I Tried the Dolly Parton Cake Mix and It’s Everything I Dreamed It Would Be
Tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen. Grab a fork and dive straight into a double-layer coconut cake from the new Duncan Hines Dolly Parton cake mix line.
This was my morning routine for the better part of a week, and I have no regrets.
I'm not usually a cake person and I'm definitely not a cake-for-breakfast person. But I love coconut almost as much as I love Dolly Parton, so when I heard she was developing a line of Southern-style cake mixes with Duncan Hines, and that one was coconut-flavored, I had to try it.
While I waited for my very special package to arrive, I wondered if Dolly's Southern Style Coconut cake mix would really be all that different from Duncan Hines's now-discontinued Coconut Supreme. On the box, both are shown as round, double-layer cakes slathered with white frosting and topped with shredded coconut. Both boxes also feature the brand's "perfectly moist" claim. (For the record, I wouldn't be mad if Duncan Hines simply redesigned the box and put Dolly's face on it-it's a smart marketing move and I'll do just about anything Dolly tells me to do. It's just my job to notice these things.)
As it turns out, the cake mixes are pretty similar, at least in terms of dry ingredients. Still, Dolly's cake is better. Like, a lot better. That's because, just like the Queen of Country herself, the recipe on the back is full of Southern charm. And when I say "Southern charm," I mean butter. An entire stick, to be exact.
Where Duncan Hines's previous iteration of coconut cake mix called for one cup of water, three eggs, and ⅓ cup of vegetable oil, Dolly's mix calls for a cup of milk, four eggs, and a half cup (the equivalent of one whole stick) of melted butter. (Side note: Inspecting these labels and noticing that the original has nearly double the fat is how I learned that the nutrition information on a box of cake mix is for the mix itself and not the final product.)
Like most boxed cake mixes, it was super simple to make too. I'm an avowed non-baker (albeit one with a KitchenAid stand mixer) but like any good cake mix, Dolly's Southern Style Coconut was foolproof.
The only complaint I have about Dolly's cake mixes is that they're hard to find in stock. In January, Duncan Hines released a limited edition Dolly Parton Baking collection, a highly giftable box that included the cake mixes and icings, as well as a spatula, tea towel, and a note from Dolly herself. The kit sold out in just 15 minutes (and, of course, people are selling off items with steep markups) but they might be coming back. You can sign up on the Duncan Hines website to be notified when new limited-edition boxes are available, but I've been waiting for more than a month and haven't heard a thing. In the meantime, I highly recommend starting with a box of Dolly Parton's Southern Style Coconut cake mix and topping it off with the Creamy Buttercream frosting. And when I say "a box," I really mean "a case," because that's the best option right now, and when it comes to Dolly, we take what we can get, okay?
In addition to coconut, Dolly's Duncan Hines line also includes a Southern-style banana-flavored cake mix. I'm not a big fan of banana-flavored anything, but in an interview with Epicurious and Bon Appétit editor in chief Dawn Davis, Dolly made it pretty clear the banana cake is her favorite. And because Dolly can do no wrong, I'll just take her word for it-while making my way through a case of the coconut cake mix, that is.