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+ servings
slice of Watergate cake with a cherry on top and a fork taking a bite out of the cake

Watergate Cake

Watergate Cake is an easy retro dessert made with a cake mix and pistachio pudding. It's delcious!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 52 minutes
Servings 10
Author Kelsie


Cake layers

  • 1 (16.25-ouncbox white cake mix
  • 1 (3.4-ouncbox instant pistachio pudding
  • 1 cup 7 Up can substitute club soda
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans


  • 1 (3.4-ouncbox instant pistachio pudding
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 (8-ounccontainer frozen whipped topping
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut for garnish
  • Maraschino cherries for garnish


Cake layers

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 8-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment, spray the parchment, and set pans aside.
  2. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, soda, oil, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Fold in the coconut and pecans.
  3. Bake cake layers 32 to 38 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pans for 20 minutes, then carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.


  1. Once cake layers have cooled, use a long serrated knife to trim them if they’ve domed.
  2. Combine the pudding mix and milk in a medium bowl and stir until thick. Fold in the whipped topping. (You may need to let the whipped topping sit at room temp for a few minutes before it will fold in nicely.). The frosting will be fairly thin but will still be spreadable.
  3. Set one cake layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake circle and spread an even layer of frosting over the top. Top with the second cake layer and frost the cake. Press coconut into the sides of the cake if desired. Slice and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Don’t like coconut? Leave it out! Don’t like nuts in your desserts? Leave them out too! This is your cake so do it your way.
  • You can substitute yellow cake mix for white cake mix if that’s what you have; the color of the cake will just be a little different.
  • I like to top each slice of Watergate Cake with a maraschino cherry because I think the pop of red is really pretty against the green. But that’s totally optional!
  • Store uneaten cake in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer (tightly wrapped) for up to 2 months.