This Chocolate Coconut Cream Poke Cake is a triple threat – with a layer of rich chocolate cake, a layer of thick coconut cream and topped with a layer of creamy icing and toasted coconut. This dessert wins the day, any day!
Chocolate and coconut is one of the best dessert flavor combinations. It ranks right up there as a close second to chocolate and peanut butter. The nutty, almost savory quality of the coconut pairs so well with the rich, sweet chocolate. In cake form, it definitely “takes the cake” (excuse the pun) in my list of favorites.
How to Make Chocolate Coconut Cream Poke Cake
For this Chocolate Coconut Cream Cake I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart), that has just the best chocolate flavor – not too sweet, not too bitter…it’s just right. I used it for my favorite chocolate cupcakes HERE. I swapped in Greek yogurt and added a big handful of shredded coconut to the batter.
The middle layer is where the “poke” part of the cake comes in. The cake comes out of the oven and is immediately poked with a fork over and over. Sounds a little brutal, but I promise it’s worth it! Then a thick layer of unsweetened coconut cream and sweetened condensed milk are poured over the top and the cake just soaks it up. Now (and this is an important step in the process) the cake must sit and chill (literally) for a few hours. This allows the cream to settle into the cake, forming a thick, almost pudding like layer.
Once the cake has properly chilled for a while, it will have a lovely sheen on the top and you won’t really be able to see any of the cream. But that doesn’t matter because you’re about to slather it with my favorite Whipped Cream Frosting.
I love this frosting because it has the light, fluffy taste and texture you’d expect from whipped cream, but it’s got cream cheese in it to help stabilize it and keep it from melting so fast…which means you can leave it out a little longer than you’d be able to with just regular whipped cream. Now you can’t just leave it all all day of course, since it is dairy, so make sure to keep it in the fridge as long as possible.
Once that creamy frosting is slathered on, it’s time for the coconut. If you’ve never toasted coconut before, don’t be afraid, it’s really simple! Just spread the coconut out on a baking sheet (preferably a rimmed baking sheet) and bake it in the oven at 350 F for about 5-7 minutes. I’ve tried broiling it, which also works, but there’s more of a chance of burning so I usually go the baking route. I also will stir it up halfway through so it toasts evenly.
Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll want to let this Chocolate Coconut Cream Cake chill in the fridge until you’re ready to dig in. But once you start dishing it up, all bets are off!
Chocolate Coconut Cream Poke Cake
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup warm water
- ¾ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut cream
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup toasted shredded coconut for topping - see instructions below
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13-inch rectangle baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Stir in eggs, vanilla, yogurt, oil and warm water. Stir until well combined. Fold in the ¾ cup of sweetened shredded coconut.
- Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Tap on the counter a few times to help the batter settle.
- *I like to toast the coconut in the oven as it's preheating. Takes a few minutes longer, but works great. Otherwise, place a layer of coconut on a rimmed baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
- Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Using the tines of a fork poke holes into the top of the hot cake.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cream of coconut and sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Slowly pour over the hot cake, using an offset spatula or the back of a metal spoon to spread evenly into the holes as you go. Cool completely and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.
- *Tip: Chill metal bowls and beaters or whisk attachment for at least 10 minutes in the refrigerator before using.
- In a chilled metal bowl, beat heavy whipping cream until stiff peaks form; 1-2 minutes.
- In another large bowl, beat softened cream cheese on high until fluffy; about 1 minute. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on high until the mixture is creamy and smooth; 1-2 minutes. Gently fold whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
- Frost the chilled cake with the whipped frosting. Sprinkle evenly with toasted coconut.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Here is another delicious poke cake to try:
And for even more poke cake recipes, try these: