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Hawaiian Poke Cake

This decadent Hawaiian cake is about to be your new favorite…

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There’s nothing fancy or technical about a poke cake. A poke cake is simply one that has holes poked into it to allow for frosting or toppings to seep deep into the cake itself, adding both moisture and of course big time flavor. There’s a million and one ways to make a poke cake, but we’re feeling a bit tropical these days – must be the warmer weather – and want something that with each bite reminds us of warm breezes and sandy beaches.

Hawaiian poke cake couldn’t be simpler, and we love the citrusy freshness that oozes into every bite. Topped with a cool and creamy whipped topping with crunch from toasted nuts and sweet coconut flakes, this cake is a dessert lovers dream. Store bought supplies help to make this a pretty easy cake to whip up, and with a little finesse, it looks scratch made and tastes extra delicious, perfect for a bake sale or office party, even a pot luck dessert. It has just the right amount of fancy and all the right amount of goodness in each bite.

Don’t expect to have any leftovers! When a cake looks and tastes this good, no one will be able to resist. We think it’s pretty fun to jazz up store bought cake mix, and a poke cake is a great way to do just that. Enter our Hawaiian poke cake, with great pineapple and coconut flavor topped with toasted macadamia nuts, for that added tropical flare. It isn’t the same as being on a tropical isle, but it sure does make our taste buds think we’re on vacation!

Yield(s): Serves 10-12

1 hour

Rated 4.7 out of 5
Rated by 82 reviewers
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  • 1 (16.25 oz) box French Vanilla cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 (3.4 oz) coconut instant pudding mix
  • 1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, juices reserved
  • 4 cups half-and-half
  • 1 (16 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 (7 oz) package sweetened shredded coconut
  • Optional: ½ cup macadamia nuts, toasted and rough chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Drain crushed pineapple, reserving juices, and set aside. Pour reserved pineapple juice into measuring cup, then fill with water up to 1 cup.
  3. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions, using reserved pineapple water mixture.
  4. Pour batter into baking dish and bake 25-30 minutes.
  5. In a separate bowl, whip pudding packets with half and half until just thickened.
  6. Remove cake from oven and, with handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes over cake. Pour half of pudding mixture over warm cake. Add reserved pineapple to remaining pudding mixture and stir, then pour over top of cake.
  7. Chill in refrigerator until set.
  8. If using, place macadamia nuts on a baking sheet and toast in 350°F oven for 5-7 minutes. Rough chop when cooled and set aside.
  9. For frosting: stir thawed whipped frosting until smooth. Add a dollop to top of each slice.
  10. Sprinkle with shredded coconut (and chopped macadamia nuts, if using). Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to eat. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Melissa's Southern Style Kitchen