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Quick Coconut Cake with White Cake Mix: A Recipe to Save the Day

Preview: Quick Coconut cake with a White Cake Mix features a triple hit of coconut with coconut milk, cream of coconut, and shaved coconut. A good drenching with cream of coconut makes this cake moist and flavorful.

Have you ever remembered you were supposed to bake something for the office party or a school function at 10:00 the night before just as you were ready to crawl into bed? Hopefully, I’m not the only one.

Most of the time, I’m too proud (unfortunately) to run by the store and grab something in a hard plastic container, so I keep a few tricks in my pantry. I got this Easy Coconut Cake recipe from Amie, one of my favorite co-workers.  The coconut freaks at my job, including me, go crazy when she brings this cake.

piece of coconut cake on a pile of plates

Here’s what you need:

Stocking up on a few staples is helpful to produce this kind of last-minute magic. For this coconut cream poke cake, I make sure to keep the following in my cabinet: 

  • a white cake mix
  • coconut milk
  • cream of coconut
  • shaved coconut
  • frozen whipped topping

All of these ingredients can be stored for months in the pantry, or the freezer. It’s my kind of recipe as I would rather do a hundred push-ups than make a midnight run to the grocery store.

(I detest push-ups!)

Baking tips for this quick Coconut Cake:

I don’t know the origin of Amie’s recipe. However, I made a few changes.


Substitute coconut milk for water in the cake mix

Coconut milk makes the cake taste more decadent and less like a cake mix. However, if you don’t have coconut, you can certainly use water, instead.

I don’t use a cake mix very often, but my attempts to make this cake from scratch were unsatisfactory. The light and airy texture of a cake mix will soak up the cream of coconut better than any of my own recipes.


Heat (slightly) the cream of coconut before pouring over the warm cake

In my opinion, heating the cream of coconut helps the cake to absorb it readily. It also makes it easier to stir the cream of coconut before you pour it.


Are coconut milk and cream of coconut interchangeable?

While we’re on the topic, coconut milk and cream of coconut are radically different and are not interchangeable. The cream of coconut is VERY sweet. Coconut milk is not.


Sprinkled shaved coconut instead of shredded coconut on top.

Shredded coconut will still be delicious if you can’t find shaved coconut flakes.

Amie's Triple Coconut Cake--large flaked coconut


How to poke holes in the cake

I used a k-bob stick to make the holes.  Amie uses the handle of a wooden spoon for maximum absorption. You could also use a fork or a chopstick.

Amie's Triple Coconut Cake--spreading topping on cake
Frost the chilled cake with thawed whipped topping before sprinkling flaked icing on top.
This easy coconut cake has shredded coconut on top, not the shaved coconut.

More posts for cake-bakers and coconut-lovers

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Did you enjoy this recipe? If so, you can help others and me by leaving a 5-star 🤩 rating in the comment section below. No comment is required.

p.s. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can email me privately: Paula at

Hope to see you again soon!

piece of coconut cake on a pile of plates

Coconut Cake with a Cake Mix

This easy cake is a travel-worthy cake for coconut lovers. Perfect for your next work party.
Paula Rhodes
4.76 from 65 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Cakes and Icing
Servings 12 servings


  • 1 white cake mix - I like the Betty Crocker brand
  • 1-1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 15 ounce can cream of coconut
  • 8 ounce container of whipped topping
  • 1 cup flaked coconut


  • Prepare cake mix according to directions on the box, substituting coconut milk for water in the mix. Bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Amie and I both thought the cake was done at least 5 minutes before the box directions predicted. Over bake and the crust will be too dry to absorb the cream of coconut.
  • While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over the cake with a skewer, a toothpick, a chopstick, or even a fork.
  • Warm cream of coconut for 1-1/2 minutes on HIGH in the microwave and pour over the cake. Chill for several hours or overnight.
  • Frost with 1 container of thawed, whipped topping (i.e. Cool Whip). Sprinkle flaked coconut on top. Keep refrigerated.


Serving: 1gCalories: 412kcalCarbohydrates: 66gProtein: 3gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 13gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 333mgPotassium: 95mgFiber: 3gSugar: 47gVitamin A: 14IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 110mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cake, coconut, cream of coconut, desserts, shaved coconut, white cake mix
Cuisine American
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Recipe Rating

Brenda W.

Sunday 5th of September 2021

Just made it and LOVE it! I used toasted shredded coconut on top and next time I might pour a tad more coconut creme over it. Like someone else said, the whipped topped is plenty vs a heavy frosting though a used a bit more than 8 oz. Definitely will make again!

Lila Reed

Saturday 14th of August 2021

I made this for my 90 year old patient who loved coconut cake but I didn't know how to make one! Oh my goodness! This was the perfect recipe! Thanks so very much โค! It was simple for me and he loved it! Perfect!


Sunday 15th of August 2021

Wonderful! I can't think of a better reason to make this cake. Thank you for writing.

Liz Camacho

Monday 22nd of February 2021

I made this cake on 2/21/2021. My Family & I loved it ๐Ÿ˜‹ Thank you!

Deborah Rickett

Saturday 30th of January 2021

This was the best coconut cake that I have ever made. It was so very moist and easy to make. I will definitely be making this cake again.


Sunday 31st of January 2021

Just reading your kind response makes me want a piece of this cake. It has been too long.

Tuesday 11th of June 2019