Is there any better way to celebrate summer, or just the commencement of warm weather, than sipping on an umbrella-adorned drink like a Pina Colada? Probably not.
But a second place all-star is a dessert that channels that same fee. This pina colada poke cake does just that.
What is a Poke Cake?
Why is it called poke cake? The reason is super simple: you’ll poke the cake full of holes so that you can pour the appropriate goodness over top so that it can simply seep into the cake, filling it with flavor.
Any good poke cake recipe requires poking and while I prefer to use a fork, you can also use wooden skewers or the end of a wooden spoon. If you’re really at odds with how to accomplish the poking, you could even use chopsticks for wider holes.
This pina colada poke cake recipe incorporates all of the flavors of the classic cocktail into both the cake itself, and the topping. There’s plenty of pineapple flavor and texture, while coconut is incorporated throughout.
The layers of flavor make this a decadent dessert best enjoyed pool-side, but it’s also perfect for any party and can be made ahead and is easy to transport.
Why You’ll Love Pina Colada Poke Cake
If you like piña coladas (I know you sang that!) then you are going to love this fluffy cake that is reminiscent of your favorite tropical cocktail!
- Fast – since you’re using cake mix, this super moist cake comes together quickly and is so easy.
- Portable – bake this cake in your own dish or a to-go style foil baking pan and it transports easily to parties and family get-togethers.
- Flavor – who doesn’t love a pina colada? Summer gatherings (or those that are channeling warm weather times) are always made better with tropical flavors.
Using a box mix and a handful of other ingredients, you will have this pina colada cake recipe ready in no time!
- White cake mix – choose any brand that you prefer, but make sure that it’s white cake mix and not yellow to preserve the pretty color of the cake.
- Crushed pineapple – for this part of the recipe ensure that your pineapple is not drained to add even more of that pineapple flavor and juiciness to the cake.
- Vegetable oil – the neutral flavor of vegetable oil makes it perfect for this cake so that the pineapple and coconut can take center stage.
- Eggs – most baking recipes recommend using large eggs and this one is no different. Grab your favorite brand, just make sure they’re the large size.
- Cream of coconut – for this pina colada poke cake recipe use cream of coconut which is the kind that is used for mixing drinks. Avoid coconut cream or coconut milk which are not the same thing.
- Pineapple juice – you can get little cans of this at your local grocer in the juice aisle.
- Rum extract – if you don’t already have this on hand, grab some at the store or use real rum instead. See the “Variations” section for how to substitute real rum for extract. You could also use coconut extract or vanilla extract.
- Instant coconut pudding mix – if you’re finding it a challenge to get this type of pudding, you can always get it from Amazon or swap it out for vanilla.
- Whole milk – make sure to use whole milk. The creaminess that it imparts in the topping is incomparable.
- Whipped topping – choose whichever whipped topping that you prefer. You can scoop it out of a tub, spray the appropriate amount, or make your own easy whipped cream.
- Crushed pineapple – for this part of the recipe you do want to drain your pineapple well in order to get exactly the right texture for your topping.
- Toasted coconut flakes – this garnish is key to take your pina colada poke cake over the top. Toasted flakes boast far more depth of flavor than the untoasted variety.
How To Make Pina Colada Poke Cake
You are gong to love how easy it is to make this piña colada cake that is full of coconut flavor!
- Prepare oven and baking dish. Preheat the oven and spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Make batter. Add the cake mix, crushed pineapple, oil, and eggs to a large bowl. With an electric hand mixer, mix the ingredients to combine before adjusting to medium speed and whipping.
- Pour into dish. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Smooth out the top of the batter so that it is level.
- Bake. When a toothpick is inserted into the center and comes out clean, the cake is finished.
- Cool. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, while still in the baking dish, for thirty minutes.
- Poke holes. Use a fork or handle of a wooden spoon to gently poke holes throughout the pina colada poke cake. Avoiding creating crumbles is ideal.
- Make filling. Whisk together the cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and rum extract in a bowl or a large measuring cup (which may help with pouring).
- Pour over cake. Pour the mixture evenly over the entire cake. Allow the cake to rest until completely cooled and all of the liquid is absorbed. This should take about 2 hours.
- Make topping. Place the pudding mix into a medium bowl and add the milk. Whisk to combine until the mixture begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes.
- Fold in whipped cream. Next, fold in the whipped topping until it’s fully incorporated. There should be no streaks of color remaining.
- Fold in pineapple. Finally, fold in the well-drained crushed pineapple to the topping until completely combined.
- Frost cake. Smooth the topping over top of the cake then top with toasted coconut.
We like this easy dessert recipe exactly as written, but there are plenty of ways you could make it your own.
- Pudding – coconut instant pudding might be a challenge to source. If you can’t find it, just use vanilla or french vanilla instant pudding mix. I’ve even used cherry- like the cherry on top.
- Rum – this pina colada poke cake recipe uses rum extract but if you want to incorporate real rum, use 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup depending on how strong of a rum flavor you want in the cake. If you are using actual rum in place of the extract, subtract and equal amount of pineapple juice listed for the filling. Dark rum, light rum, or spiced rum will all work well.
- Condensed milk – if finding cream of coconut is a challenge, or you just don’t want to use it, substitute one 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk instead.
- Toppings – Instead of my suggestions, you could top this piña colada poke cake with just about anything you’d like. A cool whip topping, maraschino cherries or fresh pineapples are all great ideas.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: You can store leftovers of this pina colada poke cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days in an airtight container. you can eat both cold and room temperature.
Freezing: You can also store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I would wrap with plastic wrap before adding it to a container to prevent freezer burn.
Other Crave-worthy Cakes
Let them eat cake! Here are more easy cake recipes– we all know I’m a lazy baker.
Pina Colada Poke Cake
For the cake:
For the filling:
- 15 ounces cream of coconut
- 1/2 cup pineapple juice
- 2 teaspoons rum extract
For the topping:
- 3.4 ounce instant coconut pudding mix
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces whipped topping
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple well drained
- toasted coconut for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with baking spray, set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cake mix, crushed pineapple, oil, and eggs. With an electric hand mixer, mix on low for 30 seconds to combine. Place on medium speed and whip for 2 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top. Bake for 29-34 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
- Using a fork, gently poke holes all over the cake. Try not to crumble the top of the cake the best you can.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and rum extract. Pour all over the cake. Let it sit until completely cooled and the liquid is absorbed.
- To make the topping, place the pudding mix into a large bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine until it starts to thicken.
- Fold in the whipped topping until there are no streaks left. Fold in the well-drained crushed pineapple. Smooth over the cake.
- Top with toasted coconut and serve.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings!