Piece of Cake: The Story Behind Tom Cruise’s Christmas Cake and How You Can Make It At Home

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise attends the Australian premiere of 'Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One' on July 3, 2023 in Sydney. Each year the Hollywood megastar sends famous friends a specific cake for the holidays. Photo: Don Arnold/WireImage/Getty Images

Piles of money and abundant Instagram followers may be clear signs of celebrity, but you’ll know you’ve really made it when Tom Cruise sends you a coconut cake at Christmastime. 

The A-list actor, 61, has distinguished himself as one of Hollywood’s biggest and most bankable stars, as well as an ageless wonder who does all his own stunts in his films. He is also the thoughtful superstar who, every December, famously gifts friends, co-stars, and select others in his rarefied orbit with a bundt cake from family-run Doan’s Bakery, located on the fringes of central Los Angeles. 

Why? Apparently just because he can. According to Hollywood lore (and SFGATE.com), Cruise discovered the scrumptious creation in 2008 via his then-wife Katie Holmes when she was making the film Mad Money opposite Diane Keaton, an avowed and vocal fan of the confection. 

Since then, the charismatic actor has fêted each Christmas by sending “hundreds of coconut cakes to friends, fellow celebrities, and sometimes random people, usually with a small note attached,” SFGATE notes. The list of cake recipients is lengthy and impressive, with People citing Tom Hanks, Angela Bassett, Dakota Fanning, Elle Fanning, Jon Hamm, Rosie O’Donnell, Brooke Shields, and Kirsten Dunst among the lucky chosen. 

All swear by the cake’s deliciousness. Indeed, the team at online foodie hub Delish.com had a so-called Cruise Cake sent to their offices to taste-test the lofty claims. “Jimmy Fallon wasn’t kidding when he called the cake ‘unbelievable,’” they write. 

“The cake was incredibly moist while still light and fluffy. The rich, creamy frosting was just sweet enough. We found the coconut flavour to be pretty mild, which was a relief to some of the coconut-skeptics on the team.” 

For his part, Hanks is quoted as saying the Cruise Cake is “just off-the-scale fantastic.” You can check out the recipe for yourself at AllRecipes.com and perhaps wow a mere mortal (preferably also a Cruise fan) by whipping up your own version this holiday season. 

But even if the cake wasn’t amazing, the idea of a star of Cruise’s wattage widely and generously gifting bespoke cakes is neat, especially since Cruise himself has, post-Holmes, studiously avoided the spotlight despite consistently churning out bankable blockbusters most recently last summer’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and 2022’s Top Gun: Maverick. 

As the New York Times recently observed in a pithy piece, the actor has not granted an interview in a decade and is presumed to live largely under the paparazzi radar outside of the United States.

As for the bakery tasked each Christmas with making the cakes, Delish.com adds that the late “Karen Doan first created the cake when she opened Doan’s Bakery in 1984. The family-owned and -operated bakery describes the Cruise Cake as a coconut bundt cake with chunks of white chocolate, covered in a layer of cream cheese frosting and a mountain of shredded coconut.”

Notes SFGATE, “Cruise’s company, Odin Productions, places orders for cakes from Doan’s throughout the year, but the holiday season is when the bakery amps up [its cake production] for the star’s list.”

Interestingly, Doan’s does not mention the Cruise connection on its website. Then again, it really doesn’t have to. “What we do at our bakery is create exciting choices that make a very special occasion something sweet to remember,” the site proclaims. 

With their Cruise Cake, you might say… mission accomplished. 

If you’re interested in making the Cruise Cake yourself, visit AllRecipes.com for the ingredients and step-by-step instructions.