Magic Bar Cake

Hello Dolly (Magic Bars) Bundt Cake

A cake made out of graham crackers, filled with a coconut chocolate chip filling and topped with chocolate ganache – this is the cake version of the popular Hello Dolly bar cookies (aka Magic Bars)!!

My husband’s favorite treat around Christmas is Hello Dolly bars aka Magic Bars. I had never eaten these before I married him but not long after we got married, he asked me to make them. I had no idea what they were and that was long before the internet had every recipe known to man at your fingertips.

So I did what any smart young bride should do. I called his grandma!

She had a recipe of sorts – a stick of butter, a bunch of graham cracker crumbs, a small can of sweetened condensed milk, some coconut, and some chocolate chips. Some recipes add nuts but not Grandma – Jamie doesn’t like nuts so they ARE NOT to go into these bars!

Every year since then, I make several batches of these bar cookies. I do have to be careful because once a pan is made, my husband will eat the whole thing. He has no self-control when these are in the kitchen.

This actually works out well for me. I really like them, too, and if he eats them all, then the temptation is gone!

Developing the recipe

I started to work on this recipe about two years ago but then got sidetracked with life and other responsibilities. I wanted to create a cake that mimicked the bar cookie that my husband loved so much. Now that I am much more focused on baking and have a ton of time on my hands, I felt it was time to revisit this recipe.

I played around with a few ideas and a few recipes that I found online. I found a few cakes made with graham flour or graham crackers. But no matter where I looked, I didn’t see anything like this cake.

I made a filling with sweetened condensed milk but it was too stodgy. After a few attempts and after ditching the can, I got a filling that was a bit gooey and had all the flavor that I wanted.

The cake was a revelation for me. I never knew that you could use graham cracker crumbs in place of flour! You can use a box of crumbs if you have some from that time that you bought a box and only used half of it. You can also make crumbs with a couple of packets of graham crackers – just throw in the food processor or crush them in a bag until very fine.

The amazing thing is that you get a soft, tender cake that tastes like graham crackers!!

This cake is perfect for the times that we are living in. We are all having to make do with what we have and many are having to ration ingredients like flour. Store shelves are bare with no idea when re-stocking will happen.

This Hello Dolly Cake does have some flour in it but it is minimal. Hopefully, you have enough on hand to give this recipe a try.

Variations galore!

I made this cake in a bundt pan because I wanted that ooey-gooey coconut filling to sink in and provide a surprise texture. But you could absolutely make this cake in two 8 inch round cake pans.

My plan is to make this again in rounds and fill with marshmallow buttercream and cover in chocolate frosting for a S’MORES CAKE!

Graham cracker cake with coconut chocolate filling - Magic Bar Cake or Hello Dolly Cake.

I think this would also be great with a peanut butter filling. But then I will eat it all because I am a peanut butter fanatic.

Use your imagination and make this cake! It does make a small cake so if you want a tall stacked cake, double the recipe and bake four 8 inch rounds. Remember that baking time will vary based on the pan/s used and your oven!

Graham cracker cake filled with coconut and chocolate filling. Magic Bars aka Hello Dolly

What’s your favorite?

What would you put in this cake? What variations can you think of? Share in the comments below this post!

If you like this recipe, you should definitely check out my Dried Mango, Coconut and Macadamia Nut cookies! They are so versatile and delicious!

Hello Dolly (Magic Bars) Bundt Cake

Recipe by Tanya Ott


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the filling
  • 2 egg whites

  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

  • 120 grams (2 cups) sweetened shredded coconut

  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chocolate chips

  • For the Cake
  • 64 grams (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour

  • 160 grams (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs (about 20 squares)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 113 grams (1/2 cup, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

  • 150 grams (3/4 cups) granulated sugar

  • 2 eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 180 mL (3/4 cup) milk, at room temperature

  • For the Ganache topping
  • 60 grams (about 2 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate

  • 60 grams (2 ounces) heavy whipping cream

  • About 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes


  • In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
  • Separate the 2 eggs for the cake and allow the yolks and whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, grease and flour a bundt pan.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of a stand mixer that is impecably clean (clean the whisk attachment too), whip the egg whites to medium stiff peaks. Put in a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl stir together the graham crackers, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of the stand mixer that you just used for the egg whites (no need to clean it), beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until well combined. Add egg yolks; beat until combined. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix briefly. Add 1/2 of the milk, and mix. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, mix; add remaining milk, mix and then add the last of the flour. Beat on low to medium speed just until combined.
  • Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until there are no streaks of white showing. Do this gently to keep the air in the whites. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Dollop the coconut filling mixture on top of the batter in the center all the way around the cake. No need to cover the filling with batter – it will sink in during the bake. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from pan. Cool cake completely on the rack.
  • Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl. Heat the heavy whipping cream until hot (do not boil) in the microwave – this should take about 40 seconds. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and cover the bowl to trap the heat. Set aside for 3 minutes. Remover cover and stir until smooth. Allow to cool at room temperature until thickened, stirring occassionally. Pour over cake and sprinkle on coconut flakes.
Graham cracker cake filled with coconut and chocolate filling. Magic Bars aka Hello Dolly


  1. It was perfect the first time. I learn so much from you as well! Keep it up great post.

  2. Thanks! I was surprised by the crumb. I didn’t expect it to be so soft!

  3. that is just a winner cake, Tanya! I love the look of the crumb… darn it, if we ate more sweets I would definitely bake it today, but it would be a waste with just hubby and I

    it goes on my list to try once this nightmare is over

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