This coconut poke cake is easy to make and turns out soft, moist, and packed with coconut flavor every time. If you’re a coconut fan you’ll love this delicious treat!
Coconut: yay or nay? I can honestly take it or leave it. But offer me a slice of this coconut poke cake and I’m all in.
It comes together quickly because it starts with a cake mix. And with a hefty pour of both sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut, the cake turns out so soft and moist every time.
Top it with whipped cream and it’s the stuff coconut dreams are made of!
Why you’ll love this coconut poke cake:
- It starts with a cake mix, so it’s easy enough for anyone to make
- Because you pour both cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk over the cake after you bake it, you’re ensured a soft, moist cake every single time
- The cake needs to chill overnight before you frost it, so it’s a great make-ahead dessert option
How to make your cake
- Combine cake mix, eggs, and a few other ingredients
- Beat until smooth
- Pour into in a a 13- by 9-inch baking dish and bake about 30 minutes
When your cake is done, you’ll cool it for 20 minutes, then
- Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake
- Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly and cream of coconut into the holes
Then you’ll cool the cake to room temp and refrigerate overnight.
- I used a white cake mix but you can use yellow cake mix if that’s what you have.
- When poking holes in your cake, only go about 3/4 of the way into the cake—you don’t want to poke through to the bottom.
- Be sure you use cream of coconut, not coconut cream (see below for more info on cream of coconut. I like the brands Coco Real or Coco Lopez).
How to finish your cake
Once the cake has chilled overnight, make your frosting.
- Beat heavy cream in a bowl until it starts to thicken
- Beat in powdered sugar until the whipped cream holds stiff peaks
- Spread the frosting over the cake
- Top with flaked coconut, toasted if desired
- Stiff peaks are when the whipped cream holds its shape rather than folds in on itself when you pull the beaters out. You want the whipped cream to be nice and stiff so it doesn’t slide off the cake when you slice it.
- A cold bowl and cold beaters help the whipped cream beat up stiffly. Chill them in the fridge for half an hour or so before making your whipped cream.
- A dash of rum would be delicious in place of the vanilla extract.
How to store your cake
Uneaten coconut poke cake can be stored in the fridge, covered, for 4 or 5 days.
You can also freeze slices, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months. Freeze the slices on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes so the whipped cream sets, then you can wrap your cake tightly with plastic wrap and foil.
What is cream of coconut?
Cream of coconut and coconut cream are NOT the same thing. Cream of coconut is basically coconut cream that has added sugar. It’s often used as a component in mixed drinks.
Some grocery stores carry cream of coconut with drink mixers; if you can’t find it at your grocery store check liquor stores. They almost always carry it.
How to toast coconut
I toasted the coconut I used on top of my cake but that’s an optional step. If you want to toast your coconut, here’s the method I use:
- Spread 2 cups of coconut in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet or two. The coconut needs to be in a single layer to ensure it browns evenly.
- Place your coconut in a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes take the coconut out and stir it with a spatula. Return the coconut to the oven, stirring every 2 minutes, until it reaches your desired level of brownness.
Then transfer your coconut to a bowl to cool before using.
Baker’s tip: Don’t walk away while your coconut is in the oven! Coconut goes from nicely toasted to terribly scorched really quickly, so plan to stick around the kitchen until your coconut is done.
Did you make this coconut poke cake? AWESOME! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. And post a pic on Instagram too! Tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see!
Coconut coke pake is an easy and delicious dessert for coconut lovers. It turns out perfectly soft and moist every time!
- 1 15.25-ounce box white cake mix*
- 1 cup water
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup cream of coconut**
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Combine the cake mix, water, eggs, oil, and coconut extract in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes.
- Pour into the baking dish and bake 22 to 32 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes about 3/4 of the way into the cake (you don’t want to poke through to the bottom). The holes should be about 1 inch apart.
- Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over the cake, then pour the cream of coconut over that. Gently smooth the condensed milk and cream of coconut over the cake so the whole top is covered.
- Cool to room temperature, cover loosely, and refrigerate overnight.
- Once the cake has chilled overnight, make your frosting.
- Beat heavy cream in a bowl until it starts to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until it holds stiff peaks. (Stiff peaks are when the whipped cream holds its shape rather than folds in on itself when you pull the beaters out.)
- Spread over the cake and top with flaked coconut (see the notes section below for toasting instructions, if you prefer toasted coconut). Slice and serve.
- Uneaten cake can be stored in the fridge for 4 or 5 days. You can also freeze slices, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 months.
- *I used Pillsbury Moist Supreme white cake mix. You can substitute yellow cake mix if you prefer. Lemon cake mix would also be delicious!
- **Cream of coconut is not the same thing as coconut cream so you can’t substitute. I used the brand Coco Real. Coco Lopez is another good option. Look for cream of coconut at liquor stores or at the grocery store with the drink mixers.
- To toast your coconut (an optional step) spread it into an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a preheated 350-degree oven for 4 minutes. Continue toasting, stirring every 2 minutes, until coconut reaches desired level of toasty-ness. WATCH IT CLOSELY during this process. Cool completely before sprinkling on the cake.