Shortcut Coconut Cream Cake (Poke Cake)

This 🥥 Shortcut Coconut Cream Cake is a light and fluffy coconut cake packed full of coconut flavor! A classic vanilla cake, poked with holes, soaked in coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk. Frosted with fresh cream and garnished with toasted coconut.
Yesterday was my birthday so it's not out of the ordinary to bake my own Birthday Cake. I usually bake my husband and the kids their favorite cakes on their birthday, so why should it be any different for me. I actually look so forward to picking out and baking up one of my favorites. 

This year my choice was my favorite Shortcut Coconut Cream Cake. This cake is so easy but yet so tasty. It reminds me a bit of a Tres Leches Cake but with coconut. This cake only requires two milks, sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut versus three milks for the Tres leches cake

If you have trouble finding the cream of coconut, try looking in the section where the alcohol drink mixes are sold. I found mine at Walmart near the margarita and daiquiri bottle mixes.  If  you cannot find cream of coconut, I have used coconut mil but only the Thai Kitchen brand which is thicker. If you cant find it at you local grocer you could probably find it at a store that sells alcoholic beverages.

This recipe also utilizes a cake mix earning it's title Shortcut Coconut Cream Cake. I love doctoring up cake mixes, sometimes in the end you cant even tell a cake mix used. I know this is a pretty simple cake, but this is the cake that I wanted for my birthday. I hope you enjoy this recipe and I have a question for you. Does anyone else bake their own birthday cake?

Yield: 12
Author: Tina Butler | Mommy's Kitchen
Shortcut Coconut Cream Poke Cake

Shortcut Coconut Cream Poke Cake

This Shortcut Coconut Cream Poke Cake is a light and fluffy coconut cake packed full of coconut flavor! A classic vanilla cake, poked with holes, soaked in coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk. Frosted with fresh cream and garnished with toasted coconut.
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M


  • 1 white or french vanilla cake mix + eggs, oil and water called for on mix
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut, separated
  • 1 (15 oz) cream of coconut or coconut milk (well shaken)
  • 1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 oz)  container whipped topping or whipped cream frosting (see below for recipe and intructions)
Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 1 (16 oz) container heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare and bake the cake as directed on the box using a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Stir in 1/2 cup of sweetened coconut to the batter. After the cake is baked place on a baking rack.
  2. In a medium size bowl, add one can of sweetened condensed milk and one can of cream of coconut. Mix to combine and set aside.
  3. While the cake is still hot, poke holes using a fork or the back of a wooden spoon. Slowly pour the milk mixture on top making sure to aim in all the holes. Let it all the milk mixture soak in.
  4. I pour a little at a time and wait about 5 minuets then pour more of the milk mixture into the cake.
  5. Cool completely and frost with cool whip or use my real cream whipped frosting (recipe below).
  6. Toast the remaining one cup of coconut and sprinkle on top of the cake. Refrigerate cake for at least 2 hours before serving.
  7. Refrigerate any leftovers. 
Instructions for Whipped Cream Frosting
  1. To prepare the whipped cream frosting, start with a cold bowl. I used my Kitchen aid mixer bowl with the whisk attachment, and placed it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove bowl from freezer and add 2 cups heavy cream and set on medium speed. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract.
  3. Whip the cream slowly (this is key and keeps the cream from separating later). Whisk for about 10-15 minutes until the cream begins to ripple (be patient).
  4. Turn the mixer off and finish whisking by hand using a wire whisk until the cream starts to thicken and stick to the whisk. Be careful not to whisk too much or the cream will become clumpy. 
  5. Spread the whipped cream frosting over the entire cake using an offset spatula.


Don't be alarmed if the cream of coconut looks congealed and gray in color. This happens when it sits on the shelf or if it was refrigerated. Mine was stored in the pantry and it looked that way. Just place the can in warm water for about 5 minutes and then give it a good shake and open, then mix with sweetened condensed milk. 

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Lisa Fink said…
I sure did print this recipe and plan to stop at the store on my way home to get all of the ingredients so I can make it this weekend! Happy Birthday to you! I always have to make my own treats too. At least we get what we want that way :)
Jane said…
Your Birthday cake sure looks good! :) It reminds me of my Lemonade cake the way you let the delicious juice mixture soak into the cake. Have a great weekend Tina!
Happy Birthday!! Your cake looks divine! I usually make my own too, so I don't get a store-bought one.
That looks so good! So far, I haven't had to make my own cake (but I've only been married 2 1/2 years...this may change!). My husband has whipped up a homemade cake each year, and has even made sure that he takes my dietary restrictions into account! He's so cute... :-)
Tina Butler said…
The country cook, your dh is so cute. I dont get cakes like that if my hubby makes them. The last one he made me was with the kiddos on my 40 Birthday. It was so funny he baked it and flipped it out of the pan (two round cakes) he then placed them on top of each other so the flat side was up. They both cracked so he shoved frosting all down the middle like glue. It was still funny and cute. The cake continued to crack throughout the day. We wont get into the how the frosting looked, but it definetly was baked with love. My dh says if you want it edible you will have to bake it. LOL
Donna said…
Love it.Coconut cake is my favorite(the frozen square PF) Can not wait to make this one. Can I use light coconut milk instead ?
mommyoffaith19 said…
yummy, I will try this
Edana said…
I always get a cake from a really good bakery, but I make everyone else's cakes for them. I have a friend who LOVES coconut--this might be perfect for her! Happy birthday and thanks for the recipe!
Lynn said…
I have been making this cake for years and I love it. I got the recipe from my mother inlaw. It is so easy and so good!
Lori Anderson said…
This looks delicious! Happy belated birthday Tina! (My birthday was this week too ;)). I found your delicious blog through the BlogFrog community. My kitchen memories are of my grandmother. It's such a special tradition to pass down. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to following you through BlogFrog(I can't wait for the custom community pages next week). Keep up the yummy work!
All the Best, Lori (theBlogFrog)
Margie said…
Cake looks great, Happy Birthday!
Elaine said…
I just made this cake last week for a friends b'day at her request, she bakes my b'day cake. She wanted me to use a chocolate cake mix instead of white. It was yummy, but we both preferred original.
Oklahoma Granny said…
Coconut cake is one of my favorites. This one looks extra yummy!
Leslie said…
Happy Happy Happy Birthday!!! A perfect cake to celebrate YOUR day!
Rhonda said…
Happy birthday! and yes I end up making my own cake too, with endless possibilities. My boys are easy, chocolate usually, though last November it was 2 sock-it-to-me cakes, son (no nuts) always follows dad (with pecans. Will try this out on my mom who loves coconut cake, with the fluffy frosting, lemon filling or the coconut cake that sits for days to blend the sour cream/cool whip into deliciousness. Think she would love this one too.

Seems all the birthday cakes lately only have one candle, I like that idea. And I miss getting the wild flowers from my son.
D Martinez said…
Happy Birthday to you! The cake looks wonderful :)
Rhandi said…
Ha! I tend to do the same thing for my birthday! I love to bake and know I am guaranteed a good birthday cake so why not! Your cake looks and sounds fabulous, I am definitely going to have to remember this recipe.
Michele said…
Oh, that cake looks so moist and delicious! I love coconut. Hope your birthday was great.
Anonymous said…
Happy Belated Birthday!
Yes, I bake my own cake too. :-)
Kathy said…
Hope you had a very happy birthday Tina! Enjoy your delicious cake!
Amanda Bowyer said…
I make my own Birthday cake. My last Birthday I made a chocolate cocnut cream fudge cake! Yummy!!
Your cake sounds really good I might use it for my next Angel Cake if that's ok with you??? I next cake is for a a lady in a nursing home... Amanda
Yummm! Your cake looks really good :) Happy Birthday to you :)
Yep ... I'll be making this one for sure. It just looks and sounds so darn good!

Hope your birthday was fantastic!
Pam said…
We share a birthday! Only I'm old enough to be your mom. My daughter brought me flowers too. I bought my cake at Costco. Love their cakes with the chocolate mousse filling so I thought my birthday was a good excuse to buy one. Usually I am the one known for baking cakes. Your coconut cake looks great - will have to try it sometime. Hope you had a wonderful birthday.
Unknown said…
Happy, Happy Birthday to you!!!! My bday is the 19th and yes if I want a cake I must do it myself. My husband can cook but he can't bake.....this recipe looks fantastic. I can't wait to try it and your coconut cream pie too.
Aggie said…
Oh Happy Belated Birthday my friend! So sorry I missed it! I baked my own cake this year too, a pineapple-coconut upside down cake!

This cake looks unbelievable. My favorite kind of cake. I'm a sucker for coconut!
Ingrid_3Bs said…
Happy Birthday!
The JR said…
Happy late b'day. Your cake looks fantastic.
Monica Alonzo said…
Thanks so much for this recipe! I made it for Mother's Day and it was absolutely delicious! I've tried several of your recipes and I've never been disappointed!
Anonymous said…
It looks so yummy I would like a piece right now. And yes, if I want a birthday cake, I have to bake my own.
Anonymous said…
Happy Birthday! Hope it's a happy one! And Yes I always make my own birthday cake. It's almost a treat because I love to cook and am giving something to myself!
Truckin said…
I have been making this cake for years, with a twist, I take a small can of crushed pineapple and add the liquid from it to the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk, before I pour it on the cake and put the crushed pineapple on top of the cake, before I chill it overnight. Then put the cool whip and coconut on top, just before serving. We call it a pina colada cake, LOL!
Candi said…
YUM! One of my most favorite cakes. A lady I worked with years ago shared this recipe with me. It's always a crowd pleaser!
Anonymous said…
My mom makes this every year at Easter, and it is AMAZING. I can't wait until Sunday, lol!
Unknown said…
Coconut Cake is a favorite with my family. I can't wait to try making this one. It looks so moist and delicious.
Anonymous said…
I am making this cake now, it is in the oven. Yes, I do sometimes make my own birthday cake. Don't worry about the number of candles on the cake, just be glad you have someone to enjoy it with you!
Unknown said…
I love coconut!!!! I will be sending my husband to Walmart first thing in the morning to get the cream of coconut!!! I have all the other things I need in my pantry! <3 Thank you for sharing this recipe!
Anonymous said…
I've made this recipe and it comes out Fantastic. So full of the coconut flavor.
Anonymous said…
I have made this for years but i don't use the condenseed sweetened milk I just poor the cream of coconut over the cake in the holes. This is delish.
Unknown said…
This is my favorite cake also.
Unknown said…

Hope your Birthday was a delight!

My husband will LOVE this recipe! I'll make cupcakes. He will eat a few and I will freeze the rest.

I wish I could eat this, yet due to the sweetened condensed milk! It's out for me. I know of no non-dairy substitute for sweetened condensed milk, does anyone else?

Happy baking!
Michelle said…
This is my favorite cake for my Birthday too, and yes I bake my own cake. The only difference between your recipe and mine, is that I use a Yellow cake mix, and for my frosting I combine Cream Cheese with the Cool Whip, and use some of the Cream of Coconut to flavor the frosting as well. Nothing better than this (chilled) cake on a hot summer day.
Lois said…
Thank You Thank You Thank You
This is one of the best cakes I've ever tasted. It's like cake and pie all rolled together.
Unknown said…
can you tell me where you can get the cream of coconut? I live in the midwest and cannot find it anywhere.
Unknown said…
How much cream cheese and cream of coconut do you add?
Ginger said…
I made this cake a couple of weeks ago and my family LOVED it. I did make a few adjustments though. I used a yellow butter cake mix because I had that already on hand. When I made the batter I used pineapple juice in place of the water called for on the box and I stirred in some of the shredded coconut into the batter. Also, I used the can of cream of coconut but mixed it with only 1/2 of the can of sweetened condensed milk. This cake was awesome !!! My son is already asking me to make it again but this time I will try it with the french vanilla cake mix and maybe another time will try the pineapple cake mix.
Anonymous said…
This is a moist and flavorful cake. Does it have to be refrigerated? Or can I leave covered on counter?
Tina Butler said…
Yes you need to refrigerate any leftovers because it uses whipped topping.