This easy coconut poke cake with whipped cream topping is packed with incredible flavor. It’s simple to make because of the box mix cake, packed with a creamy coconut filling, and topped with fluffy from scratch whipped cream with shredded coconut flakes.
When the summer months hit, I want all things coconut, including coconut rum cocktails and boozy pineapple spears. For light and refreshing cakes, today’s coconut cake (poke style) or our coconut cream cake (layered cake) are the best way to satisfy the sweet tooth using your favorite summer ingredients.
For coconut lovers, you have to try these chewy coconut cookies, coconut macaroons without sweetened condensed milk, and the famous chocolate chip coconut cookie bars. If you like no-fuss recipes that call for boxed mixes, be sure to try this cake mix version of pineapple upside-down cake, my Duncan Hines lemon bundt cake, and these dump cakes – banana split dump cake, strawberry cheesecake dump cake, and lemon cheesecake dump cake.
- box cake mix – we are using a white cake mix.
- egg whites – if you want to use whole eggs, see the notes section below.
- vegetable oil, water, and milk – these ingredients keep the cake moist and tender.
- cream of coconut – adds so much extra flavor
- coconut cream instant pudding mix – a great ingredient for a moist cake and adds a little more coconutty flavor.
- heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar – for the topping.
- Sprinkles or Easter candy for decorating
For a complete list of ingredients and their measurements, please refer to the printable recipe card 📋 at the bottom of the post.
We love sprinkling sweetened coconut over the top. You can also use unsweetened coconut to reduce the calories.
Wooden spoon – we use the back of a wooden spoon to press the filling into the holes and the handle to make the holes.
Electric mixer – to make the whipped cream.
Substitutions and Variations
- Cool Whip – Don’t have time to make homemade whipped cream? Use store-bought whipped topping instead.
- Cream cheese frosting – use my cream cheese buttercream frosting recipe if you prefer that.
- Yellow Cake Mix – this boxed cake mix will work just as well, except it dulls the look compared to the white.
- No Pudding – instead of adding the pudding mixture, some like to drizzle a full can of cream of coconut on top of the poked cake.
- Toasted coconut – Add the shredded coconut to a baking sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees. Be careful, as it can burn quickly. Then sprinkle it over the top of the whipped cream.
PREP: Grease a 9×13 baking dish and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, beat the box of cake mix, egg whites, oil, and 1 cup of water until combined. If desired, add ½ cup of cream of coconut for more flavor.
Step 2: Pour the batter into the cake pan.
Step 3: Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs. Let the cake cool at room temperature.
Step 4: Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke small holes on top of the cake. Poke ⅔ of the way down, leaving ¾ to 1 inch of space in between each one.
Pro Tip – Do not skip the cooling time. Warm cake will cause the pudding to not set.
Step 5: In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding, 2 cups of milk, and 1 cup of cream of coconut until it begins to thicken.
Step 6: Spread the coconut cream pudding over the whole cake.
Step 7: Press down gently so that it fills the poked holes. Chill the cake for 30 minutes in the refrigerator so the pudding can thicken.
Step 8: Beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
Step 9: Use a spatula to spread the fluffy whipped cream over the top.
Step 10: Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top of the cream.
SERVE: Slice and serve this delicious dessert!
- We chose to use egg whites only for a truly white cake to keep it pretty. Using the whole egg will not change the taste at all, it will just look a little more yellow.
- Cream of coconut is not the same as coconut milk or cream. It’s thick and sweet, as we use it in our Malibu piña coladas and our pineapple coconut cake. It does add more flavor to the pudding. You can also add some to the batter.
One coconut tree can harvest up to 180 coconuts in a season!
Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap tightly and refrigerate for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months as long as it is wrapped well.
Cream of coconut is a sweetened, thickened version of coconut cream. It has a high sugar content and is often used in cocktails and desserts. It is typically sold in cans or squeeze bottles and may have added stabilizers and emulsifiers.
Coconut milk is made by blending coconut meat with water and then straining out the solids. It is thinner than coconut cream and has a lower fat content. Coconut milk is commonly used in cooking as a dairy milk substitute and is often found in curries, soups, and smoothies.
Coconut cream, on the other hand, is thicker and richer than coconut milk. It is made by simmering coconut meat and water together and then straining out the solids. Coconut cream has a higher fat content than coconut milk and is often used in desserts, sauces, and curries.
If you try this Coconut Poke Cake or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you liked it in the 📝 comments below.
Coconut Poke Cake
- 1 – package white cake mix
- 3 large egg whites
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup cream of coconut
- 3.4 oz. box coconut cream instant pudding mix
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Sprinkles or Easter candy for decorating
- 1-2 cups of sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
- Beat together cake mix, egg whites, oil, and 1 cup of water until fully combined. You can also add ½ cup of cream of coconut into the cake batter – this is optional.
- Spread the cake batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs when poked in the center of the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool. Use the round handle of a spoon or a wooden dowel to poke holes all over the cake. Poke the holes about ⅔ of the way down into the cake, spacing ¾”-1” apart.
- Prepare the pudding mixture by whisking together the instant pudding mix, 2 cups of milk, and 1 cup of cream of coconut. Whisk until it just begins to thicken.
- Pour the pudding mixture over the cake and spread over the top, pressing the pudding down slightly while spreading so that it fills the holes.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the pudding to thicken.
- Beat or whisk 2 cups of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the chilled cake.
- Top with shredded coconut.
- Slice and serve.