If there is one thing I love about a poke cake it is that it is never dry! Poke cakes are fool-proof and generally pretty easy to throw together. I’ve never met a poke cake I didn’t like.
what is a poke cake?
If you are new to our blog you might be wondering what a poke cake is. A poke cake is made by poking holes in a cake after it is baked and then pouring a liquid or filling into the holes so you have delicious flavor in every bite. Typical fillings for poke cakes are jello, pureed fruit, pudding, cream, or my favorite – sweetened condensed milk.
How to make a poke cake
This Sheet Pan Hawaiian Poke Cake is full of pineapple and coconut flavor, which makes it perfect for summer potlucks and barbecues. I made this cake for our first barbecue of the season and I think people liked the cake more than they liked the actual meal!
I started this poke cake by using a yellow boxed cake mix. If you have a homemade sheet cake recipe that you prefer, you could definitely use that but with all the flavor you add in the filling a boxed mix won’t disappoint.
Most boxed cake mixes are made to fit in a 9×13-inch pan, so I adjusted the cook time to allow it to fill a half sheet pan (13″x18″1″). After it was done baking and had cooled, I used a fork to poke holes all over the entire cake. Some people prefer to use the end of a spoon handle to make larger holes, but where this is a thinner cake, I think using a fork works better so you don’t alter the integrity of the cake itself.
To make the filling I used a can of sweetened condensed milk, juice from a can of crushed pineapple (saving the crushed pineapple for later) and cream of coconut. I’ll be honest, the texture of the cream of coconut seemed a little unappealing but it was absolutely worth it for the flavor! Don’t let the consistency of the cream of coconut scare you away. I whisked the ingredients together until it was as smooth as I could get it. The cream of coconut isn’t completely smooth, so there will be a few lumps and that is totally fine. Pour the mixture over your cake, being sure to get it in all of the holes.
Next, I spread the crushed pineapple I had reserved over the top of the cake. If the pineapple juice is enough flavor for you, you could leave this step out but I am a pineapple fanatic so I used every last bit of that pineapple. At this point, you can place your cake in the fridge while you make the flavored cream topping.
I will tell you right now, if you even think about making this cake with Cool Whip instead of whipping cream that I will hunt you down. This flavored whipped cream is so light and fluffy that it is the icing on the cake…literally. To make the topping, I beat some heavy whipping cream with coconut extract and powdered sugar to thicken it up a little bit. It is literally heaven on earth. Once it was nice and fluffy I spread it on my cake in a nice even layer.
If coconut’s not your thing, don’t worry about sprinkling it on top but I think the added coconut flavor is just right. I like to make this cake earlier in the day and then keep it in my fridge so the cake can soak up all that goodness like a sponge. I swear this cake just gets better with time. I should know, I ate the whole pan in a matter of days and it literally got better each and every day. I’m not proud of myself, but I would do it again.
So there you have it! Serve it up for your friends, family, neighbors or anyone that you want to impress. If you make one cake this summer, make sure it is this Sheet Pan Hawaiian Poke Cake. You can thank me later….in the form of more sheet cake, please.
poke cakes of every flavor
We are pretty seasoned when it comes to poke cakes. I’m sure that you’ll try this Hawaiian Poke Cake and be hooked, so after you devour that try a few of my other favorites: