If you’re a pineapple desserts fan, then you’ll really love this one! The bright flavor of pineapple really comes through in this Pineapple Poke Cake, but it’s not too sweet. The tropical flavor and moist cake make this a popular dessert with any crowd!

whipped pineapple cream on pineapple cake

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I love poke cakes – not only are they fun and easy to make, but they are so delicious! Everything about them is good! The cake is always moist and flavorful, they’re so pretty to look at, and for my poke cake recipes, the icing is never too sweet. 

Pineapple Poke Cake

Poke cakes are terrific for potlucks, family dinners, picnics, or anytime you need to feed a group. This Pineapple Poke Cake is made in a 9×13 baking dish, and you can cut the pieces as large or as small as you like. Plus, today is my 60th birthday, so having just returned from Hawaii and making a festive birthday cake, this is my favorite.

pineapple whipped cream on cake

I love making poke cakes with kids. Kids love the idea of poking all the holes into the cake! You just have to watch that they don’t over-poke the cake, and you’ll be fine. You want to have about 80 holes in it – which seems like a lot – but you want all that delicious flavor to seep down into the cake.

The icing on this cake is light, fluffy, and not too sweet, but it is whipped cream based, so if you’re making this cake ahead of time, leave making the frosting until just before serving. 

a piece of cake

Love pineapple? I just know you’ll love this easy dessert; I sure do!

Why I love this recipe

  • You can make the cake ahead of time (you can even freeze it!), then poke it and fill it with the pudding mixture. 
  • The fresh pineapple and pineapple juice give it so much fabulous flavor!
  • It uses pantry-staple ingredients – except eggs and dairy – so you can keep everything you need to make this cake in the pantry.

how to make a Pineapple Poke Cake

Gather these ingredients

  • Yellow cake mix 
  • Water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Eggs – Large eggs.
  • Canned crushed pineapple – 1 20-ounce can.
  • Vanilla instant pudding mix – 1 5.1-ounce box.
  • Milk
  • Vanilla extract – Pure or artificial vanilla is fine.
  • Pineapple juice – From the drained crushed pineapple.
  • Heavy whipping cream – Chilled.
  • Powdered sugar

how to make a poke cake

How to make the best Pineapple Poke Cake

This cake is so easy to make, and it all starts with a box of cake mix!

  1. Preheat your oven to 350-F degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set it aside.
  2. Combine the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs and mix until combined. 
  3. Drain the pineapple and reserve the juice. Fold ⅔ cup of drained crushed pineapple into the cake batter and mix to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth it out so it is in the dish evenly.
  5. Bake the cake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Cool the cake completely on the counter; for about an hour.
  7. Poke holes evenly into the cake – make about 80 holes. 8 across, 10 holes down. Set the cake aside.
  8. Combine the pudding mix, milk, vanilla, and ⅔ cup of pineapple juice and whisk together until smooth.
  9. Pour this mixture over the top of the cake and gently spread it over the cake, allowing the pudding mixture to run into the holes in the cake.
  10. Cover and refrigerate the cake for an hour to allow the pudding to partially set.
  11. Pour the cold heavy whipped cream into a cold bowl and whip it on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form. You want it to be pretty thick.
  12. Add the remaining drained crushed pineapple and powdered sugar to the whipped cream and whip together for about 30 seconds, then spread it evenly over the top of the cake.
  13. Refrigerate the cake for about 3 hours before serving to allow the pudding to set.
  14. Cut into squares and enjoy!

pineapple cakes

Tips & substitutions

  • You can bake the cake ahead of time and even freeze it for up to a month before poking holes in it and finishing the recipe.
  • Make sure your pineapple is well drained. Press down on the crushed pineapple lightly to squeeze out all the juice, but save the juice because you need it, too.
  • You can use any kind of milk in this recipe.
  • Heavy whipping cream whips best when it is super cold – chill the bowl, too, to keep it cold while whipping it.

taking a bite of Pineapple Poke Cake

Serving suggestions

I love this Pineapple Poke Cake! I love serving it for dessert when we’re having a BBQ complete with Mini Sliders, Lobster & Avocado Corn Tacos, or anything grilled. This is also a great dessert if you’re having a Hawaiian-themed dinner with tasty picks like Hawaiian BBQ Chicken.

a big bite of cake


Store any leftover Pineapple Poke Cake in an airtight container in the fridge for 1-2 days. This cake is best eaten fresh because the whipped cream frosting will start to deflate after too long. This cake needs to stay in the fridge because of the dairy in it.

a serving of cake

Check out these cake recipes while you’re here

whipped pineapple cream on pineapple cake
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Pineapple Poke Cake

Taste the tropics in this easy Pineapple Poke Cake! With pineapple flavor in every bite, this cake is amazing, easy, and delish!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
refrigerate: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes
Yield: 12
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  • 15.25 oz yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple; divided
  • 1 5.1 oz box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pineapple juice, from the drained crushed pineapple

Whipped cream:

  • 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Spray a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.


  • Drain the pineapple well and reserve the juice.
  • In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add ⅔ cup of crushed, drained pineapple.
  • Pour batter into the prepared baking pan smooth into an even layer.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake completely, for about 1 hour.


  • Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes over each inch of the cake. Make about 80 holes (8 across by 10 rows). Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the pudding mix, milk, vanilla, and ⅔ cup pineapple juice. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Pour pudding over cake and spread evenly with a spatula, allowing the pudding to run into the holes in the cake.
  • Cover and refrigerate the cake for 1 hour.


  • Pour the cold heavy whipping cream into the cold bowl and whip on high speed until medium to stiff peaks form, about 1 minute. Make sure it is thick.
  • Add the remaining crushed, drained pineapple and powdered sugar. Whip together for about 20-30 seconds, and spread evenly over the chilled cake.
  • Refrigerate cake for 3 hours before serving.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Calories: 377kcal, Carbohydrates: 37g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 84mg, Sodium: 301mg, Potassium: 137mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 620IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 146mg, Iron: 1mg
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Pineapple Poke Cake