How to Make Coconut Cake Mix Taste Better

slice of coconut cake made from a mix

Did you know that you can easily take your coconut cake mix from bland to grand with just a few ingredients that you may already have on hand?  To elevate your coconut cake mix, think about adding extra layers of flavor, enriching the texture, and enhancing the overall taste with simple ingredients you can find in your pantry or kitchen. In this post, we’ll share some helpful tips on how to make your coconut cake mix taste better and achieve that homemade feel.


How to Make Coconut Cake Mix Taste Better

fresh coconut flakes

Fresh Coconut Makes A Big Difference

Using fresh coconut flakes easily makes your cake taste like you baked it from scratch. Be sure to fold the coconut into the batter gently to ensure it’s well distributed and maintains its delicate texture. Adding fresh coconut to your cake mix can enhance the cake’s moisture and create a lovely balance between sweetness and coconut flavor.


What About Coconut Extract?

A simple way to enhance the flavor of your coconut cake mix is by adding coconut extract. As you prepare your cake mix, add about 1 teaspoon of coconut extract to the batter. This not only intensifies the coconut taste but also helps in achieving that authentic tropical flavor.

When choosing the coconut extract, make sure to select a high-quality one. Poor-quality extracts may contain artificial flavors that could alter the taste of your cake in an unwanted way.


Add White Chocolate Chips To The Mix

pile of white chocolate chips

If you’re looking to make your coconut cake mix taste even better, consider adding white chocolate chips to the mix. White chocolate is a delicious and versatile addition that complements the tropical flavor of coconut perfectly. For a standard-sized cake mix, you’ll need:

Tip: If you want smaller bites of white chocolate chips throughout the cake, you can chop them into smaller pieces using a knife or food processor.

  • Fold in the white chocolate chips using a spatula or wooden spoon. Do this gently to avoid over-mixing the batter and ensure a fluffy cake.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan(s), making sure the chips are evenly distributed.
  • Bake your cake following the package instructions. Since you added white chocolate chips, you might need to increase the baking time slightly. Use a toothpick to check the cake’s readiness – if it comes out clean or with a few crumbs, it’s ready.


Add Some Marshmallow Cream

To make your coconut cake mix taste even better, try adding some marshmallow cream. Here’s how to do it: first, you’ll want to get your hands on a jar of marshmallow cream. You can typically find this in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.

Next, prepare the coconut cake mix according to the package instructions. Once you have mixed your batter, gently fold in the marshmallow cream before baking. You can add about a 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on your taste preferences.


Add 1 To 2 Teaspoons Of Vanilla

vanilla extract

When it comes to choosing a vanilla extract for your cake, always opt for pure vanilla extract rather than the imitation variety. Pure extracts have a more genuine and robust flavor, resulting from the natural compounds of the vanilla bean. It may cost a little more, but the taste difference is well worth the investment.

You can simply add 1 or 2 tsp of vanilla extract directly into the mixing bowl with other wet ingredients, like eggs, milk, or water. Give it all a good stirring to ensure that everything is evenly distributed for a seamless burst of vanilla richness throughout your cake. Remember that the quality of your ingredients plays a significant role in the overall taste and texture of the finished product, so don’t skimp on your vanilla.


Soak It In Rum

To give your coconut cake mix a scrumptious twist, you can soak it in rum! This will not only add an extra layer of flavor to the cake but also give it a moist and tender texture. It’s easy to do, and you’re sure to love the results.

Start by choosing your favorite rum – a spiced rum or a dark rum works best for this purpose. Measure about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of rum, depending on how strong you’d like the flavor to be. Keep in mind not to use excessive rum as it may overpower the coconut taste.

Gently poke holes into the baked coconut cake using a fork or a skewer. This helps the rum to seep into the cake more easily. Then, slowly drizzle the measured rum over the entire cake. Make sure to distribute it evenly so every bite has that delicious rum flavor. Allow the cake to absorb the rum for at least an hour before serving.

For an elevated presentation, garnish your rum-soaked coconut cake with any of these options:

  • Toasted coconut flakes: Toast the coconut flakes in a dry pan on low heat until slightly golden, and then sprinkle generously over the top of the cake.
  • Whipped cream: Lightly sweeten some whipped cream with powdered sugar and dollop it onto individual slices of cake, or spread it over the entire cake for a more decadent treat.
  • Fresh fruit: Sliced fruits like pineapple, mango, or berries make a delicious addition to the cake and complement the rum-soaked coconut flavor beautifully.

Remember, soaking the cake in rum is entirely up to your personal preference. If you’d rather keep it alcohol-free or want to try another variation, you can always experiment with other liquids like coconut milk, fruit juices, or flavored simple syrups.


Add A Layer Of Strawberry Jam

coconut cake with strawberry jam

To enhance the flavor of your coconut cake mix, one delightful idea is to add a layer of strawberry jam. The fruity sweetness of the jam complements the rich, tropical taste of the coconut, creating a combination that will tantalize your taste buds.

To begin, choose a high-quality strawberry jam. Look for one with a good balance of sweetness and tanginess, and pay attention to the texture – a smooth jam works best for this technique. Once you have your jam, there are a few ways to incorporate it into your cake.

One option is to spread a thin layer of strawberry jam between the cake layers. After baking your coconut cake mix according to the package instructions, let the layers cool completely. Then, before you assemble the cake, simply spread strawberry jam on one layer before placing the other layer on top. Be careful not to spread too much, as you don’t want the jam to overpower the coconut flavor.

Another approach is to swirl the strawberry jam directly into the cake batter. After preparing your coconut cake mix, pour half of the batter into your greased and floured cake pan. Spoon a few dollops of strawberry jam onto the batter and use a toothpick or skewer to create swirls. Pour the remaining batter on top and repeat the swirling process. This method adds a delightful burst of strawberry flavor throughout the cake.


Add Some Macadamia Nuts

pile of Macadamia Nuts

Adding Macadamia nuts to your coconut cake mix can take the flavor to a whole new level. Not only do these nuts provide a delicious taste, but they also have a pleasing crunch that will enhance the overall texture of your cake.

To incorporate Macadamia nuts, you can:

  • Chop a handful of nuts roughly. This can be done with a knife or a food processor, but be careful not to turn them into a paste; you want small pieces.
  • Mix the chopped nuts directly into the coconut cake mix, stirring well to ensure they’re evenly distributed.
  • If you prefer a more prominent nut flavor, you can also add a splash of macadamia nut oil to the mix.

Besides the incredible taste, Macadamia nuts also come with some health benefits. They’re an excellent source of healthy fats, vitamin B1, and manganese. It’s important to keep in mind that moderation is key, as they are also high in calories.

Another way to showcase the Macadamia nuts in your coconut cake is to make a delicious nutty topping:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of unsalted butter, 2 tablespoons of honey, and 1/2 cup of roughly chopped Macadamia nuts.
  2. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until the butter and honey are melted and the nuts are well-coated.
  3. Once your coconut cake is baked and cooled, drizzle the nutty topping over the top as a finishing touch.


Make An Almond Joy (or Mounds) Cake

pile of Mounds and Almond Joy fun size bars

You can easily enhance your coconut cake mix by turning it into a delicious Almond Joy Cake or Mounds if you do not like almonds. This delightful twist on the classic coconut cake will surely impress your friends and family. Let’s get started!

First, gather the additional ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of chopped almonds if desired
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Chopped pieces of Almond Joy bars if desired.

Start by preparing the cake mix according to the package instructions. Once your batter is ready, gently fold in the chopped almonds and chocolate chips. You can also use chopped-up pieces of an Almond Joy bar if desired. Be sure not to overmix to ensure a light and fluffy texture.


Even More Tips

yummy coconut cake made from a mix

Here are some more tips to enhance the taste of your coconut cake mix:

  • Choose a good quality cake mix: Opt for a high-quality coconut cake mix to ensure that the base of your cake is made from the best ingredients. A good quality cake mix will have a more authentic coconut flavor and a lighter texture.
  • Add coconut milk or cream: Swap out the water or milk that’s suggested in the cake mix ingredients with coconut milk or coconut cream. This will give your cake a more pronounced coconut flavor and make it even more moist.
  • Experiment with spices and flavors: Adding a hint of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg can give your coconut cake mix an interesting twist. You can also try adding a splash of vanilla or almond extract for a richer flavor.
  • Use coconut oil: Replace the oil called for in the mix instructions with coconut oil. This will not only add more coconut flavor but will also give your cake a richer, more moist texture.
  • Layer up with fillings: Take your cake up a notch by layering it with coconut-flavored fillings like coconut cream or whipped cream mixed with toasted coconut. This will help transform your cake into a truly indulgent treat.



coconut cake mix and canned coconut frosting

Can sour cream be added to a coconut cake mix?

Yes, sour cream can be added to a coconut cake mix. Adding sour cream to your cake mix gives a moist and tender crumb while enhancing the overall flavor. Use 1/2 cup of sour cream in place of the same amount of water or milk in the recipe, and proceed with the remaining steps as usual.


Is there a way to use yellow cake mix for a coconut cake?

Definitely! You can easily transform a yellow cake mix into a delicious coconut cake. Start by substituting the water in the recipe with coconut milk. Then, add 1 cup of sweetened shredded coconut to the cake batter. Optionally, you can also add 1 teaspoon of coconut extract for a stronger coconut taste. Bake as directed on the box, and you’ll have a delicious coconut cake ready to enjoy.

Written by Laurie Graves

Laurie is a 50-something wife and boy mom, who loves to share easy recipes, DIY home ideas, and food hacks. She truly believes that with a little inspiration, anyone can make their home and meals feel special.