Pina Colada Poke Cake

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posted: 04/23/19

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Pina Colada Poke Cake is your favorite Pina Colada cocktail in delicious and easy poke cake form! You start with a box cake mix that is easily doctored up and you end up with this perfect and so easy dessert. If you love this recipe but want a different flavor, make my Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe.

piece of pina colada poke cake topped with toasted coconut and cherry on a white plate

Hello friends! Loooong time no talk! I’ve been a little absent around these parts because I was with my family on vacation in London! It was my kids’ first international trip and it was absolutely incredible. Yes, there were meltdowns (mostly mine), and some tricky spots, but over all we had the most wonderful time. I loved seeing that piece of the world, a city I have loved since I first met it, through my kids eyes. I loved sharing every bit of it’s incredibleness with them. If you are interested, in the next month or two, I could write a post about what we did and what my tips for traveling overseas with kids are (spoiler alert: lots of candy). Let me know if that’s something you’d like to read!

Until then, we have Pina Colada Poke Cake!

WHAT IS A POKE CAKE?

Ah, a question as old as time. Not really.

So I’ve been making poke cake recipes since the beginning of blogging. Traditionally, a poke cake is a cake baked in a 9 by 13 inch pan and then poked with lots of tiny holes after baking. You then pour jello into the holes. The jello sets, and voila!

That’s not how I typically make my poke cake recipes. I like to live life on the wild side. I love to create a unique poke recipe that replicates a flavor profile. I doctor up a simple boxed cake mix, poke big fat holes in it after baking, and then pour in something that adds to the flavor profile, like caramel sauce, hot fudge, or sweetened condensed milk. Finally, I top it with something that will seal the deal.

A great example of this is my Caramel Apple Poke Cake where I added spices and apple pie filling  to a white cake mix, filled it with caramel sauce after baking, and then topped it with cool whip and toffee pieces.

overhead view of 9 by 13 inch pan of poke cake topped with frosting toasted coconut and 12 cherries

WHAT MAKES THIS CAKE PINA COLADA FLAVORED?

So what did I do to make this Pina Colada Poke Cake Pina Colada flavored?

In this particular cake, I adapted my Mandarin Orange Cake Recipe (the base cake portion), and swapped out the oranges for pineapple and took away an egg. I poked holes after baking and added in coconut milk. Then I took the same frosting from the orange cake and swapped in coconut pudding for the vanilla. Finally I topped it with toasted coconut.

I love a good Pina Colada (that particular recipe is only three ingredients and amazing!), and I love that now I can have it in cake form.

a sheet cake that has been made into a pina colada poke cake with a piece missing, frosted with toasted coconut on top and maraschino cherries

COCONUT MILK OR COCO LOPEZ?

As I mentioned, many poke cakes are jello poke cakes, but I think that one of the best ways to make a unique poke cake is by what you fill those pokes with. Just like in my Samoas Poke Cake (after the popular Girl Scout cookie), I used coconut milk. It’s such a simple way to turn a regular cake into a coconut poke cake.

I debated between using unsweetened coconut milk or the deliciously sweet Coco Lopez that I use to make my Pina Colada and my Dole Whip with Rum. I ultimately made it with coconut milk because I worried the other would make it too sweet. But next time I make this I’m going to give Coco Lopez a try to see which I like better! 

close up view of square piece of pina colada poke cake topped with frosting and toasted coconut on a white plate with a cherry on top

CAN I MAKE THIS CAKE THE NIGHT BEFORE?

Yes! Actually, it’s best to bake the cake the night before and then make the frosting the day you are going to serve it. 

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THIS PINA COLADA CAKE

  • After your cake comes out of the oven, wait a little bit to poke the holes. If you poke too soon, you are going to end up with more cake on the handle of your wooden spoon that in the pan.
  • Do your best to evenly fill the holes with the coconut milk. Yes, you use the whole can. It seems like a lot, but yes.
  • Let the cake cool completely before you frost it. I like to refrigerate mine overnight.
  • Make sure your toasted coconut is also cooled before you put it on top.
  • Refrigerate the left overs . . . if there are any.

OTHER GREAT POKE CAKE RECIPES

fork digging into a piece of pina colada poke cake

close up view of square piece of pina colada poke cake topped with frosting and toasted coconut on a white plate with a cherry on top
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Pina Colada Poke Cake

Serves: 12 pieces
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
This Pina Colada Poke Cake is your favorite Pina Colada cocktail in delicious and easy poke cake form!  You start with a box cake mix that is easily doctored up and you end up with this perfect and so easy dessert.

Ingredients

For The Cake

  • 16.25 ounces white cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 20 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 5.46 fluid ounces coconut milk (well mixed)

For The Frosting

  • 12 ounces cool whip
  • 20 ounces canned crushed pineapple in juice
  • 3.4 ounces coconut instant pudding mix

Topping

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, eggs, vanilla extract, crushed pineapple (and it's juice), and vegetable oil.
  • Pour the mixture into the baking dish and bake for 40 minutes (rotating once during baking), or until a toothpick in the center of the pan comes out with just a few crumbs.
  • Allow the cake to cool a little and then poke holes in the cake with the end of a wooden spoon. You need roughly 24 holes.  Fill the holes with the well mixed coconut milk.  Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least four hours.
  • Before serving, mix together the cool whip, canned crushed pineapple (with it's juice), and coconut pudding. Spread evenly over the top of the cake.  Top with toasted coconut and maraschino cherries and serve!
Calories: 564kcal (28%) Carbohydrates: 59g (20%) Protein: 5g (10%) Fat: 34g (52%) Saturated Fat: 14g (88%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 34g Cholesterol: 47mg (16%) Sodium: 379mg (16%) Potassium: 231mg (7%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 46g (51%) Vitamin A: 50IU (1%) Vitamin C: 14mg (17%) Calcium: 90mg (9%) Iron: 1.3mg (7%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
close up view of square piece of pina colada poke cake topped with frosting and toasted coconut on a white plate with a cherry on top

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Pina Colada Poke Cake

I'd love to see what you made! Tag me @lisasimplejoy and hashtag it #simplejoyrecipes!

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piece of pina colada poke cake topped with toasted coconut and cherry on a white plate

collage of pina colada poke cake pictures

Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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