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Coconut Poke Cake

Yellow cake, coconut cream pudding, Cool Whip, and toasted coconut make for a sweet and delicious Coconut Poke Cake! This easy cake will be your new favorite if you’re a fan of coconut.

Slice of coconut poke cake next to a fork on a white plate, with a cup of coffee in the background

As soon as the weather starts to warm up here in Ohio, my baking mind immediately shifts to craving coconut desserts. I know coconut is one of those ingredients that people tend to love or absolutely hate, but I’m team coconut all the way – especially if we’re talking toasted coconut.

This Coconut Poke Cake comes together easily and will be perfect for summer entertaining, or just a simple dinner on your patio. If you love coconut, this is a must-make and sure to become one of your new favorite recipes.

Ingredients for coconut poke cake arranged on a gray countertop

WHAT IS POKE CAKE?

If you grew up eating poke cakes, you’re probably already familiar with the concept. If you didn’t, you might be wondering, “What the heck is a poke cake?”

A poke cake is exactly what it sounds like: After baking a cake, you poke holes in it and then pour on some kind of topping or filling that adds flavor and moisture. 

Baked yellow cake in a cake pan, with holes poked in it to turn it into a poke cake

Sometimes it’s a liquid, like Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cake. Sometimes it’s more of a syrup or sauce, like Caramel Apple Poke Cake. Sometimes it’s a pudding, like in Banana Pudding Poke Cake or this Coconut Poke Cake.

Usually the cake is finished off with Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream or even homemade buttercream frosting in some cases. 

Whisk mixing together coconut pudding in a glass bowl with a baked yellow cake in the background

HOW TO MAKE COCONUT POKE CAKE

This Coconut Poke Cake is made up of three simple layers:

  1. Yellow cake 
  2. Coconut cream pudding 
  3. Cool Whip topping with toasted for coconut garnish
Offset spatula spreading coconut pudding over the top of a yellow cake with holes poked in it

All of those layers are super easy to throw together. The cake is made with a yellow cake mix. Follow the directions on the box to make the cake batter, then add in ½ cup of sweetened flaked coconut before baking for some extra coconut flavor.

After the cake has baked, let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Use a straw or the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes, spaced about every inch or so, halfway into the cake.

Dollops of cool whip on top of a pudding-topped poke cake in a cake pan

Mix together a box of instant coconut cream pudding with 2 cups of milk and whisk for 2 minutes. Pour the pudding over the top of the still-warm cake, making sure to get the pudding into all of the holes you made. 

Top the cake with the whipped topping, then cover the cake and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. I recommend letting it rest overnight for the best flavor, though!

When you’re ready to serve the cake, garnish it with as much toasted coconut as you like. Never toasted coconut before? Make sure to check out my tutorial on how to toast coconut

Sliced coconut poke cake in a cake pan, set on a gray countertop

CAN COCONUT POKE CAKE BE FROZEN?

I know that everyone is always looking for a cake you can make ahead and freeze, but I do not recommend freezing this particular cake. The pudding is likely to split and do weird things when it thaws.

No one wants that.

Plated slice of coconut poke cake next to a fork with a pan of cake and cup of coffee in the background

If you’re looking for a cake recipe that you can make ahead and freeze, you might check out my Cream Cheese Pound Cake, Citrus Poppy Seed Cake, or Hershey’s Chocolate Cake

But since this Coconut Poke Cake needs to rest at least 2 hours or preferably overnight, it is still a great option to make the day before you plan to serve it.

Slice of coconut poke cake with a bite taken out of the corner
Plated slice of coconut poke cake next to a fork with a pan of cake and cup of coffee in the background

Coconut Poke Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes

Yellow cake, coconut cream pudding, Cool Whip, and toasted coconut make for a sweet and delicious Coconut Poke Cake! This easy cake will be your new favorite if you’re a fan of coconut.

Ingredients

  • 1 (15.25 ounce) yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

For the pudding

  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk

For the topping

  • 1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Toasted coconut for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13x9-inch cake pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, water, oil, eggs and coconut with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  3. Allow cake to cool 10-15 minutes. Using a straw or the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes across the cake, spaced every inch or so, halfway into the cake.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Pour evenly over the cake, making sure the mixture gets into the holes. Evenly top with the whipped topping. 
  5. Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight for the best flavor.
  6. Before serving, top with toasted coconut.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving Calories 370Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 50mgSodium 535mgCarbohydrates 52gFiber 2gSugar 29gProtein 5g

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