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Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you “poke” holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

A slice of cake on a plate, with Pudding and Coconut

I had never heard of poke cake until right before I made this. I actually had to look it up on wikipedia. The explanation is simple – you poke the cake to let something wonderful fill the holes. No one likes a dry cake, so here’s how you make the ultimate moist cake. This was one of my favorite cakes I’ve ever made. Don’t get me wrong – I love to make homemade cakes from scratch. But we don’t always have the time nor the desire to do so. the next best option, in my opinion, are the Trader Joe’s cake mixes. In true TJ’s fashion, they don’t offer a ton of options, but their vanilla cake mix is out of this world delicious… and easy.

Trader Joe\'s vanilla cake mix box

Just look at those beautiful specs of vanilla bean. You know I’m a lover of all things vanilla.

looking down at baked vanilla cake in pan

A wooden spoon works great, but all of my wooden spoons have rectangular handles instead of round, and I’m such a freak in the kitchen I couldn’t handle odd shaped holes in my cake, so I found my silicon brush and it worked perfectly. My OCD almost got in the way of me poking that first whole in this beautiful cake, but once the first one went in, my destructive side had fun and went to down with the whole poking. I actually wish I had put twice as many wholes as I did below so that there would be even more pudding in each bite of the cake.

vanilla cake in pan with holes punched into it for a poke cake recipes

For you to be able to enjoy this recipe like I did, you must make a batch of homemade coconut pudding. Sure you could use any kind of store bought pudding, but then you wouldn’t feel the sheer and utter joy I did. And believe me, you’ll want to.

creamy coconut topping getting added to vanilla cake

After I spread the coconut pudding filled with tiny little specs of sweetened toasted coconut into all the holes, I topped with even more sweetened toasted coconut. Wouldn’t you want to do the same thing? I thought yes, so I did.

Two images of coconut poke cake, one with a creamy pudding topping and the other with toasted coconut

In my opinion, frosting can either make or break a cake. More times than not, it is too sweet and/or fatty and you end up feeling sick after devouring a piece. That’s why I fell in love with this cake. The pudding combined with the cake was the perfect balance of sweet and creamy. My kids freaking loved it too (shocking, I know).

A slice of coconut poke cake on plate

So the next time you get signed up to bring a dessert to a summer potluck because your last name starts with M-Z, make everyone happy by bringing this Coconut Pudding Poke Cake!

a bite of coconut pudding poke cake on fork

This recipe uses pure vanilla extract. Did you know you can make your own homemade vanilla extract? It makes the perfect gift too. Watch how in the video below.

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”LExWqseM” upload-date=”2016-11-14T18:54:41.000Z” name=”Self Proclaimed Foodie – Homemade Vanilla Extract” description=”Making your own homemade vanilla extract is not only easy to do, but it smells and tastes wonderful, makes the perfect gift, and the beans can still be used once you’re done!” player-type=”default” override-embed=”default”]

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Coconut Pudding Poke Cake

Prep40 minutes
Cook40 minutes
Total1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 9 servings
Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you "poke" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.



  • 1 box Vanilla Cake mix I used Trader Joe's
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter melted
  • 1 cup milk


  • 2 cups coconut pudding see link in notes
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut
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  • To bake the cake, follow the directions on the box. You can substitute any other cake mix, but be aware that the Trader Joe's brand makes an 8x8x2 cake, where as big brand cake mixes often make a 9x13x2, so you will either have extra cake batter or you will have less pudding to cake ratio.
  • Make homemade coconut pudding according to the post instructions. Mix half of the toasted coconut into the cooled pudding and reserve the other half.
  • Using the handle of a wooden spoon (or something similar), poke holes that are about an inch apart in your cooled cake. Spread cooled pudding over cake. Top with remaining toasted coconut. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Cut into 9 squares while in pan and serve.


Calories: 386kcal, Carbohydrates: 54g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 599mg, Potassium: 111mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 412IU, Calcium: 166mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this? Leave me a comment below

Coconut Pudding Poke Cake is so moist and perfectly sweet because you \"poke\" holes into the cake to enable the homemade coconut pudding to be in each bite.

Hi! I’m Krissy.

I love to create the BEST versions of your favorite recipes. If you love to cook, love to eat, or just have a deep appreciation for good food, you're in the right place! Stick around... I have hundreds of recipes for you to make.

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  1. This cake has too much crunchy coconut on top. I put the coconut in my food processor to add to cake batter, added coconut flavoring to a traditional vanilla cake mix. Poked the cake & poured pudding over it then chilled, topped with cool whip and sprinkled more food processed coconut on top. Not

    1. I love it when people vary the recipe because that’s how I’ve always cooked! Your method sounds great… except I’m not a fan of cool whip. – Krissy

    1. If you pour the “warm” coconut pudding over the warm cake it will spread more of the moist delicious pudding throughout the cake. I like to make my cakes from scratch.