How Dolly Parton’s Childhood Cooking Inspired Her New Baking Mix Line

Though it already seems like Dolly Parton has done it all, she’s adding a new project to her impressive list of accomplishments. This March, Parton and Duncan Hines will release some Southern-inspired cake mixes and frostings. She reflected on her own childhood memories of baking and explained how they inspired the new cake mixes.

Dolly Parton wears a purple dress and sings into a microphone.
Dolly Parton | Richard E. Aaron/Redferns

Dolly Parton has published a cookbook of family recipes

Parton’s collaboration with Duncan Hines is a play on her childhood memories, but she published a cookbook for more specific inspiration from her kitchen. Parton’s home recipes are in the book Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s: Love, Laughter, and Lots of Good Food. They include meals from her mother and mother-in-law and newer ones from Dollywood and her own kitchen.

“I still like to try new foods as often as I can. But when it comes to cooking for myself and my husband Carl and my great big extended family, which numbers into the multiple hundreds these days, what we really want to eat is what comforts us most: good, hearty food rooted in Mama’s cooking and those country gatherings of my childhood,” she explained on her official website. “It’s the food from those Mom and Pop joints that welcome you in as if you’re family. We really just want food that is lovingly made and joyfully served up. Around here, that’s what we call Dixie Fixin’s.”

Her early baking memories inspired a new line of baking mixes

Parton explained that she was happy to team up with Duncan Hines to create this collection because of her fond memories of cooking as a child.

“I’ve always loved to cook,” she said, per Duncan Hines. “Growing up in the South exposed me to that authentic Mom & Pop kind of cooking. Baking was no different. I had plenty of people to show me what’s what in the kitchen … my Mama, my grandmothers and my aunts were all wonderful bakers. They taught me everything I know, from biscuits and gravy to chocolate cake.”

She added that she always cherished time spent in the kitchen with her mother.

“Growing up poor, we didn’t have a lot of sugar, so we didn’t have cakes all the time,” she told People. “So when Mama made special cakes, we loved being in the kitchen.”

She will be sharing mixes for coconut and banana cakes, and creamy buttercream and chocolate buttercream frosting. According to Parton, the banana flavor is particularly nostalgic.

“Everybody loves banana pudding,” she told ABC News. “That was always one of my favorite things, a big old bowl of banana puddin’, so we thought it’d be nice to have a banana pudding cake.”

On Jan. 26, 2022, Dolly Parton’s Baking Collection became available from Duncan Hines, and it sold out within the day. The limited-edition kit includes both baking mixes and buttercreams, as well as a spatula and tea towel that read, “If you are what you eat, then why not be sweet.” In March, the cake mixes will be available in grocery stores.

Dolly Parton shared the person she’d most want to bake a cake with

Though the mixes are not widely available yet, Parton knows who she’d want to test them out with. 

“Any of the good lookin ones,” she said. “I love Keith Urban. I’ve always thought that he was one of the most talented and cutest guys in the world — I’m not trying to hit on him, cause he’s got Nicole [Kidman] and who could beat that, she’s Jolene.”

Parton explained why Urban would be her first choice.

“I love his writing and I just think he’s dear,” she said. “He reminds me so much of my brothers and my own family from back home. He’s from Australia, but he has that feel of our mountain southern people — he’d fit right in,” she said. “I’d be happy to make a big ole cake for him and spend all afternoon singing songs.”

She hopes that if he takes her up on his offer, Kidman will join and share a slice of cake.

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