This Strawberry Poke Cake with sweetened condensed milk is moist and delicious and bursting with strawberries and cream flavor. The bright pink color and shredded coconut make it the perfect spring dessert.
Strawberry cake is a classic dessert that many people love. It's a delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth, and there are many different ways to make it.
One delicious way to enjoy a strawberry cake is to bake a strawberry cake mix. Then add sweetened condensed milk, and top it with whipped cream and coconut. This process makes it very similar to a strawberry tres leches cake.
This recipe is actually just a slight variation of this chocolate coconut cake. That one is loaded with chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, and coconut and cream.
Why You Will Love this Strawberry Cake
- Easy to make. Using a strawberry cake mix and a few extra store bought ingredients keeps the prep time to a minimum.
- Delicious to Eat - This cake takes on a strawberries and cream flavor with the flavored cake mix, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream.
- Crowd Favorite - Whether you're celebrating a birthday, hosting a party, or just want a sweet treat, this strawberry poke cake is a crowd-pleaser.
Strawberry poke cake with sweetened condensed milk is the perfect spring or summer dessert. Serve it for Easter dinner or family potlucks and barbecues and watch it disappear.
What is a poke cake?
A poke cake is a baked cake that has been poked all over with a fork or a wooden spoon handle while it is still hot. Then liquids like Jello, pudding, or sweetened condensed milk are poured over the cake creating a very moist and delicious cake.
This strawberry poke cake without Jello is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients from the store.
- Strawberry Cake Mix - Feel free to use your favorite brand. Substitute milk for the liquid that the box mix calls for.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - You will need one full can. Make sure you do not buy evaporated milk as they are two very different things.
- Cream of Coconut - Has a rich, creamy, and slightly sweet flavor that adds a tropical twist to this dessert.
- Cool Whip - Adds a fluffy sweet layer to the top of the moist cake. Thaw it in the refrigerator ahead of time or make a double batch of this homemade whipped topping.
- Topping - A sprinkle of sweetened shredded coconut and fresh strawberries adds a delicious and pretty finish to the strawberry cake.
Poke Cake Variations
- Use various milks such as sweetened condensed milk or coconut milk like this chocolate caramel poke cake,
- Use pudding like white chocolate berry pudding cake or this amazing s'mores pudding cake.
- Use Jello like this orange creamsicle cake or this raspberry jello cake.
How to make a Strawberry Coconut Poke Cake
Get ready to make this strawberry refrigerator cake recipe with sweetened condensed milk in a few simple steps. The hardest part is waiting for the poke cake to chill, so you can dig in!
- Bake the cake. Mix together the dry cake mix along with the ingredients on the back of the box, substituting milk for the water. Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 baking dish and bake.
- Poke the holes. When the cake is done, let it cool 5 minutes on the counter. Then use a dinner fork to poke lots of holes all over the cake.
- Pour on the milk mixture. Stir together a full can of sweetened condensed milk and cream of coconut. Slowly drizzle it over the holes in the cake. Let it cool to room temperature, then refrigerate a few hours until chilled.
- Decorate and serve. Spread thawed Cool Whip on top of the chilled cake and top with shredded coconut.
BruCrew Tip: Add toasted coconut to the top for a delicious and crunchy topping.
In the Refrigerator - Keep the cooled and frosted cake in a tightly covered pan in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
In the Freezer - You can freeze a poke cake, but it's important to follow some guidelines to ensure that the cake retains its quality and texture.
- Let the cake cool completely before freezing. Do not add the whipped topping or coconut. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn and to keep the cake fresh.
- Thaw the cake slowly. When you're ready to serve the cake, take it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Avoid thawing the cake at room temperature as this can cause it to become soggy.
- Add any toppings or garnishes after thawing. This will help to ensure that the toppings are fresh and don't become soggy.
Tips and Tricks
- Poke the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven and then pour the milk mixture on top of it. The warm cake will soak the milk up easier.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature before refrigerating. This will allow the milk to settle into the holes before it chills.
- Don't like coconut? Use a jar of strawberry topping instead of the cream of coconut like we did in this strawberry cheesecake poke cake for a delicious strawberry flavor.
Once the cake has cooled completely, use a fork, a skewer, or the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake. Space the holes about 1 inch apart and make sure to poke all the way to the bottom of the cake.
It is called a poke cake because it is "poked" full of holes so that liquid can be poured into it.
Yes, you can freeze the poke cake. For best results, freeze before adding the whipped topping and coconut.
Yes, you can make a poke cake in advance. In fact, poke cake is a great make-ahead dessert because the flavors will have more time to meld together. Simply store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator until you're ready to serve it.
Any kind of cake can be used for a poke cake, but it's best to use a simple cake recipe without frosting or toppings. A plain vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate cake works well, but you can also experiment with different flavors and add-ins.
More Easy Strawberry Desserts
- Strawberry Fluff Salad
- Strawberry Cheesecake Cupcakes
- Strawberry Pretzel Pie
- Strawberry Cheesecake Trifle
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*The post for strawberry coconut poke cake was first published February 2016. It was updated and republished March 2023.