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Coconut Poke Cake

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I love recipes that start with a cake mix.  I guess that’s because I love cake, love the ease of using a cake mix, and love adding anything to it that makes it seem more home made.  This one really is over-the-top indulgent but sooooo good.  Dennis is taking the leftovers (1 slice…) to work tomorrow so I’m not tempted to polish it off!

I only had an 8 oz tub of Cool Whip on hand this time, that’s why the “frosting” layer is so thin.

Coconut Poke Cake

1 (18.25 oz.) package white cake mix
1 (14 oz.) can cream of coconut (NOT coconut milk)
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (16 oz.) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (8 oz.) package flaked coconut

Prepare and bake white cake mix in a 9″x13″ pan according to package directions.

While it is baking, toast the coconut in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned.  Set aside. Mix the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk together in a bowl and set aside.

Remove cake from oven and immediately (yes, while it’s still hot–very important!) poke holes all over the top of the cake.  Pour the cream of coconut mixture over the hot cake–it will soak in through the holes.

Let cake cool completely,then frost with the whipped topping and top with the toasted coconut. Keep cake refrigerated.

Veronica’s notes: The only cream of coconut I’ve found has enough to make two recipes.  Instead of saving half for later (I saved the last half for a couple months in the fridge–it apparently lasts forever), next time I will just omit the sweetened condensed milk and use all the cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is the same consistency & is just as sweet as sweetened condensed milk but has a coconut flavor, so I think this would have the same result except with a slightly more coconutty flavor!

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About Veronica

I have a kitchen addiction and love to collect & share recipes. My passion is baking but I love to cook as well. The only thing I don't like to do in the kitchen is wash dishes, but my husband generally does them for me in exchange for his dinner.

58 responses »

  1. I am totally making this for my SIL – some of the coconut cake recipes are way too labor intensive – love it!

    Thanks Veronica – hope you have a great weekend!

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  2. Pingback: Weekly WI and Mortadella and Fig Focaccianini « My Bizzy Kitchen

  3. I just made this cake for my friend for her birthday. She just loved it, and so did everyone else! I had to print out the recipe for everyone to take home. This one is a keeper! :)

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  4. Where do you find cream of coconut? I’ve never heard of it.

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  5. Pingback: Sally’s Pins – Sally Spins

  6. Has anyone tried Dream Whip in place of Cool Whip? I know they are different but I don’t have access to Cool Whip.

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    • Wow, you hit a sentimental chord–I was raised on Dream Whip and never had Cool Whip until I was an adult. Hmmm, I don’t remember how well it stands up over time so I really can’t tell you if it would work, but if you’re familiar with it and know if it can be kept in the refrigerator without deflating, I’d go for it. WAIT! What am I thinking? I bet you have heavy cream, right? Well, you could just make some stabilized whipped cream (you could also do it the regular way but since whipped cream waters out after a while, you’d probably want to make the stabilized king). I have a recipe for it here: https://veronicascornucopia.com/2010/02/13/french-silk-pie-with-stabilized-whipped-cream/

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      • You are correct that I have heavy cream available. It briefly crossed my mind but it is something to avoid due to calories. However, if one is going to splurge they might as well splurge. Thanks for the recipe for the stabilized whipped cream (which lead to the french silk pie recipe). My next task is to find cream of coconut. :-)

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        • Look in the section at your grocery store where they sell drink mixers. If you can’t find it, I know the recipe says NOT to use coconut milk, but I think it would work as long as you use the full fat coconut milk in the can, and not light coconut milk or coconut milk beverage. It would be less sweet as the cream of coconut has a lot of sugar added, but since you mix it with sweetened condensed milk, I think it will be plenty sweet!

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      • I tried the Dream Whip (because I forgot to buy the heavy cream when I bought the other ingredients). I make it up with 1/2 cup of the Cream of Coconut/Sweetened Condensed milk mixture. It was not the light Cool Whip look or taste, but it was really very good, and did not separate or deflate. My husband loved it, and he’s not a big fan of sweet frostings.

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  7. Going to be making this tomorrow … I do have a question though, I have seen other coconut poke cakes that don’t call for you to brown the coconut. What is the difference taste wise? Does it just make the texture different? I am still undecided if I want to brown the coconut or just leave it as is. . .

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    • It will be good either way so it’s your call. Toasting it makes it crunchy, which I like better, as raw coconut is a little hard to chew and not as pleasant. It also gives it a nice toasty flavor but the flavor of it untoasted is just as good in a different way. I hope you love the cake!

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  8. Made it today..hope it’s good..I didn’t use all of the cream of coconut and condensed milk (used half
    of both cans) I was afraid it would make the cake soggy..I will let you know how it turns out!

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  9. Ok..just had it..SO GOOD! Would make it again using half of the cream of coconut and half of the condensed milk!! DELISH!!!

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    • glad to hear it! I think the last time I made it I used the cream of coconut ONLY b/c I remember thinking the other was really unnecessary. I should probably make it again and repost the recipe!

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  10. You can also find coconut cream in Asian and Mexican stores.

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  11. Alice McPherson

    I’ve made something similar, but with a chocolate cake mix. Added chopped almonds to the top … tasted like an Almond Joy candy bar … YUMMY!

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  12. Now this is MY kind of cake!!! This can be the new spin on my Coconut Cake for Easter! Thanks Veronica!!

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  13. I’ve never done a “poke” cake before, what do I poke the cake with?

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  14. could one incorporate pineapple juice somehow? Maybe less cream of coconut slightly thinned with some pineapple juice?
    ideas please…. :-)

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  15. Coconut cream is the same as crema de coco. They have it in just about every grocery store in the mexican aisle. Stacy, I think I have recipe for a cake with a pineapple whipped cream topping. It wouldn’t be inside the cake, but could be an easy and tasty way to incorporate the coconut and pineapple. I will take a look and post it for you.

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  16. This is seriously the best cake my family has ever had. Followed the directions as written and I’m glad I did–it was perfect.

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  17. I just found this and can’t wait to make it! Love your blog!

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  18. I have never in my life seen cream of coconut. Where in the store would it likely be? Looks delicious! I hope I can find it so I can make this!

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  19. could you use the 7 minute frosting on this instead of cool whip

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    • I’m really not sure since this is refrigerated. Can you refrigerate 7-minute frosting? If so, then yes. Perhaps you wouldn’t need to refrigerate it, though, if you used that kind of frosting….I guess experimenting is in order. I’m interested to hear how it turns out!

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  20. If you make it the night before and keep it in the fridge will it be all soggy? I’m thinking of using the new Cool Whip frosting maybe!

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    • I couldn’t find cream of coconut, so I just used the condensed milk and it was still delicious! It’s not soggy when left in the fridge, it’s delicious!

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    • Have you ever had a Tres Leches cake? It’s similar, but not quite as moist. I don’t know that I’d call it soggy as it’s as it’s meant to be, but it is definitely “wetter” than a cake that isn’t soaked with liquid. Refrigerating it overnight is how I make it so it will be just right if you do it that way. :)

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  21. I Have Used A dark Chocolate Cake Mix. A Must Try. Yummy.

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  22. Made this wonderful cake last weekend for visiting family and it was such a big hit! Thank you for the great recipie

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  23. Nancy Winkler

    This was delicious! Thanks for sharing! My version was: Pineapple Cake Mix, then Cream of Coconut on top as you suggested, then when cool put drained crushed pineapple on top, then make coconut instant pudding, put that on top, then cool whip and toasted coconut. My family calls this 5 layer Coconut-Pineapple Poke cake! Delicious!

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  24. Can’t wait to make this for Easter! I had some trouble finding the cream of coconut but as you stated, I did find it in the drink mix aisle , not the Mexican aisle. I absolutely love coconut but I think I will color my coconut for Easter. Thanks for sharing!

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  25. Oh my. So delicious and simple! Thank you!

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