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Coconut Poke Cake

This coconut poke cake is an easy and delicious way to dress up a box of cake mix! Add sweetened coconut flakes to the cake mix and poke holes all over the baked cake. Pour a sweet and syrupy mixture of condensed milk and cream of coconut over it to make it ooey-gooey. Then, top the whole thing with whipped topping and more shredded coconut. Get ready to watch this baby disappear!

A slice of coconut poke cake with cream of coconut, cool whip, and shredded coconut.

This coconut poke cake is an old-school recipe. It’s been showing up at church dinners and potlucks in the South for decades. And for good reason. It’s easy, crowd-pleasing, and oh-so-tasty. It’s the perfect take-along cake, especially in spring. Bring one to a friend, make one when someone needs cheering up, or make it for Easter dessert!

Make this easy coconut poke cake in a 9×13 pan, and refrigerate leftovers (if there are any).


White cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water, sweetened shredded coconut, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, and whipped topping.

Your favorite boxed white cake mix. Any brand will work! 

Eggs, oil, and water for the cake.

Mix sweetened condensed milk with cream of coconut to make a sweet and syrupy concoction. It gets absorbed into the cake. It makes it wet and almost pudding-like. It’s dreamy. You need to use sweetened real cream of coconut like Coco Lopez. Not coconut cream. It will either be in the baking aisle or with the cocktail mixers. It’s the same stuff used to make Pina Coladas

Sweetened coconut flakes or sweetened shredded coconut gets into the cake batter. It’s also used as a topping. You’re looking for the kind with added sugar. It will be in the baking aisle. 

Whipped topping such as Cool Whip adds a light and creamy frosting. You could use a stabilized whipped cream. But the whipped topping holds up well, won’t melt into the cake, and keeps this recipe ridiculously easy!

How to Make a Coconut Poke Cake

Preheat the oven to 350℉ and grease a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.

Add the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, and half the coconut to a large mixing bowl. Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to mix the batter, then pour it into the pan and bake it until a toothpick comes out clean.

Meanwhile make the coconut milk concoction that goes in this glorious cake. Mix the cream of coconut and condensed milk together and set it aside.

When the cake is done, poke holes all over it. You can use a fork or the blunt end of a chopstick. Do this while it’s still warm. Once they holes have been poked, pour the coconut milk mixture over it.

Let the cake cool. The coconut milk mixture will absorb as it cools. Once it’s cool, frost it with whipped topping. Then sprinkle it with the rest of the coconut.

A slice of coconut poke cake on a plate.

Serve it now, or refrigerate it until ready to serve. Leftovers should be refrigerated.

How to Serve a Coconut Poke Cake

Bring it to a potluck, a church dinner, or someone who needs cheer. It’s a great treat to bring to someone who has just had a baby or someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. 

The pretty, fluffy white topping looks so clean and beautiful. It makes this cake perfect to serve at a spring dinner. It’s even good enough to serve for Easter after enjoying a pineapple glazed ham!

It’s so easy to make that you don’t need a special occasion. Make this simple poke cake anytime you get a craving!

A bite of gooey wet coconut cake on a fork.

More Easy Desserts

A plate of gooey wet coconut cake.

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Coconut Poke Cake

A slice of coconut poke cake with cream of coconut, cool whip, and shredded coconut.

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Old-fashioned coconut poke cake made with boxed white cake mix, sweetened coconut flakes, cream of coconut, and whipped topping. Gooey and delicious!

  • Author: Mandi
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • plus time to cool the cake:
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 15 servings 1x
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Southern


Units Scale
  • 1 box of white cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 7-ounce bag of sweetened coconut flakes, divided in half
  • 1 15ounce can of cream of coconut*
  • 1 14ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 8ounce tub of whipped topping (thawed)


Preheat the oven to 350℉

  1. Use cooking spray or Bakers Joy to lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan. 
  2. Add the cake mix, eggs, water, vegetable oil, and half of the coconut flakes to a large mixing bowl. Mix on low with a hand mixer until moistened. Then, mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared 9×13 pan. Bake at 350℉ for 22-27 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Add the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk to a mixing bowl and stir them together. 
  5. Poke holes all over the still-warm cake with a fork or the blunt end of a chopstick. Then, pour the cream of coconut and milk mixture over the cake. Allow the cake to completely cool and the coconut milk mixture to absorb into the cake.
  6. Once the cake is completely cool, frost it with the whipped topping. Then, sprinkle with the remaining coconut flakes.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


You can make this cake a day ahead. Store it in the refrigerator.



  • Serving Size: 1/15 of cake
  • Calories: 476
  • Sugar: 41.3 g
  • Sodium: 194.5 mg
  • Fat: 21.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 66.9 g
  • Fiber: 1.3 g
  • Protein: 5.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 49.6 mg

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    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Yes, it needs to be refrigerated because of the cool whip and sweetened condensed milk. 🙂 I think it gets even better after a night in the fridge!

  1. Could I do it without a stand mixer or do you think it wouldn’t be the same? I could build more muscles doing it by hand!

    1. Hi Mare,
      You can absolutely mix it by hand. Use a sturdy whisk to make sure it gets well mixed. This cake is very forgiving 🙂

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