Coconut bundt cake with a dark chocolate and coconut filling made in honor of Dolly Parton's birthday by our friends Matt lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked Bakery!

From Matt & Renato:

It would be easy, almost lazy, to categorize our yearly birthday tribute to Dolly Parton (forever known far and wide as just “Dolly”) as mere kitsch. While we are partially attracted to Dolly’s camp factor (who isn’t?), we are equally, if not more, fascinated by her business acumen and all-around talent. She is Martha Stewart with a banjo. She is Oprah with a country heart. Her musical accolades are well known and well deserved—“Jolene” might be the best scorned-lover song ever written—but she has also dabbled in TV and movie production (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Father of the Bride), acting (see 9 to 5 if you haven’t already), and cookbooks (we own Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s), and her Imagination Library inspires children all over the world. And then there is Dollywood. Dolly, anointed from the heavens and blessed with all that is good, has her own theme park . . . and it is genius and better than it should be. It is the essence of Dolly encapsulated in thrill rides, musicals, and other amusements. We want to live there.

It is hard to create a cake that emulates all that is Dolly, but we did our damnedest. We started with coconut. Apparently she loves coconut desserts. Our Dolly Parton Bundt cake is coconut-y times three. It’s the perfect alternative birthday cake for any coconut fanatic. We start with an ultramoist, light coconut cake, fill it with a dark chocolate coconut fudge-like filling, and then we ice the cake with a pink coconut  frosting, in honor of Dolly’s favorite color. For some strange reason, we have fashioned the final cake to  resemble a doughnut. We are not even sure if Dolly loves doughnuts, but it seemed are indescribable. And Dolly’s Doughnut has an impossibly happy ring about it.

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Yield: 1 Bundt cake • 12 to 16 servings

For the Coconut Bundt Cake:

3 cups (385 g) all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 ounces (2 sticks/225 g) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan

21/2 cups (500 g) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons coconut extract

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

11⁄3 cups (315 ml) unsweetened coconut milk


For the Dark Chocolate Coconut Filling:

5 ounces (140 g) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup (40 g) lightly packed unsweetened shredded coconut

6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), melted and cooled

1 large egg

3 tablespoons granulated sugar


For the Simple Coconut Glaze:

4 to 6 tablespoons (60 to 90 ml) coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups (225 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

6 ounces (170 g) good quality white chocolate, melted but still warm

Red or pink food dye or gel


For Décor:

Pink or rainbow sprinkles (optional)

  1. For the bundt cake, preheat the oven to 350F (175C). Butter the inside of a 10- or 12-cup (2.4- or 2.8-L) Bundt pan, dust with flour, and knock out the excess flour. Alternatively, spray the pan with cooking spray. Either way, make sure the pan’s nooks and crannies are all thoroughly coated.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, then add the eggs and egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl again, add the coconut and vanilla extracts, and beat until just incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the coconut milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, mixing after each addition until just combined, about 10 seconds; do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the standing mixer, transfer the batter to a large bowl, and clean and dry the mixing bowl.
  5. To make the dark chocolate coconut filling, In the now-clean bowl of the standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the unsweetened coconut, melted dark chocolate, egg, and granulated sugar and beat again until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix again for a few more seconds. Add 1/2 cup of the cake batter to the filling batter and fold until incorporated.
  6. Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the filling on top of the batter, keeping it in the center of the batter and away from the sides of the pan. Then pour the remaining half of the batter over the filling. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake in the middle of the oven for 50 to 55 minutes, until a small sharp knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  7. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack. Place a baking sheet (lined with parchment if you like, for easy cleanup) underneath the wire rack.
  8. To make the coconut glaze, In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons (60 ml) of the coconut milk, the coconut extract, and vanilla extract. Add the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until incorporated and smooth. Slowly stir in the warm white chocolate. We prefer a thick yet pourable glaze; if the glaze appears too thick, thin it out with additional coconut milk, a tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency. Stir in the food dye, a few drops at a time, until the desired color is reached.
  9. Pour the glaze in large, thick ribbons over the crown of the Bundt, allowing the glaze to spread and drip down the sides of the cake. Top with sprinkles, if using. Allow the glaze to set before serving, about 5 minutes.
  10. The cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.


We are thoroughly enamored of the ribbon of chocolate running throughout this cake—it is a tasty and fun surprise. However, if you are not a chocolate fan (the horror!), you can turn Dolly’s Doughnut into a straight-up (and quite tasty) coconut-y Bundt. Simply omit the dark chocolate filling in its entirety, pour all of the coconut batter directly into the pan, and bake per the recipe. We leave it up to you whether you want to omit the white chocolate glaze (and whether you consider white chocolate to be chocolate, anyway).

Coconut bundt cake with a dark chocolate and coconut filling made in honor of Dolly Parton's birthday by our friends Matt lewis and Renato Poliafito of Baked Bakery!
Photography by Brian Kennedy

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