Coconut Poke Cake

16 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Coconut Poke Cake is a cool creamy dessert full of sweet coconut flavor! Sheet cake soaked in cream of coconut with a whipped cream topping.

Summer potlucks wouldn’t be complete without a big, creamy Cake Recipe to share! From colorful Rainbow Poke Cake to rich Chocolate Poke Cake to this light, moist Coconut Poke Cake, we have the perfect poke cake recipe for your Summer gatherings.

Sabrina’s Coconut Poke Cake Recipe

This amazing poke cake is full of light, delicious flavor of coconut and sure to be your favorite cakes for the summer or anytime you are craving coconut. Much easier than our Classic Coconut Cake, this sheet cake comes together in minutes. There’s no need to wait for hours to cool and assemble it. Instead you add the filling to the still warm cake. By the time you whip up the creamy frosting, the cake will be cool enough to add the topping and serve.

One thing that sets this delicious Coconut Poke Cake apart is that the cake base is made from scratch, no box of cake mix needed! It’s a flavorful, easy butter cake that comes together with simple baking ingredients. The filling is a combination of cream of coconut and condensed milk, then it’s topped with an old fashioned stabilized whipped cream frosting. The finished cake is perfect for sharing at your next summer potluck or backyard BBQ party.

Coconut Poke Cake ingredients in separate prep bowls


  • Cake Base: This delicious cake takes just a couple more minutes of prep work but the flavor and tender, soft cake are worth it. The 1 cup of butter, 3 eggs and 1 cup milk give this cake a rich, buttery flavor and make it extra moist. It is lightly sweetened with 1 ½ cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. The dry ingredients are a simple blend of 2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt that you’ll want to sift for a lighter cake.
  • Cream of Coconut: Cream of coconut is a sweet, syrupy liquid that is different from coconut cream, which is much thicker and usually unsweetened. It is usually sold near the drink mixers because it’s most often used in drinks like pina coladas. You’ll need 14 ounces cream of coconut, or about ¾ of a regular size bottle.
  • Condensed Milk: The sweetened condensed milk adds extra sweetness to the cake and a sticky, thick syrup to make the cake super moist. You use an equal amount, 14 ounces of condensed milk, to the cream of coconut to balance out the bold coconut flavor.
  • Stabilized Whipped Cream: The creamy frosting for this easy cake is actually a stabilized whipped cream recipe. This recipe uses 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water, to stabilize and thicken up the whipped cream. The whipped cream is made with 2 cups of heavy cream and 1 cup of powdered sugar. The gelatin keeps the cream from melting or losing its shape, making it a great cake for making the day before a party. If you don’t have gelatin, you can also make a similar topping with our Stabilized Whipped Cream recipe that uses cream cheese.
  • Shredded Coconut: To add some extra coconut flavor and a little chewy texture to the creamy cake, we added 2 cups of sweetened coconut shreds to the top. Toast the shreds beforehand to bring out more nutty coconut flavor and give the shreds some crunch.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Baking Dish: This baby sheet cake is made in a 9×13 baking dish so that it is thick enough to soak up the filling without getting soggy. The larger, flat cake makes it easier for sharing with a crowd.
  • Stand Mixer: We used a stand mixer to cream the butter and to whip up the cream to semi-firm peaks. You can mix everything by hand but you will need to use a whisk to get the whipped cream right. 

How to Make

Time needed: 50 minutes.

  1. Prep for Baking

    Preheat the oven. Grease a 9×13 baking pan with baking spray or use regular cooking then dust lightly flour.

  2. Make the Cake Batter

    Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Add the eggs one at a time to the butter mixture then add the vanilla. On low speed, add the flour mixture and milk alternately, until everything is just combined.Coconut Poke Cake collage preparing cake batter

  3. Bake the Cake

    Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread to even out. Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with moist crumbs.Coconut Poke Cake Collage pouring batter into pan and baked cake

  4. Add the Creamy Fillings

    While the cake is still warm, poke holes across the top evenly over the top, about 25 times, using a fork or small dowel. Pour the cream of coconut evenly over the top of the cake into the holes, then repeat with the condensed milk.Coconut Poke Cake pouring milk and cream over cake

  5. Prep the Topping Ingredients

    Mix the gelatin in the cold water in a small bowl and let it bloom for 5 minutes. Add the heavy cream and powdered sugar to a stand mixer. Melt the gelatin in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. 

  6. Make the Frosting

    Using the paddle attachment, begin beating the cream and sugar while the gelatin cools. Once cool, add the gelatin to the whipped cream mixture and beat to soft-stiff peaks. The tip of the peak will curve over slightly.Coconut Poke Cake adding gelatin mixture to cream in mixing bowl

  7. Frost the Cake

    Pour the whipped cream mixture over the cake and spread to an even layer. Sprinkle the shredded coconut evenly over the top. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.Coconut Poke Cake collage frosting cake and adding coconut

Can Coconut Poke Cake be made ahead of time?

Some parts of Coconut Poke Cake can be made in advance. You prepare the cake batter the night before but you want to add the cream and condensed milk right after the cake is baked while it’s still warm. You can make the whipped cream topping the night before but if you are serving it for a party, it’s best to add it right before serving.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Coconut Poke Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 658 Calories from Fat 324
% Daily Value*
Fat 36g55%
Saturated Fat 25g156%
Trans Fat 0.5g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 109mg36%
Sodium 181mg8%
Potassium 234mg7%
Carbohydrates 79g26%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 65g72%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 933IU19%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 138mg14%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Coconut Poke Cake Tips & Tricks

Soak the Cake when Warm

The key to getting the cake to soak up all the creamy sauce without getting soggy is to soak your poke cake while the cake base is still warm. 

Bloom the Gelatin

You want to “bloom” the gelatin in cold water before heating it and adding it so that it has time to loosen up and dissolve so it doesn’t clump when you add it to whatever you are setting. If you don’t let it bloom, your creamy topping won’t be as smooth and it won’t set properly.

How to Store

Store: When you aren’t serving this cake, it’s best to keep it in the fridge so the whipped cream frosting stays chilled, but it can be at room temperature for up to 2 hours. Store the cake pan covered with plastic wrap, or the lid, in the fridge for up to 4 days. 

Freeze: You can freeze this cake, but it’s best to freeze it without the whipped cream topping. If you want to freeze it with a creamy topping, use Cool Whip instead of the stabilized whipped cream. It will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Frequent Questions

Why is my poke cake soggy?

If you add too many holes to your poke cake, it will let the liquid pool in places and cause your cake to be soggy. This also happens if the holes are too big, so it’s best to use a fork and just do about 25 pokes over a regular 9×13 cake.

Why is it called poke cake?

A poke cake is simply a cake that has small holes poked over top of the warm cake and then a liquid, usually creamy like condensed milk, is poured over the cake and allowed to slowly soak into the cake. 

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Coconut Poke Cake

Coconut Poke Cake is a cool creamy dessert full of sweet coconut flavor! Sheet cake soaked in cream of coconut with a whipped cream topping.
Yield 16 servings
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Butter Cake:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter , softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 14 ounces canned cream of coconut , this is different than Coconut Cream
  • 14 ounces canned sweetened condensed milk

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • 2 teaspoons unflavored Knox gelatin
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 cups sweetened shredded coconut


Butter Cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking pan with baking spray.
  • To stand mixer, add butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Add in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
  • Alternate adding in the milk and the flour mixture, until just combined.
  • Spread into baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, until lightly browned and cooked through.
  • Poke holes on the top of the cake using a fork, about 25 times all over the cake.
  • Pour the cream of coconut and condensed milk over the holes.

Stabilized Whipped Cream:

  • Add the gelatin to your cold water in a small bowl and mix. Let it sit, to bloom, for five minutes.
  • In your stand mixer add the heavy cream and powdered sugar.
  • After the gelatin has set, put it in your microwave for 5-10 seconds to melt the gelatin.
  • With your paddle attachment for a minute to start building the peaks of the whipped cream and giving the gelatin time to cool a bit.
  • Add in the gelatin and continue beating until you have soft-stiff peaks (where the tip of the peak will still fall but it otherwise holds the same shape).
  • Pour the topping onto your cake.
  • Spread over the cake and top with the shredded coconut.


Calories: 658kcal | Carbohydrates: 79g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 181mg | Potassium: 234mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 933IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Coconut Poke Cake


Boxed Cake Mix: Instead of the cake batter, you can use a box of mix, preferably yellow cake, and follow the box instructions for what ingredients to add. Add an additional egg to whatever the box calls for and replace the water with milk for better tasting cake.

Chocolate: Add delicious chocolate flavor by adding ½ cup mini chocolate chips to the cake batter and to the topping. You could also replace ¼ cup of flour with cocoa power or drizzle your finished cake with Chocolate Ganache.

More Amazing Poke Cake Recipes

Coconut Poke Cake slice on plate, recipe name across bottom

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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