Skip to Content

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars (Doctored Cake Mix)

If you love Italian Cream cake but you’re looking for something with more of a bar or cookie texture you’ve definitely come to the right place! This is one of my simplest (but tastiest) recipes yet. And it starts with canned frosting and a box of white cake mix! 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Can I Make Bars out of Cake Mix? 

This has been the question on my mind over the past few days. A friend shared a recipe that got me intrigued. So, I decided to try my hand at a few variations on her recipe (with her permission, of course). 

Over a week’s time I baked more than a dozen different types of bars. I have to say, I’ve been on quite a roll making these. 

My favorite one by far was the German Chocolate. So that got me to thinking: Coconut. Pecans. These same two ingredients are in my very favorite cake of all time: Italian Cream. 

Could I, perhaps, turn the German Chocolate Bars into Something that Resembled Italian Cream-type Bars? 

The idea sounded simple enough! Just swap out the German chocolate cake mix with either a yellow or white. (I usually go with white.) 

So, that’s what I did! I also decided on another addition. Whenever I bake Italian cream cake I add pecans and coconut to the batter. So, the bottom layer of dough on these bars is loaded with both of those ingredients. 

I was hoping to end with something that would give me those delicious reminiscent flavors of pecan pie, and this certainly did the trick! Only, there’s no corn syrup necessary with this one!

Enough chatter! Let’s make some Coconut Pecan bars!

Coconut Pecan Bar Ingredients

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com
  • white cake mix
  • chopped pecans (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • shredded sweetened coconut (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • butter (room temperature)
  • large egg
  • canisters of coconut pecan frosting

That’s it! Just a few simple ingredients! 

How to Make these Easy Layer Bars

These came together so easily and quickly! 

Heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prepare a 9×13-inch baking dish. Spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick spray then place a piece of parchment paper in it as you see in the photo (sideways, for easy grabbing later). 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Spray again (lightly) with nonstick cooking spray. 

Place cake mix, melted butter, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer just use a medium bowl and electric mixer or wooden spoon. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Once it’s fully incorporated, mix in the pecans and coconut at medium speed. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

When you end up with will be the consistency of cookie dough. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Press dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Remove from oven and scoop both cans of coconut pecan frosting directly onto the partially cooked dough. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

As it begins to warm, the frosting can be smoothed out. Get it as level as you can. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place in the oven for 20 minutes. It will still be a light brown.

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Remove and sprinkle with more coconut flakes. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Now sprinkle on a few more pecans. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes until it’s a lovely golden brown.

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Remove and place on wire rack to cool. 

At this point you’re going to wonder how these will ever come together. They’re going to look super wet. Don’t worry! Just let them cool for an hour on the counter. 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

After cooling on the counter, place them into the fridge for a while. I usually leave mine for an hour or so. 

Now you can cut them into squares! See! I promised they would turn into bars! 

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Serve and enjoy!

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

Leftover bars can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days covered in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container. 

Bars can be frozen in freezer bags up to two months. 

What to Expect from These Easy Dessert Bars

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

This was my first time to make this recipe but it won’t be my last!

I just knew I was going to love these delicious bars, y’all! I was so crazy about the German Chocolate version that I figured this one would be great, too, especially with that buttery crust.

And I was right! They’re decadent! They’re rich. They’re absolutely loaded with texture. I think I’m going to call them Coconut Pecan Dream Bars! Talk about an easy recipe.

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars from Out of the Box Baking.com

The topping is unbelievable good but so is the buttery shortbread crust. 

I can’t point to one thing in this recipe that I didn’t enjoy! It’s just luscious! I plan to make it again and again! (This will be an easy one to serve at a brunch or a women’s event at your church.) 

This is truly one of those easy desserts you can whip up in a hurry.

Variations on these Coconut Pecan Pie Bars

I’ve decided I like this idea so much that I’m going to try it next time with an even different cake flavor – butter pecan! I feel like butter pecan bars will be unbelievably good with coconut pecan frosting on top! 

If you want to really change things up, add the coconut and pecans to the bottom layer, but make a rich cream cheese topping in place of the canisters of coconut pecan frosting. Just cream two blocks of room temperature cream cheese with a can of sweetened condensed milk and pour it on top of the Italian cream cake. You can still sprinkle coconut and pecans on top for the final ten minutes of the bake. Yum! 

Brown sugar shortbread crust: Add half a cup of brown sugar to the bottom crust before mixing and baking.

Pie Crust: I haven’t tried it, but you could always use a traditional pie crust base for this recipe.

Semisweet chocolate chips: Sprinkle a handful onto the crust before adding the frosting.

More Delicious Desserts from Out of the Box Baking

Italian Cream Cake

Mint Oreo Trifle

Follow this link for a comprehensive post listing more of my fall cookies and bars, perfect for autumn!


Learn more about doctored cake mixes, the theme of this blog. 

For the master list of all doctored cake mix recipes on this site, visit Doctored Cake Mix Recipes, Master List. 


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious recipe. 

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars

Easy Coconut Pecan Bars

Yield: 24
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

If you love coconut pecan cake but you’re looking for something with more of a bar or cookie texture you’ve definitely come to the right place! This is one of my simplest (but tastiest) recipes yet. And it starts with canned frosting and a box of white cake mix!

Ingredients

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 stick butter (room temperature)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 canisters coconut pecan frosting

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spray with non-stick spray then place a piece of parchment paper in it as you see in the photo (sideways, for easy grabbing later).
  3. Spray again (lightly) with baking spray.
  4. Place cake mix, butter, and egg in the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment. If you don’t have a stand mixer just use a large bowl and mixer or spoon.
  5. Once it’s fully incorporated, mix in the pecans and coconut.
  6. When you end up with will be the consistency of cookie dough.
  7. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
  8. Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and scoop both cans of coconut pecan frosting directly onto the partially cooked dough.
  10. As it begins to warm, the frosting can be smoothed out. Get it as level as you can.
  11. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.
  12. Remove and sprinkle with more coconut.
  13. Now sprinkle on a few more pecans.
  14. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  15. Remove and place on wire rack to cool.
  16. At this point you’re going to wonder how these will ever come together. They’re going to look super wet. Don’t worry! Just let them cool for an hour on the counter.
  17. After cooling on the counter, place them into the fridge for a while. I usually leave mine for an hour or so.
  18. Now you can cut them into squares! See! I promised they would turn into bars!
  19. Serve and enjoy!
  20. Leftover bars can be kept at room temperature for 2-3 days covered in plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container.
  21. Bars can be frozen in freezer bags up to two months.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 72mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 1g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Cranberry White Chocolate Bars - Out of the Box Baking

Friday 5th of January 2024

[…] time now. Maybe you’ve seen my Delicious Lemon Coconut Bars. I’m also partial to my Easy Coconut Pecan Bars. Oh, and my Brown Butter Pecan […]

Sweet Potato Pie Dump Cake - Out of the Box Baking

Monday 9th of October 2023

[…] But in this case, I also added a surprise ingredient: a can of coconut pecan frosting. You might have noticed I’ve been cooking with canned frosting a lot. I used it in my German Chocolate Pound Cake and my Lemon Coconut Loaf with Pecans. I also use a can of coconut pecan frosting in my Easy Coconut Pecan Bars.  […]

Easy Hawaiian Pound Cake (with Canned Frosting in the Mix) - Out of the Box Baking

Friday 25th of August 2023

[…] But, how would I replace the oil? In the end, I decided to use a can of coconut-pecan frosting. I’ve done this before in my Easy Butter Pecan Pound Cake and my German Chocolate Pound Cake. I even baked with coconut-pecan frosting in my Easy Coconut Pecan Bars.  […]

Janetta

Wednesday 23rd of August 2023

Yummers! I'm saving this recipe. Can't wait to try it.

booksbyjanice

Thursday 24th of August 2023

Woot!

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!