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Strawberry Poke Cake with Toasted Coconut

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Strawberry poke cake is amazing!!! Do you love a good poke cake, too? This poke cake with pudding, strawberries and coconut is an awesome blend of flavors. Serve this cake at your next birthday celebration, holiday gathering or potluck. The crunch of the toasted coconut, fresh strawberries and vanilla pudding really put this yellow cake recipe over the edge.

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.

I’ve been wanting to make a pudding poke cake for a while now and finally made one with my son for his birthday. We went out of town celebrate his 6th birthday and when we came back he got sick the next day. Poor guy. I realized the following weekend that we never sang to him or blew out candles like we planned. So last weekend I asked if he wanted to make his birthday cake with me and together we came up with this Strawberry Poke Cake which turned out AMAZING.

Pudding Poke Cake

Some members of my family are a bit picky about their cake, myself included. I don’t like cake that is too dry so poke cakes are a great way to keep cake moist and add a lot of flavor.  In the past my poke cake recipes were ones that use pureed fruit like this strawberry refrigerator cake or gelatin like this lemon jello poke cake. But since my birthday boy loves vanilla pudding, I thought it would be a perfect choice his birthday cake. I love hacks to make cake mix taste better and super easy cake recipes like this pecan cake recipe or a vanilla crazy cake! No shame here in using a cake mix.

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.

Strawberry Poke Cake Ingredients

To make this pudding poke cake you’ll need the following simple ingredients:

  • yellow cake mix (or strawberry cake mix, butter recipe yellow cake mix or white cake mix)
  • eggs
  • vegetable oil
  • french vanilla instant pudding (can substitute vanilla, white chocolate, cheesecake or chocolate pudding)
  • milk
  • fresh strawberries
  • whipped topping (COOL WHIP) or homemade whipped cream
  • shredded coconut

If you need a gluten-free option, swap out the traditional yellow cake mix for a gluten-free cake mix in your favorite cake flavor. I don’t recommend frozen strawberries for this strawberry pudding cake as it is the pudding soaking into the cake and not the syrup from the strawberries.

  • Don’t want to use a boxed cake mix? No problem! Simply use your favorite homemade cake recipe.
  • Don’t like coconut?  You can skip this step and just garnish with fresh strawberries or substitute your favorite crushed cookies such as vanilla wafers or golden Oreos.
  • Want a different pudding flavor? Go for it! Virtually any pudding works for this recipe so swap out your favorite flavor.

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.

How to Make a Strawberry Poke Cake

You’ll want to start by preparing your cake using the instructions on the back of the box for a 13×9-inch pan, including the required egg, oil and water. Allow your cake to cool for 5 to 10 minutes on a wire baking rack. Take your slightly cooled cake and with end of a wooden spoon, poke holes every half inch and about halfway deep through the whole cake.

In a medium bowl, whisk vanilla pudding and cold milk. Pour over cake immediately before it can set. Spread pudding evenly and push down gently to push pudding into the cake. Some pudding will remain on top but some will sink down into the the cake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to allow the pudding to set.

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.

Layer sliced strawberries over the top and spread whipped topping (or fresh whipped cream made from heavy cream) evenly over the cake. Before slicing, top with toasted coconut. Garnish each slice with a halved strawberry, if desired. Store leftovers an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Cake Tip:

You’ll want to be sure to give your strawberry poke cake with pudding plenty of time in the refrigerator to give your pudding time to sink into the cake and firm up. But hold off adding the fruit, whipped topping and coconut until closer to serving if possible for best results unless you plan to eat it all the same day. This delicious cake will last 24 hours or longer if your strawberries aren’t over ripe and leaking juice.

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.

Tips to Toasting Coconut Perfectly

Toasted coconut is definitely tricky. Whether you are wondering how to make toasted coconut at all or you’ve had trouble in the past making toasted coconut I can help!  The trick to toasting coconut is to pay close attention and stir often. It is easy to walk away but just like when you are using your broiler, popping some popcorn or cooking bacon, it is very easy to overcook in a short period of time.  And if you’ve ever burnt coconut like I have, you know the smell is awful.

How to Toast Coconut:

You’ll want to bake your coconut on an ungreased baking sheet with sides in a preheated to 325 or 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven. Stir every couple of minutes until slightly brown. Then stir about every 30 seconds until light golden brown. It is more work but worth it!

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.

To get the evenly cooked, golden brown toasted coconut shown here, here are some key tips:

  • Do not overcrowd your coconut. Be sure to use a big enough baking sheet and spread your coconut out in a nice, thin and even layer.
  • Stir often. The key to even cooking is to stir it often so your coconut has a chance to brown evenly. If you don’t do this you can end up with parts of the coconut flakes white, the middle golden brown and burnt tips.
  • Watch your coconut carefully. As soon as you notice your coconut flakes starting to brown, stir it more frequently and watch it closely. Once it finally starts to brown it doesn’t take long to burn.

This poke cake recipe could really be switched up with different cake and pudding flavors and various fruits. The strawberry flavor for this cake comes from the fresh strawberries on top of the cake rather than strawberry gelatin, strawberry pie filling or fresh strawberry sauce.

I’ve found that strawberries hold up fairly well over time on baked goods. They also happen to be in season and a favorite fruit of the birthday boy so a strawberry cake was an easy choice. Other fresh fruit such could also be added. Try including blueberries and use a white cake. The red, white and blue is very patriot, making it a perfect summer dessert.

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.
4.75 from 4 votes
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Strawberry Poke Cake with Toasted Coconut

Strawberry poke cake is so moist and flavorful! This pudding poke cake recipe is loaded with fresh strawberries, whipped topping, toasted coconut and plenty of vanilla pudding!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword birthday cake, coconut, easter, Easter dessert, easy cake, instant pudding, mother's day, poke cake, poke cake recipe, pudding cake, spring cake, spring dessert, strawberries, strawberry cake, summer desserts, toasted coconut, vanilla pudding
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 12 to 15
Author Emilie at FindingZest.com

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix
  • 2 box (4 oz each) french vanilla instant pudding and pie filling mix (4 servings in each box)
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 1 quart about 4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1 tub (8oz) whipped topping (COOL WHIP) thawed
  • 1 1/4 cup toasted coconut

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13x9-inch baking pan.
  2. Prepare cake and bake cake according to directions on the box for 13x9-inch pan.
  3. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes in pan on wire rack.
  4. With handle of wooden spoon (1/4 to 1/2 inch in diameter), poke holes every half inch. Go as far as you'd like your pudding to reach. (I went about halfway but you can go almost to the bottom if you prefer)
  5. In medium bowl, whisk pudding and milk. Pour over cake immediately before it has a chance to set.
  6. Spread pudding evenly and gently push down into the cake to push pudding into the cake. (Some pudding will remain.)
  7. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours.
  8. Add sliced fresh strawberries to top of cake, covering entire top.
  9. Spread whipped topping evenly over cake.
  10. Before serving, top with toasted coconut.
  11. Top each piece with strawberry sliced in half. (optional)
  12. Store any leftovers in refrigerator. Best if consumed within 48 hours.

Recipe Notes

Can substitute white cake mix or butter recipe yellow cake mix.

Can use vanilla, white chocolate, chocolate or cheesecake instant pudding.

This easy strawberry poke cake reminded me of strawberry shortcake and was such a hit with my whole family. We polished off this cake in just a couple of days. Best part was even picky about cake family members thought this poke cake was a keeper so I’ll definitely make it again. Next time I might play around with different fruit and pudding flavors. I think chocolate pudding with chocolate cake mix would pair well with the strawberries.

Do you have a favorite poke cake recipe?

Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.
Take your cake to another level with this strawberry poke cake! This easy pudding poke cake is light, moist and loaded with flavor. It has become one of our favorite poke cake recipes! Try this poke cake recipe for Easter, Mother's Day or any spring or summer celebrations.
This strawberry poke cake is out of this world! Serve this easy pudding poke cake for Easter, Mother's Day or potluck celebrations.

 

3 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Poke cakes are so fun!! This one is so delightfully spring-y with all those strawberries and whipped cream… Plus, I love the tropical feel from the coconut!

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