Tom Cruise has a candy that he sends out to his famous friends every holiday – Doan’s Bakery White Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake – and they can’t get enough. (Photo: Alex Edelman / AFP via Getty Images)
According to Rosie O’Donnell, the holiday season officially begins when she receives her Christmas present from “Tommy” – known to the rest of us as Tom Cruise.
For about a decade, the action star has given friends, co-stars, and TV shows a special gift: the White Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake from Doan’s Bakery, a small, family-run business in Woodland Hills, California.His gift list seems to be raving about it all – like Jimmy Fallon calls it “unbelievable”, says Kirsten Dunst, it is “one of the best cakes I’ve ever had”, Henry Cavill describes it as “the most decadent, the most amazing”. Kuchen and Barbara Walters dig themselves into The View – and try to stay on the superstar’s “nice” list for next year.
Doan’s Bakery’s White Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake – Tom Cruise’s favorite gift for his long holiday contact list – can be ordered at Goldbelly.com. (Photo: Goldbauch)
While talking about his 2018 cake gift, Cruise said he doesn’t consume sugar when training for his high profile movie roles, which is pretty much all the time. “I send [cakes to everyone… and I wait for the calls,” from recipients to hear how good the cakes are. “I’m like: Tell me about it.”
Yahoo Entertainment spoke with Eric Doan, who runs Doan’s Bakery with his mother Karen, about the celebrity-coveted, mouth-watering culinary creation and what makes it so good.
“The funny thing is, we’ve been doing that cake for a quarter of a century,” Doan says of the culinary concoction — a coconut bundt cake with chunks of sweet white chocolate, layers of cheese frosting and dusted with toasted coconut flakes — that his mom, now 78, started making when the business opened in 1984. “It’s just a unique cake that we dreamt up 25 years ago and we’ve always done it for different cafes, restaurants and caterers,” as they are largely a wholesale business.
On the bakery’s own website, there’s no photo of the delicious looking dessert or mention of it being the “the Cruise cake,” what Dunst, who appeared in Interview With the Vampire with Cruise in 1994, calls it, or “Tom Cruise deliciousness,” the name given to it by Cobie Smulders, who worked with Cruise on 2016’s Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. It’s merely listed among the 30 or so cakes they regularly sell from their store or via wholesale. (They also do custom cakes, including this one for Jennifer Lopez’s twins’ 5th birthdays.)
“Over the years of Odin Productions gifting it,” referring to Cruise’s business through which the orders are placed, “it’s taken on that moniker of the ‘Tom Cruise cake,’ if you will,” but they don’t advertise it that way. In fact, as Doan explains, their first famous customer who enjoyed the cake “was probably Diane Keaton, if you want to know the truth.”
Cruise talking about gifting cakes with James Corden and his Mission: Impossible co-star Angela Bassett, who are both on his Christmas cake list:
As the story goes, Keaton and Cruise’s then-wife Katie Holmes, who has a notorious sweet tooth, were filming the 2008 movie Mad Money in Shreveport, La. Both women claimed to know the best place to get a cake, so each one flew in their selection — Keaton’s from Doan’s Bakery — with Cruise doing a taste test to pick the winner, which was the coconut bundt cake that he’s now been gifting longer than that particular marriage lasted.
“That is true,” Doan says of the infamous cake showdown story. “Diane had been a fan of that cake for quite a while” before Cruise made it famous.
Just some of the celebrities raving about the “Tom Cruise cake,” a nickname bestowed upon it by Dunst:
One thing Doan wants customers to know is that when they come into his shop to buy the 10-inch cake, which is about $50 (though they have smaller sizes), or $99 via Goldbelly, a company that ships gourmet food nationwide, is that the fancy gift wrapping treatment — O’Donnell’s boasted a shiny reindeer ornament this year — is done by Cruise’s team.
“That’s an important point. I’ve had people order that cake in the past who were expecting it to come like that,” he says. “That’s all Tom’s crew. Basically, every year I receive gift boxes from [Tom’s team]. Then they take the cake to a secondary location and spruce everything up, ”with the fancy packaging.
Sophia Vergara is a fan too – and it’s currently on her list of small businesses to support this holiday through her Cake for Kiva partnership:
Team Tom also distributes it themselves and sends it to stars around the world. Funny story: Graham Norton, host of Britain’s The Graham Norton Show, didn’t even know he was on Cruise’s gift list – his staff secretly ate it – until Renée Zellweger, Cruise’s Jerry Maguire, talked about putting the cake in to bring his show.
Smulders, who told Fallon she never wanted to fall off Cruise’s cake list, said she kept the Bundt frozen and slowly whipped it away from December through March – and Doan approves of this method of making it permanent – with some advice.
“I never froze it myself in the bakery – because we go through so many of them! – but I understand that it freezes very well. You just want to make sure you wrap it airtight. I mean, we make wedding cakes too, and as freezing cold it’s not unlike how some couples freeze the top layer until their first anniversary. “
And believe it or not, none of the Doans have ever met Cruise, whose team buys a few hundred cakes during the holiday season – and more all year round. (Cruise gave Corden a cake the day the late-night host graduated from the Grammys, and Corden joked that it barely fitted his suit that night.)
“We just took care of his people and everyone was super cute,” says Doan. “When he lived in Beverly Hills, we brought them a few desserts” for their Thanksgiving or Christmas party, “as a thank you.” But Los Angeles is no longer Cruise’s home base.
Doan’s Bakery’s White Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake (Photo: Goldbelly)
It’s been a tough year for small businesses and Doan’s is no different.
“This year has been a very tough ride,” says Doan. “In March and April, we wondered if we would even be able to stay open,” how all the companies that were wholesale selling them closed down amid the pandemic. “Now I’m shot like a top,” as November and December, usually its busiest months, keep her busy. The salvation was to increase the frequency with which they send it out on Goldbelly – which, unlike Doan’s website, isn’t shy about playing the cruise angle – and Doan says it’s “honestly one of the things that kept us alive “. during the pandemic.
That, too, was not without its challenges for mother and son’s shop. Special insulated bags are required for shipping, and each box contains 6 pounds of dry ice. Just as they got into the groove to ship their cakes, they suddenly found themselves in a dry ice shortage – like the one used for vaccines.
But after that chaotic and stressful year, bakery owner has credited Cruise and his Odin Productions team with more than a decade of loyalty.
“There were years when they kept us in business,” he says – and hopefully many more.
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