Coconut Caramel Cake — An incredibly EASY and super moist cake thanks to a creamy caramel mixture that’s poked into the cake!! Topped with crispy toasted coconut, this cake is a DELISH winner!!
Easiest Caramel and Coconut Cake
I hadn’t made a poke cake in a while and knew that this easy coconut caramel cake would be perfect for spring and summer events, potlucks, baby showers, bridal showers, and more.
Or just to whip up any random time you’re craving cake. Which for me is pretty often.
This caramel coconut poke cake is an incredibly easy cake that I adapted from my Caramel Cream Poke Cake.
The cake is literally so moist that it’s squishy and juicy which is just the way I like my cake. If you despise dry desserts and cakes just as much as I do, and are a coconut and caramel fan, this is the perfect cake for you.
Ingredients in Coconut and Caramel Cake
To make this easy coconut cake with caramel sauce poked into it, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- French vanilla cake mix
- Coconut extract
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Caramel sundae topping
- Whipped topping
- Sweetened shredded coconut
How to Make Coconut Caramel Cake
Thanks to the boxed cake mix in this recipe, the coconut and caramel cake takes no time at all to whip up! Here’s a look at how the cake is prepared:
- Make the cake according to package instructions (you’ll likely need to add eggs, oil, and water). If using the recommended coconut extract, you’ll want to add it to the raw cake batter at this stage.
- After baking the cake, poke holes in it, then pour a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and caramel sundae topping over the top.
- Let the cake cool slightly, then top with whipped topping.
- Pop the coconut poke cake into the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
- Just before slicing into the cake, I sprinkle it with crispy toasted coconut. The toasted coconut adds some lovely texture to this otherwise very soft cake!
You can likely use homemade caramel sauce in this coconut poke cake, if desired. However, your caramel sauce will need to be quite thin like store-bought caramel topping.
I made this recipe using boxed French vanilla cake mix. If all you can find or have on hand is white or yellow cake mix, they will be just fine.
Yes, you may whip some heavy cream yourself to make whipped cream. However, homemade whipped cream will deflate quickly which is why I opted to use store-bought whipped topping.
Yes, this coconut caramel cake actually tastes better after it’s rested in the fridge overnight. It’s best enjoyed within the first 24 hours of making it, but it’ll stay fresh up to 5 days in the fridge.
Tips for Making Caramel Coconut Poke Cake
If you want to make the vanilla cake from scratch, I recommend doubling my Moist Vanilla Cake recipe and using it as the base for this poke cake instead.
Make sure to watch the coconut very closely when toasting it because it burns very easily. Two or three minutes is all it should take. Shake the skillet or stir frequently. I am not the biggest fan of ‘raw’ coconut flakes and can only handle so much, but when coconut is toasted, I can eat it like crazy.
I prefer using sweetened coconut flake in my baked goods, but you can probably use unsweetened as well. Just keep in mind that the topping won’t be as sweet this way!
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Coconut Caramel Poke Cake
- one 15.25-ounce box French vanilla cake mix, white or yellow cake mix may be substituted
- 1 to 2 teaspoons coconut extract, optional
- one 14-ounce can sweetened condense milk
- 6 ounces caramel sundae topping, I just eyeball it and use half of one 12-ounce jar
- one 8-ounce container whipped topping, thawed (I used fat-free)
- 1 to 1 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- Make cake according to package directions (likely adding 3 eggs, water, and oil) and bake as directed. If you’re adding the optional coconut extract, add it after adding the eggs, water, and oil.
- While the cake bakes combine the sweetened condensed milk, caramel sundae topping, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- Remove cake from the oven when it’s done (probably about 23 to 28 minutes) and use a fork to poke holes all over the cake. I didn’t count but I estimate I poked the cake in about 100 places, evenly spaced over the surface.
- Slowly pour the caramel mixture over the cake, taking your time to evenly distribute it. Place cake in the fridge for about 15 minutes to cool slightly before adding the whipped topping so it doesn’t melt.
- Remove cake from the fridge, evenly spread the whipped topping over the surface, and cover cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).
- Before serving, add the coconut to a small dry nonstick skillet and toast it over medium heat on the stove. Stir it nearly constantly and keep a very close eye on it because it’s very prone to burning. It will likely be fully toasted in about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Evenly sprinkle the coconut over the cake and serve.
- Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days noting the toasted coconut may lose some of its crispiness as time passes.
- Adapted from Caramel Cream Poke Cake.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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