Pineapple Coconut Poke Cake Recipe

When you want a particularly moist, melt-in-your-mouth cake, it's time to make a poke cake. The concept is simple: bake a cake, poke holes in it, and pour a flavored liquid, like a pudding or jello, over the top to soak into the cake, adding flavor and moisture. The flavor combinations are practically endless, so whether you're craving a moist chocolate cake, a fruity strawberry champagne cake, or something more tropical, like this pineapple coconut poke cake, there's bound to be an option to satisfy your sweet tooth.

"I love the flavors in this cake," says recipe developer Jessica Morone of Jess Loves Baking. "It is so tropical and reminds me of a piña colada with the coconut, pineapple, and rum extract. It's a really summery cake." And there's a special ingredient that helps get the flavor so perfect: coconut cream instant pudding. "I like the flavor [of this pudding] a lot better, and it's a lot easier than having to add ingredients to something like vanilla pudding to get the right coconut flavor," Morone explains. So stock up on coconut cream pudding the next time you're at the store so you'll be ready to whip up this poke cake whenever the urge hits.

Gather the ingredients for pineapple coconut poke cake

For this cake, you'll be making the cake itself, the pudding to pour into the holes you poke in the cake, and the icing, so you'll need to gather quite a few ingredients. Before you get started, be sure you have a can of crushed pineapple in juice, eggs, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, coconut cream instant pudding mix, milk, heavy whipping cream, rum extract, confectioner's sugar, and sweetened coconut flakes on hand.

Strain out the pineapples and juice

Before doing anything else, you have a few preparation tasks to take care of. Go ahead and heat your oven to 350 F and spray a 13x9-inch cake pan with cooking spray. 

Grab the can of pineapples and place a strainer over a bowl. Pour the pineapple into the strainer, separating the juice from the fruit. Measure out ½ cup of the pineapple juice to use in the cake batter — you can discard the rest or save it for another purpose (maybe a pineapple iced coffee to enjoy with your cake?). Set the crushed pineapple aside, as it will be added to the cake batter as well.

Mix the wet cake batter ingredients

To get the batter started, mix together the wet ingredients for the batter in a large bowl. These include the pineapple juice, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil. Stir until well combined.

Mix the dry cake batter ingredients

Use a separate bowl (it can be smaller), to mix the batter's dry ingredients — the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk to distribute the ingredients equally throughout the flour. 

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and add the pineapple

To make the batter, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. You should do this in about three passes, adding a third of the flour, mixing, adding another third, mixing, and then adding the last part of the flour. When the ingredients are well combined and smooth, pour in the pineapple and stir everything again. 

Bake the cake

Grab the prepared cake pan and pour the batter into the pan, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Pop the pan in the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes — the top of the cake should turn a nice, golden brown. Remove the pan from the oven and cover it with foil to help prevent the cake from browning further. Put the cake back in the oven and cook for 10-15 more minutes. You'll know it's done when you can poke the center with a toothpick or fork and it comes out clean without crumbs attached. 

Poke holes in the cake

When the cake has been baked, remove it from the oven and use a wooden skewer or the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes evenly across the cake. You can even use a fork if you want. The point here is to create the holes for the pudding mix to seep into. "A wider utensil will definitely give you bigger holes to get the pudding into, but because you are pouring the pudding mix while it is still more of a liquid, it doesn't matter too much how big the holes are," Morone explains.

Mix the coconut cream pudding

Now that your cake is ready, it's time to mix together the pudding mix and milk. Simply whisk them together in a large bowl until they're well combined. It's important not to do this step too early, as you want the mix to remain liquid, rather than pudding-like. 

Pour the pudding over the cake and into the holes

With the pudding and milk mixed, quickly pour the liquid evenly across the top of the cake before it has a chance to thicken up too much. Use a spatula or spoon to spread it evenly, trying to ensure it seeps into the holes you created. "Some pudding filling will definitely still end up on the top of the cake, but that just becomes another delicious layer to the cake," Morone says. 

Place the cake in the fridge to set and chill for about 2 hours.

Make the icing

When the cake is almost set, mix up the whipped cream icing. Beat the cold heavy cream with a stand or hand mixer until it forms soft peaks. Slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar and rum extract, continuing to beat the cream until stiff peaks form. 

"The rum extract is only going into the whipped cream for a little bit of flavoring," Morone says. "You could use regular rum and use about 1 teaspoon if you want more of an 'adult' version of the cake, or don't have rum extract." 

Top the cake with icing and shredded coconut before serving

Pull the cake from your fridge and spread the whipped cream frosting over the top. Then, sprinkle the icing with shredded coconut. It's ready to be enjoyed immediately, but if you're not quite ready to serve it yet, store it in the fridge until it's time to dig in. 

If you and your family or friends don't devour the cake in one night, it can keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. While it's the perfect post-dinner sweet for a fun dessert, Morone says it's also a great mid-afternoon snack paired with coffee or tea. 

Pineapple Coconut Poke Cake Recipe
5 from 133 ratings
This tropical pineapple coconut poke came recipe is reminiscent of a piña colada with its coconut, pineapple, and rum extract.
Prep Time
Cook Time
pineapple coconut poke cake
Total time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple in juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages coconut cream instant pudding mix
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar
  • ½ teaspoon rum extract
  • ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Place a strainer over a large bowl and strain the pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple. Reserve ½ cup of the pineapple juice, and set aside the crushed pineapple.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the reserved pineapple juice, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil.
  5. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients at a time and mix until well combined.
  7. Mix the crushed pineapple into the batter until combined.
  8. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until the top is golden brown. Cover the cake with foil and bake another 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and use a wooden skewer, the handle of a wooden spoon, or a fork to poke holes all over the cake.
  10. In a large bowl, whisk together the coconut cream pudding mix and milk until combined. Before the mixture gets too thick, pour the pudding over the cake. Spread the mixture over the cake trying to get it into the holes as much as possible.
  11. Chill the cake in the fridge until it is set and cool, about 2 hours.
  12. Use a stand mixer or a hand mixer to beat the heavy cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Add the confectioners' sugar and rum extract to the bowl and continue beating until stiff peaks begin to form.
  13. Spread the icing evenly over the chilled cake. Top with the shredded coconut. Store cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Calories per Serving 531
Total Fat 24.2 g
Saturated Fat 11.0 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 79.6 mg
Total Carbohydrates 73.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.4 g
Total Sugars 52.1 g
Sodium 401.0 mg
Protein 7.1 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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