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This Hawaiian Wedding Cake is a delicious poke cake oozing with crushed pineapple and coconut bits in every bite and topped with a cool whip frosting.
This recipe, which starts with a cake mix, makes the most delicious, moist cake that’s super light and refreshing yet creamy at the same time like your favorite pina colada!
Easy Hawaiian Poke Cake
My Hawaiian Poke Cake is a summer must-bake!
It’s super easy because it starts off with a simple box of cake mix. From there, Hawaiian Wedding Cake is poked with holes and filled with a delicious pineapple pudding filling that only takes a few minutes to make. Finally, it’s topped off with bananas, coconut and a creamy whipped topping.
Start to finish it’s ready to go in just 40 minutes. This is why it has become my go-to recipe when I’m in a bind and need a dessert that’s quick and easy. Oh… and DELICIOUS!
Why We Love This Recipe
- Piña colada style dessert with coconut and pineapple flavors.
- The perfect cake for a summer party, baby shower, or birthday.
- Light and refreshing fruity flavors.
- Moist cake, bursting with sweet pineapple filling in every bite.
- Creamy whipped topping frosting to finish it off.
- Easy to make using a box cake mix as the base and a basic poke cake recipe.
- Yellow cake mix (plus ingredients on box)
- Crushed pineapple
- Granulated sugar
- Medium bananas
- Instant vanilla pudding
- Cool whip
- Shredded coconut
Variations / Options / Add-ins
- CAKE MIX: You could also use a white box cake mix for this recipe, in fact, many Hawaiian cake recipes call for white cake. When it comes to box cake mix there are so many options for brand and flavor, so go with your favorite!
- WALNUTS: Feel free to leave the walnuts off, though they do add a nice crunch! You could also replace them with a different type of nut, such as pecans.
- COCONUT: You could use coconut flakes in place of shredded coconut.
- WHIPPED TOPPING: You can use your favorite brand of whipped topping and you can swap out for fat-free or low fat. You could even make your own, using my homemade whipped cream recipe!
SEE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD BELOW
How to Make Hawaiian Wedding Cake Recipe
This is a super easy cake to make, made even easier by the use of a box cake mix. It only takes about 40 minutes from start to finish, and most of that is bake time! This is a go-to recipe if you’re in a bind and need a quick dessert.
- Bake the cake according to the box instructions.
Pro-tip: Mix the egg, oil, and water in your large bowl prior to adding your dry cake mix. This will ensure that you do not over-mix your cake batter and make for a more tender cake.
- Heat the pineapple and sugar.
- Poke holes in your baked cake and pour the pineapple mixture over the cake. Let the cake cool completely.
Pro-Tip: It’s best to make the holes in the cake while it is still slightly warm because as it cools, the crust on top of the cake will crumble more easily.
When you’re pouring the cream into the holes, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make sure the cream fills the holes completely.
- Place banana slices over the cooled cake.
- Make the vanilla pudding mix and spread over top of the bananas.
- Spread cool whip over the pudding.
- Sprinkle the cake with toasted coconut and walnuts.
Pro-tip: To toast your coconut and walnuts, place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and bake at 400 degrees for about 3-5 minutes. Keep a close eye on this so that it does not burn. You can also use a dry skillet on medium-high heat and toast the coconut for 3 minutes, and repeat again for the walnuts.
You can garnish each slice with an additional dollop of whipped topping and a maraschino cherry. It looks really nice served this way, especially for an occasion!
Fridge: Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. This cake needs to stay cold to keep it fresh and moist. If possible, it’s also best to store it without the garnishes, because they will get a bit soggy.
Freezer: This cake can be frozen for up to 3 months, covered tightly in plastic wrap.
Frequently Asked Questions
Poke cakes, as the name suggests, are cakes that have holes poked in them. The holes are poked right after baking and then filled with a liquid such as pudding or jello. In this case, the filling is made with the crushed pineapple and sugar mixture.
I like to use the back of a wooden spoon to make holes that are a bit bigger, but you can also simply use a fork. If using a fork you will want to make more pokes, since the holes are smaller.
Other Easy Poke Cake Recipes
Hawaiian Wedding Cake
- 1 box Yellow cake mix (make according to package instructions-usually includes egg(s), oil & water. I used Betty Crocker brand.)
- 20 oz can crushed pineapple
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 medium sized bananas sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 5.1 oz box Vanilla INSTANT pudding made according to package directions (usually requires 3cups cold milk-follow the 5 minute pudding directions)
- 8 ounce container Cool whip thawed
- ½ cup sweet shredded coconut lightly toasted
- ½ cup walnuts chopped and lightly toasted
- Preheat oven to 350°F or according to box cake mix directions.
- Spray a 9×13 pan with baker’s spray and then bake cake mix as directed.Pro-Tip: Mix the egg, oil, and water in your bowl prior to adding your cake’s dry ingredients. This will ensure that you do not over-mix your cake batter and makes for a more tender cake.
- While the cake is baking in a medium sauce pan on medium heat, heat the pineapple and sugar just until the sugar dissolves.
- When the cake is done baking, remove the baking pan from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.Pro-Tip: It’s best to make the holes in the cake while it is still slightly warm because as it cools, the crust on top of the cake will crumble more easily.
- Pour the pineapple mixture over the cake. Spread the pineapple mixture evenly over the cake then allow to cool on the counter for 30 minutes.Pro-Tip: When you’re pouring the mixture into the holes, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make sure the cream fills the holes completely.
- Place banana slices in a single layer over the cooled cake.
- Make the instant pudding as directed and spread over bananas. Spread Cool Whip over pudding mixture.
- Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and nuts.Pro-tip: To toast your coconut and walnut, line a small cookie sheet with parchment and put it in a 400°F oven for about 3 to 5 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on this so that it does not burn. You can use a dry skillet on medium-high heat to toast the coconut for 3 minutes, pour into a bowl, place the walnuts in the skillet, then repeat. You can garnish each slice with an additional squirt of whipped topping and a maraschino cherry.
- Refrigerate assembled cake 1 to 2 hours prior to slicing and serving. This helps the cake set up.Pro-Tip: If I’m not serving the cake immediately, I tend to wait to put on the garnishes so that they will stay fresh and crunchy and not go stale.
Excited to try this recipe for guests tonight. Needed something quick and easy. I’m sure it’ll be a big hit!
In Hawaiian Wedding Cake, see step 5 pro-tip: “as you’re pouring the cream into the holes of the cake” you meant the pineapple/sugar mix, right?
Thank you, Catherine!! Yes, it was a typo in the recipe card!! Fixed – thank you for letting me know!!
It’s confusing because there are 2 different instructions on when to poke holes – while it is still slightly warm & remove from the oven and immediately poke holes.
I’d suggest using Macadamia Nuts to make it more Hawaiian.
This would be delish as a layer cake w/ a Pina Colada Mousse Filling & a Pina Colada Mock Whip Frosting. Mock Whip Frostings are the texture of whipped cream, super delish, not icky sweet, & quick to make. We make Tropical Carrot Cakes w/ Pina Colada Mock Whip Frostings to complement the pineapple & coconut in the cake.
I am going to try it. It sounds terrific.