Cake is here! Do you want a piece? Probably. It’s nearly impossible to say no to a hunk of fluffy cake full of sweet fruit, covered with whipped cream and scattered with coconut. It is also nearly impossible to say no to an invitation to join a local Blogger Summit. Dole Packaged Foods will host several bloggers for a couple of days of hanging at the headquarters with the Dole team and learning more about the brand and its products. Accepting the opportunity happened as quickly as one would say yes to a plate of this poke cake.
A friend told me about her version of poke cake, and it includes crushed pineapple and a very specific brand of coconut cream. If you’re not familiar with a poke cake, you’ll love just how easy it is. Poke a bunch of holes into a baked cake, drench the cake with sweetened milk, then frost. It is one of the easiest desserts you will ever make, and it is always delicious. It may sound similar to a tres leches cake, although the poke cake tends to feature only one or two varieties of milk. My friend’s recipe made me want to create something that would incorporate heartier pieces of pineapples and all of the coconut that has been in my freezer for about a month. The base is a box cake, but you could definitely use a homemade butter cake recipe. Due to all of the sweetness in this dessert, tangy lemon seemed like a better fit. Especially with extra lemon zest in the base and lemon juice in the whipped cream topping.
The Dole Blogger Summit won’t be here for a little more than a week, but this seemed like a great time to share the news, along with this recipe. I’m looking forward to meeting a few of the other bloggers, in addition to members of the Dole Packaged Foods team. There will be Dole-inspired cocktails thanks to Jordan of This Girl Walks into a Bar, a meet & greet with Chef Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station and recipe samplings from Dole’s in-house chef. Plus, we’ll hear more about this year’s Dole California Cook Off competition. After this cake, my head is full of ideas for next year’s contest!
- Baking spray with flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 20 ounces sliced pineapples, drained, cut into chunks
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 box Betty Crocker lemon cake mix
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 1¼ cups water
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- Zest of 2 large lemons
- 13.5 ounces coconut milk
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
- Pinch of sea salt
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups flaked unsweetened coconut, toasted
- In a medium fry pan, heat the butter over a medium high flame until melted. Add the pineapples and brown sugar, tossing to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pineapples are brown and caramelized, approximately 10-12 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if they are browning too quickly. Remove from heat, and set aside until slightly cooled.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9"x13" baking dish with baking spray with flour. Set aside.
- Prepare the cake according to package directions, stirring in the lemon zest at the end. Pour the batter into the baking dish, spreading it evenly to the edges of the dish. Top with the cooled pineapples, pressing them down lightly into the batter. Bake until golden brown on top, approximately 30-33 minutes. Set aside to cool for about 20 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and sweetened condensed milk. Poke holes all over the cake with the handle of a wooden kitchen spoon, then pour the milk mix over the cake. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
- Once the cake has cooled completely, prepare the topping. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar until thick and tripled in volume, approximately 3 minutes. Fold in the lemon juice.
- Spread the whipped cream over the cake, then top with the flaked coconut. Serve, or cover and chill until ready to serve.
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