Pineapple Poke Cake

A square of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping on a stack of white plates.

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?

A square of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping on a stack of white plates.

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.

A fork holds a bite of cake in front of a square of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping on a stack of white plates.

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 required to make a Pineapple Poke Cake.

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
  • Eggs
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Canned Crushed Pineapple
  • Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Whipped Topping
Pineapple vanilla pudding being poured over a cake with holes poked in it.

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.

A glass baking dish of vanilla cake topped with a layer of pineapple pudding.

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.

A mixing bowl containing whipped topping and crushed pineapple.

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.

A glass baking dish of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping.

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.

A square of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping on a stack of white plates.

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.

A fork holds a bite of cake in front of a square of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake.
Pinterest image featuring squares of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping on a stack of white plates.

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.

Yield: 12

Pineapple Poke Cake

A square of dreamy Pineapple Poke Cake with creamy whipped topping on a stack of white plates.

Pineapple Poke Cake is an easy recipe featuring a buttery cake filled with pineapple vanilla pudding and a dreamy pineapple cream topping. It's like a tropical vacation in a pan.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish and set it aside.
  2. Drain the pineapple well and reserve the juice.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, vegetable oil/melted butter, water, eggs, and 2/3 cup crushed pineapple.
  4. 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.
  5. Cool the cake to room temperature then use a wide straw or round wooden spoon handle to poke holes in the cake.
  6. Place the pudding mix, milk, and pineapple juice in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  7. Pour the pudding mixture over the cake and into the holes.
  8. Mix the remaining crushed pineapple with the whipped topping. Spread the mixture over the top of the cake.
  9. Refrigerate cake for four hours before serving.




Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

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.

Did you make this recipe?

Share your dish pic on Instagram or Facebook and tag @dishnthekitchen (or #dishnthekitchen) in your post or story! Rate this recipe and leave a review to share your experience with others!

40 comments

  1. Rae

    Soooooo yummy! I made a couple of tweaks that worked out perfectly: Gluten-free yellow cake mix and almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I did use real butter though and real whipped cream, so it wasn’t vegan. Also, I used two small boxes of instant pudding: one vanilla and one coconut. I grilled some fresh pineapple slices for a garnish and added two maraschino cherries on the top of each slice of the cake. HEAVEN!!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Those are awesome substitutes! Glad to hear it worked out and I’m definitely going to try it with coconut pudding next.

  2. Heidy

    This recipe was fantastic! I love coming here and finding delicious recipes my family and friends always love. Have a great day!
    I am looking forward to your following recipe in the newsletter.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Excellent to hear Heidi…I love to share the recipes with those who love to cook!

  3. Hayley Dhanecha

    This was definitely the best pineapple cake I’ve ever made. I’m saving this recipe and sharing it with my mum who loves pineapple in any form. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great to hear…I’m pretty sure your mom will love it too.

  4. Cathleen

    I bought a whole bunch of pineapple cans before I was pregnant only to become allergic to them during my pregnancy!! I still need to use them up, so I am going to make this for my colleagues. I am sure they are going to love it because it looks amazing!!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh no! Well just FYI I was allergic to peaches while pregnant but the allergy eventually went away.

  5. Tristin

    We love pineapple everything so knew we HAD to try this cake (plus the pictures were drool worthy)! This is a new favorite, making again for a bbq next weekend!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Super! It’s a great cake…any day of the week.

  6. Gregory Halpen

    Pineapples are the best! I like how you use boxed cake mix for this recipe. To me, that feels easy on days when I have very little time to bake a family dessert.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      For sure. I encourage anyone to bake, no matter if it’s from scratch or from a box!

  7. Veronika

    This cake looks amazing! So fluffy and light, I gotta make it soon. I’m also team pineapple on pizza, it’s definitely one of my favorite fruits!

    Reply

  8. Natalie

    What a cake! I just loved this tropical, and refreshing cake. My kids love to bake with me, so I always search for new ideas, thanks!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      If you bake together, they’ll for sure love this cake. It’s so much fun to make and eat.

  9. Terri

    I love how easy this cake is! And the pineapple makes it the perfect light and refreshing cake for summer!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Mmm yes. Bring on the backyard summer poke cakes.

  10. Savita

    The recipe for this poke cake is so easy and delicious. The cake looks moist and gorgeous.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So glad you loved this recipe Savita. Thank you for letting me know.

  11. Gloria

    Since I can’t go on a tropical vacation, this is a great way of enjoying the food. What a wonderful cake for outdoor entertaining this summer. I think this just might be on the menu for Father’s Day.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I 100% agree! Bon voyage!

  12. Megan

    Moist, sweet, easy and delicious! My favourite kind of cake. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So glad you enjoyed this cake. Thank you for letting me know Megan.

  13. Amy Liu Dong

    This Pineapple poke cake looks so delicious. Seeing this makes my mouthwatering!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s a treat and the perfect easy weekend bake.

  14. Linda

    So delicious and this cake really transports me to a tropical island instantly!

    Reply

  15. Jacqui

    This is such a genius recipe! The mix of cake crumb, pineapple pudding sauce and whipped cream is divine!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It really is a divine treat! Thanks for stopping by Jacqui.

  16. Addie

    This pineapple cake is so light, fresh and soft! It screams summertime dessert!

    Reply

  17. Peter

    Wow, this cake was delicious. The pineapple and tropical flavor was off the charts, unexpected for a cake! The kids have asked for it to be made again!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That’s the beauty of a poke cake! So glad you all liked it Peter.

  18. Andrea

    this cake is sooo delicious! love how moist it turned out!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Hard to go wrong with a poke cake. Thank you for trying my recipe Andrea.

  19. nancy

    WOW – i’m totally obsessed with this moist and delicious cake!! the flavours literally transports me to a tropical beach!

    Reply

  20. Colleen

    Poke cakes are always delicious, but this pineapple one really has my mouth watering. This cake will be a big hit with my family, too. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Colleen. Poke Cakes are truly a wonderful vintage cake. There’s a reason they have stuck around for so long.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe