Pina Colada Poke Cake adds a fun twist to a standard sheet cake, using a creamy vanilla or rum filling, the convenience of a box cake mix, and the flavor combination of pineapple and coconut, resembling the tropical Pina Colada cocktail!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with baking spray, set aside.
In a large bowl, add the cake mix, crushed pineapple, oil, and eggs. With an electric hand mixer, mix on low for 30 seconds to combine. Place on medium speed and whip for 2 minutes.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out the top. Bake for 29-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Using a fork, gently poke holes all over the cake. Try not to crumble the top of the cake the best you can.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and vanilla extract. Pour all over the cake. Let it sit until completely cooled and the liquid is absorbed.
To make the topping, place the pudding mix into a large bowl. Add the milk and whisk to combine until it starts to thicken.
Fold in the whipped topping until there are no streaks left. Fold in the well-drained crushed pineapple. Smooth over the cake.
Top with toasted coconut and serve.
Don't Overstir. Avoid over-stirring the cake batter; otherwise, you can end up with a dense cake.
Baking Time Can Vary. The baking time can change if you've opted to make this poke cake with gluten-free cake mix. Ovens also differ, so if you aren't sure whether the cake base is adequately cooked, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. The toothpick should come out moist but clean. If it comes out with batter, it needs more baking time.
To Chill or Not To Chill. This poke cake can be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled, straight from refrigeration storage. I’ve tried both options and love it either way.
Be Patient. Wait for the baked cake base to cool sufficiently before adding the filling; otherwise, the filling can become overly runny instead of luxuriously thick.
Make Ahead. If you'd like to make this poke cake in advance, consider baking the cake base, pouring the filling over it, and then storing it in an airtight container in the fridge. The cake will absorb the creamy filling while it sits, increasing the flavor of this poke cake. You can then top the cake just before serving.
Crumbling. Since this cake is so moist, it does run the risk of crumbling when served. Be gentle when lifting the individual slices out of the baking tray for presentation's sake.
Storing Leftovers. Store leftover cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This is good served cold or room temperature.
Freezing. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Substitution. If you can’t find cream of coconut or don’t want to use it, substitute one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk.