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Make a Lip Smacking Coconut Tres-Leches Cake

Are you looking for a yummy dessert for a summer gathering?  I love very casual desserts for summer picnics and barbecues.  Poke cakes are a yummy, casual dessert that are always a hit at picnics and barbecues. This coconut tres-leches cake is a family favorite.  

 Cool, creamy, and full of coconut flavor, this coconut tres-leches cake is perfect for the coconut lover in all of us.  Best of all, this coconut tres-leches cake is semi-homemade.  Start with a box cake mix, pour a mixture of cream of coconut, heavy cream, and evaporated milk over the cake, and then top the cake with fresh whipped cream and toasted coconut. There you have it.  Easy and delicious!

Coconut Tres-Leches Poke Cake

Coconut Tres-Leche Cake
A piece of coconut tres leches poke cake on a plate with a fork.

This yummy dessert is perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth and impressing your guests. The addition of toasted shredded coconut adds a delightful crunch and a tropical twist to this classic dessert. Whether you're making it for a special occasion or just to indulge your sweet tooth, this Coconut Tres Leches Poke Cake recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. So go ahead, and treat yourself to a heavenly slice of cake today.

Why You'll Love Coconut Tres Leches Poke Cake

Here are a few reasons why you'll love this cake.

Convenience: Made with a convenient box cake mix as its base, this recipe combines the luscious flavors of tres leches with a tropical twist. 

Flavor: The tres leches mixture, consisting of heavy cream, evaporated milk, and creamy coconut cream, is poured over the cake, infusing it with a heavenly richness and moisture that will leave you craving more. 

A Decadent Topping: This cake is then generously crowned with a silky and stabilized whipped cream, thanks to the addition of a teaspoon of unflavored gelatin. As if that weren't enough, a sprinkle of toasted coconut adds a delightful crunch and irresistible tropical aroma. 

How to Make Coconut Tres-Leches Cake

 
1. Make the yellow cake the day before you want to serve it, following the directions on the box using a 9 x 13 rectangular pan.  Cool the cake completely.  

2. Mix together the cream of coconut, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and vanilla.  

3. Pierce the cake all over with a fork or a wooden skewer.  I like to use a wooden skewer or the handle of a wooden spoon.  Pierce, pierce, pierce, and then pierce the cake some more.  When you think you have pierced the cake enough, pierce it a bit more for good measure.  You are going to want the cream mixture to absorb into the cake and the holes really help.

Poke the cake with a skewer.
Poke Lots of Holes

4. Spoon the cream mixture over the cake.  Let the cake absorb the cream mixture and then spoon some more over the cake.  Take your time.  I've made this cake many times and it comes out best when I am patient about spooning the cream mixture over the cake.  

5. When you are done with the cream mixture, it may not have all absorbed into the cake.  That's OK.  Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight.  This will allow more time for the cream mixture to absorb.

Cake ready for topping
After the Cream Mixture Absorbs

6. To make the toasted coconut, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.   Spread approximately 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut on a sheet pan.  

Place the pan on the center rack of the oven and toast the coconut until golden brown.  Check the progress frequently because you don't want the coconut to burn.  Set aside to cool completely.

Lightly toasted coconut
Lightly Toasted Coconut

7. Just before serving, prepare the sweetened whipped cream.  Whenever I am frosting a cake with whipped cream I stabilize the whipped cream by adding one teaspoon of unflavored gelatin per one cup of heavy cream. You'll use 2 cups of heavy cream, 1 teaspoon of unflavored gelatin, 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and 1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the heavy cream and let it sit for about thirty seconds before beating.  Then add the sugar and vanilla once the cream mixture starts to thicken.  Spread the whipped cream over the cake.  Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the cake.  Refrigerate until serving.

Looking for a different cake recipe?  Try one of these.

Favorite Chocolate Cake
Berry Trifle
Lemon Yogurt Cake

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Can I use a different type of cake mix for this recipe?
A: Absolutely! While the recipe calls for a box cake mix, you can certainly experiment with different flavors such as vanilla or almond to customize the cake according to your preferences.

Q: Is it necessary to use both heavy cream and coconut cream in the tres leches mixture?
A: The combination of heavy cream and coconut cream adds a unique and rich flavor profile to the cake. However, if you prefer a more traditional tres leches taste, you can substitute the coconut cream with regular milk or additional evaporated milk.

Q: Can I make the stabilized whipped cream without using gelatin?
A: The addition of gelatin helps stabilize the whipped cream and allows it to hold its shape for a longer time. If you prefer not to use gelatin, you can still make whipped cream without it, but it might not stay as firm for as long.

Q: Can I make this cake in advance?
A: Yes, this cake is a great make-ahead dessert. In fact, it's even better when prepared in advance as it allows the flavors to meld together. Prepare the cake, soak it with the tres leches mixture, and top it with the whipped cream and toasted coconut just before serving for the best results.

Q: How should I store the leftover cake?
A: If you have any leftovers (which is unlikely!), you can store the cake in the refrigerator. Cover it with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container to keep it fresh. It's best consumed within a few days for optimal taste and texture.

Q: Can I omit the toasted coconut topping?
A: Of course! The toasted coconut adds an extra layer of flavor and texture, but if you're not a fan or simply don't have it on hand, you can skip it or replace it with other toppings like chopped nuts or fresh fruit.

Coconut Poke Cake Recipe


coconut cake, easy cake, cake with whipped cream frosting
dessert
American
Yield: 12
Author: Donna Urso
Coconut Tres Leches Poke Cake

Coconut Tres Leches Poke Cake

This moist and delicious Coconut Tres Leches Poke Cake is the perfect treat for any occasion. Whether you're celebrating a special event or just craving something sweet, this cake is sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Prep time: 40 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 1 H & 10 M

Ingredients

Topping

Instructions

The Cake
  1. Make the yellow cake the day before you want to serve it, following the directions on the box using a 9 x 13 rectangular pan. Cool the cake completely.
  2. Mix together the cream of coconut, heavy cream, evaporated milk, and vanilla.
  3. Pierce the cake all over with a fork or a wooden skewer. Pierce, pierce, pierce, and then pierce the cake some more. When you think you have pierced the cake enough, pierce it a bit more for good measure. You are going to want the cream mixture to absorb into the cake and the holes really help.
  4. Spoon the cream mixture over the cake. Let the cream absorb in and then spoon some more over the cake. Take your time. When you are done with the cream mixture, it may not have all absorbed into the cake. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. This will allow more time for the cream mixture to absorb.
The Topping
  1. To make the toasted coconut, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread approximately 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut on a sheet pan. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven and toast the coconut until golden brown. Check the progress frequently because you don't want the coconut to burn. Set aside to cool completely.
  2. Sprinkle the powdered gelatin over the heavy cream and let it sit for about thirty seconds before beating. Then add the sugar and vanilla once the cream mixture starts to thicken. Spread the whipped cream over the cake. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the cake. Refrigerate until serving.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

578.12

Fat (grams)

32.53 g

Sat. Fat (grams)

22.36 g

Carbs (grams)

66.38 g

Fiber (grams)

1.82 g

Net carbs

64.56 g

Sugar (grams)

48.17 g

Protein (grams)

5.88 g

Sodium (milligrams)

374.18 mg

Cholesterol (grams)

75.78 mg

Nutritional Information is approximate.

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Enjoy!



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