot of love, you know," he says.

After learning about this sweet gift idea, I had to attempt to make the cake myself, so I turned to a copycat recipe found at online food blog Plain Chicken. Most of the recipe seemed pretty straightforward and I already had most of the ingredients at home since I love baking. But what I didn't have was coconut extract and instant coconut cream pudding mix. Since the latter of the two was hard to find at my grocery store, and the recipe mentioned vanilla pudding mix was a good swap, I went with vanilla instead.

After getting all my ingredients prepped, I turned the oven on and got to work putting the butter, sugar and extracts into my mixing bowls and beating the ingredients together until it was pale yellow and super-fluffy. While this was happening I used the wrappers from the sticks of butter to grease my bundt pan — a trick I picked up from chef Christina Tosi when I was participating in her Bake Club during the height of the pandemic.

Next came the eggs and the pudding mix: The recipe is very clear to not make the pudding according to the package directions because all you need is the mix. Cooking and baking tip website Chew the World says adding pudding mix to cake adds more moisture to the final product and can help cakes to stay fresher longer.

With everything incorporated, I mixed in the white chocolate by hand, making sure not to over-mix my batter, then scooped it into the greased and floured bundt pan and popped it into the oven for the instructed amount of time, which was an hour and 30 minutes. When the cake was done I let it rest for about 15 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack and transferring it to a plate.

Knowing my icing skills weren't important, as the cake would be covered in coconut flakes, made the baking experience a bit less work. (Photo: Megan duBois)
Knowing my icing skills weren't important, as the cake would be covered in coconut flakes, made the baking experience a bit less work. (Photo: Megan duBois)

While the cake was cooling I made the cream cheese frosting: a fairly universal cream cheese frosting recipe made by mixing together butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract and powdered sugar. After everything was mixed, I set the frosting aside to toast the coconut. This is where I noticed a big difference between the cake of Tom Cruise's dreams and the one I was creating.

In photos of the original cake, the coconut is all white. While the description from Goldbelly does say the cake is covered in toasted coconut, it's definitely not a golden brown toasty color. Still, because I was following the copycat recipe exactly, I did toast the coconut. I'm a rule follower.

It was finally time to assemble the cake. I started by taking big globs of frosting and spreading it evenly over the entire surface. The best part? My icing job didn't need to be pretty because it was going to be covered in sweet toasted coconut flakes.

My finished coconut cake, ready to impress my friends and family. (Photo: Megan duBois)
My finished coconut cake, ready to impress my friends and family. (Photo: Megan duBois)

The final result of the cake was one I was very proud of, even though I don't think it's an exact dupe for the one at Doan's. I shared the cake with my family and everyone raved about how good it was. The exterior of the cake was slightly crispy thanks to the toasted coconut, which was a nice textural contrast from the silky smooth frosting. Both played well with the slightly dense and buttery cake.

What would I do differently next time? I definitely wouldn't toast the coconut as long, or at all, if I was trying to make an exact replica of the Doan's Bakery version. I also would cook the cake for less time, knowing other bundt cakes I make only take an hour and 15 minutes. A shorter baking time may make a perfectly moist cake even more moist and delicious.

The final verdict? While I may not be getting one of the original Doan's Bakery white chocolate coconut bundt cakes from Cruise himself, making this copycat was a pretty good alternative to me, even if I make a few adjustments next time.

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