Pineapple Poke Cake is an easy dessert recipe featuring a buttery cake with pineapple vanilla pudding and dreamy pineapple cream topping. It’s like a tropical vacation in a pan.
One of my favourite tropical fruits is PINEAPPLE. It’s delicious on its own but brings so much fruity flavour in so many applications such as in a classic Pina Colada Cocktail or as part of a glaze for Spiral Sliced Ham. When it comes to pineapple on pizza I’m 100% team pineapple, how about you?
Pineapple Poke Cake
Today I have an extra special recipe for all the dessert lovers. It’s not often that we end dinner with dessert but when we do, it is worth the splurge. This Pineapple Poke Cake is one of those desserts. The recipe is simple enough for non bakers and bakers alike as it uses a boxed cake mix, instant vanilla pudding mix, and whipped topping.
The combination of the fluffy yellow cake infused with dreamy vanilla pudding (made with pineapple juice!) is delicious. We could eat a pan of it just like that. However after the last layer of pineapple cream is added, it’s virtually irresistible.
I think this would be the perfect dessert for kids to make on Mother’s Day, a Spring/Summer Barbecue or for a potluck. Once kids start poking holes in the base cake, this dessert will quickly become one of their family favourites.
What is a Poke Cake?
If you grew up in the 1970’s, you make be familiar with this quirky vintage cake. The original poke cake recipes were originally white cakes poked with a fork, then drizzled with coloured jello. Of course, jello was another 1970’s treasure, appearing in every dinner course from salads to desserts.
The modern day poke cake is a touch more evolved. Instead of poking tiny holes with a fork, bakers use the handle of a wooden spoon to make larger holes. The holes can then be filled with thicker, more viscous syrups, sauces, and in the case of this poke cake recipe, pudding.
The holes in a poke cake serve two purposes. One is to inject flavour/colour into what is essentially a blank cake canvas. The liquid that is poured into also keeps the cake nice and moist. Yep, I said it. MOIST.
Ingredients for Pineapple Poke Cake
One thing has stayed the same through 40 years of poke cakes and this is the constant use of ‘convenience’ products such as boxed cake mix, instant jello/pudding, and whipped topping.
- Yellow of Butter Cake Mix
- Canned Crushed Pineapple
- Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
- Pineapple Juice
- Whipped Topping
If you have a great homemade version of a yellow cake or butter cake that fits in a 9 x 13 baking dish feel free to bake your own cake. The boxed cake mix is in this recipe to encourage non bakers or dessert makers out of their comfort zones.
Preparing the cake mix according to package directions means that you will need eggs, water, and either vegetable oil or melted butter. Nothing could be simpler!
While this recipe calls for a box of vanilla pudding mix, we’re going to switch it up a bit. Instead of preparing the pudding with milk only, a cup of pineapple juice is also used. This addition adds even more pineapple flavour to the dessert.
Again, if you wish you can make your own homemade vanilla pudding and use that instead. Don’t forget the pineapple juice!
For ease of preparation, use a tub of whipped topping (such as cool whip) for the creamy pineapple top layer. If you want to use real whipped cream, whip up 1 1/2 cups 36% MF whipping cream until peak begin to form. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and whip for another 30 seconds.
How to Make Pineapple Poke Cake
Let’s Bake a Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease a 9×13 baking dish. Drain pineapple using a metal strainer, taking care to reserve the juices. Press down on the pineapple with a wooden spoon to get as much of the juice out as possible.
In a large mixing bowl combine the yellow cake mix, vegetable oil/melted butter, water, eggs, and 2/3 cup drained crushed pineapple. Pour the batter into the prepared 9 x 13 pan and use a spatula to smooth the top to a nice even layer.
Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely.
When the cake has completely cooled, use a wide straw or round wooden spoon handle to poke holes in the cake.
The Pudding Mixture
The pudding mixture is the key to extra flavour and moisture. Usually, a box of vanilla pudding is made with milk, but in this recipe (for extra pineapple flavour), a portion of the milk is replaced with pineapple juice.
Place the pudding mix, milk, and pineapple juice in a medium bowl and whisk to combine. You don’t need to follow package instructions in this case. Finally, pour the pudding mixture over the cake and especially into the holes.
The Pineapple Whip Topping
This mixture of whipped topping/whipped cream mixed with crushed pineapple reminds me so much of the ‘Pineapple Delight’ my grandma used to make. I just love the flavour combination!
For the creamy top layer, mix the remaining crushed pineapple with the whipped topping. Top the cake with pineapple cream mixture.
Finally, refrigerate cake for four hours. Decorate with grilled or dehydrated pineapple slices (optional) before serving.
What To Do With Leftover Pineapple Poke Cake
This dessert is best eaten the day it was made. However, a 9 x 13 pan is huge and you are very likely to have leftovers. Simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge. The cake is good for 2-3 days when refrigerated and as long as it hasn’t been left on the counter for a long time.
If you make this Pineapple Poke Cake recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- 1 (15.25 oz) pkg yellow or butter cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup oil/melted butter (according to package directions)
- 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple; divided
- 1 (5.1 oz) box vanilla instant pudding mix
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup pineapple juice (you may be able to get this from the drained crushed pineapple
- 1 (8 oz) tub whipped topping
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set it aside.
- Drain the pineapple well and reserve the juice.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, vegetable oil/melted butter, water, eggs, and 2/3 cup crushed pineapple.
- Pour batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake to room temperature then use a wide straw or round wooden spoon handle to poke holes in the cake.
- Place the pudding mix, milk, and pineapple juice in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Pour the pudding mixture over the cake and into the holes.
- Mix the remaining crushed pineapple with the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cake.
- Refrigerate cake for four hours before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 169Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 3g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.