White plate with cream of coconut poke cakes, Christmas tree in the background.
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Cream of Coconut Poke Cake

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Last Updated on January 20, 2024 by Allison Lancaster

This cream of coconut poke cake is such an easy dessert to make! Made with a box cake mix and a few simple ingredients, your guests will never believe you didn’t spend hours in the kitchen baking this coconut poke cake from scratch!

I have a confession: I love ALL things coconut (especially coconut cake). I could probably sit and eat a bowl of coconut flakes as a snack. Seriously, that’s how much I love coconut. For some reason, I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the idea of baking a coconut cake though. I don’t know why, but I have put off making a coconut cake for years because it just seemed like such a big undertaking. 

White plate with cream of coconut poke cakes, Christmas tree in the background.

​No need for coconut extract or a fancy layer cake to get your fix, coconut lovers. This is the best coconut cake recipe you’ll find and it uses simple ingredients (hello, box mix) you can easily find at a grocery store to make the perfect coconut cake for a baby shower, holiday celebration, or just to enjoy after a long week. Coconut cream poke cake… just the name makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?

​This easy coconut cake recipe is often called a pantry cake because you can keep most of the ingredients in your pantry. Then whenever you have a craving for a coconut cake, or you need to make a dessert and don’t have time to run to the store to gather ingredients. 

This easy coconut cake recipe is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves coconut. Perfect for serving during the holidays, or at a summer BBQ, it is an all-around delicious and flavorful cake that is great year-round! 

White plate with four cream of coconut poke cakes, Christmas tree in the background.

Cream of Coconut Poke Cake Ingredients & Substitutions:

Boxed White Cake Mix – Vanilla cake mix can also be used. I don’t recommend yellow box cake as this can affect the color of the cake which is intended to be white. 

Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk – If you don’t have this specific brand of sweetened condensed milk, use one that you know and is good quality. 

Cream of Coconut – Don’t use anything else other than cream of coconut. Not coconut milk, and especially not coconut water!

Whipped Topping – Allow this to thaw in the fridge for easy spreading over the cake. 

Shredded Coconut – Sweetened or unsweetened depending on your preference.

How to Make Cream of Coconut Poke Cake Recipe

  • First, visit the baking aisle and pick out your favorite white boxed cake mix. Preheat the oven then prepare it according to the box instructions. Easy enough so far, right?
  • Pop the cake into the preheated oven. You’ll want to make sure the cake batter is cooked all the way through by making sure a knife or cake tester comes out clean when you poke it.
  • I used these adorable snowflake molds to make my cakes this time- they are so festive and fun. However, normally I would just use a 9×13″ rectangle glass dish for the cake. You can also use round cake pans or any other configuration you like!
  •  As soon as the cake is out of the oven, take a fork and start poking holes in the warm cake. Yes, holes. Poke them everywhere- especially around the edges for even coverage. This is step is important!
  •  Next, leave the cake to cool on a cooling rack. You can leave it in your pan. 
  • I removed the snowflakes from the mold and cooled them on a wire rack because they were easier to handle that way. I’m also not going to serve them in the molds.
  •  Now the fun begins! Mix 1/2 cup of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk with 1 1/3 cups of cream of coconut. Make sure you use cream of coconut. Not coconut milk. Not coconut water. Or anything else other than cream of coconut!
  •  Pour the coconut mixture over the top of your cake. Making sure the whole cake is saturated.
  • Although we set the simple coconut cake aside to cool, it can still be warm during this process. I have tried both ways and the process worked just fine either way.
  •  Cover and place the airtight container in the refrigerator for a couple of hours (at least 3 hours). For best results, let the cake rest overnight.
  •  Once you have let the cream of coconut mixture infuse into your cake, it’s time to add your “icing”. Make sure that you use thawed (leave it in the fridge overnight) cool whip topping with a rubber spatula to evenly spread the frosting.
  •  Sprinkle shredded coconut over the top of the frosted cake and enjoy! 


This cream of coconut poke cake is delicious enough to enjoy alone, but you could also serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a mug of warm eggnog!

How To Store Cream of Coconut Poke Cake

Store leftover cream of coconut poke cake in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Recipe FAQ’s:

What’s the difference between coconut water, coconut milk, cream of coconut, and coconut cream? 

Coconut water is the clear juice that is found inside of the coconut. It does have a coconut flavor, and many health benefits. Coconut milk is the opaque white juice or “milk” that is extracted from the grated pulp of mature coconuts. 
Cream of coconut is a mixture of sugar and coconut pulp, in fact, it’s the main ingredient of a perfect pina colada. Coconut cream is really just coconut milk with extra coconut solids which makes it easy to whip into a high-fat, thick, creamy substance. 

Can you substitute cream of coconut with coconut cream?

Not for this recipe, and probably not for any recipe, because they are different ingredients. The cream of coconut is sweet and syrupy, and coconut cream is thick and not very sweet at all. 

Can you use homemade whipped cream for the frosting?

While you can make homemade whipped cream for the frosting of this cake it is not the best choice for this recipe. Homemade whipped cream can separate which may cause your beautiful cake to fall apart. The store bought whipped cream is a little more stable and will work best for this coconut cake. 

Where do you find cream of coconut?

Cream of coconut is often found on the aisle with alcoholic drink mixers because people use it to make pina Coladas. It does not contain any alcohol, that is just where many stores keep it. If you don’t find it there, try the Asian food aisle.

Do I have to use a fork to poke holes in the cake?

Of course not! If you have made a poke cake before you know that there are lots of different ways to make holes in your cake. You can use the handle of a wooden spoon, skewers, a toothpick, or a fork. Just make sure your cake has plenty of holes so that the liquid can soak in thoroughly to make a deliciously moist cake.

Can I use a yellow box cake mix? 

Of course! Some people don’t find the yellow box cake to be as visually appealing as the white cake, but the flavor is still going to be delicious and coconut! Use what you have on hand! 

Can you use a homemade white cake recipe? 

Yes, if you have a favorite homemade white cake recipe then you can absolutely make a white sheet cake from scratch. After you have baked it, poke your holes and follow the rest of the recipe as written.

How do I give this cake even more coconut flavor?

If you want to give your coconut cake even more coconut flavor, you can replace the water that the white cake mix calls for with coconut milk. Use the same amount of coconut milk as the directions call for water. This cake is delicious either way, so if you don’t have coconut milk on hand your cake will still be amazing. 

Can I toast the coconut for the top of the cake?

If you like toasted coconut flakes, then sure, go ahead and toast them in the oven for a few minutes before you put them on the top of the cake. 

More Coconut Treats You’ll Love

I hope you enjoy this cream of coconut poke cake! If you try it, please come back and leave me a comment letting me know how you liked it. And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I love hearing from you!

Cream of Coconut Poke Cake Recipe:

White plate with four cream of coconut poke cakes, Christmas tree in the background.

The Easiest Coconut Cake Recipe Ever

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 25 minutes

Cream of Coconut Poke Cake is a sweet and light coconut cake with sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut that has soaked through each cake for maximum flavor! Top it with whipped topping and shredded coconut for the perfect holiday treat!


  • 1 Boxed White Cake Mix
  • 1/2 Cup of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 1/3 Cup of Cream Of Coconut
  • 1 16 oz Tub of Whipped Topping
  • 2 Cups of Shredded Coconut


    1. Prepare Cake Mix According to Instructions on Box
    2. Bake Cake Mix
    3. Remove from Oven and poke holes all over the cake with a fork
    4. Mix cream of coconut and Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk together in a bowl
    5. Pour mixture over cake
    6. Refrigerate for 3 hours (over night is preferable)
    7. Ice with whipped topping and sprinkle shredded coconut over the top
    8. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 411Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 130mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 33gProtein: 4g

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