This scrumptious vanilla cake with pockets of fresh seasonal strawberry sauce and a sweet creamy coconut whipped topping is refreshing and cool served right from the icebox. Made with wonderful ingredients like coconut flour, good vanilla, and no refined sugars, this retro poke cake will be a smash hit at all your summer parties!
Props to the person that came up with this poke-cake idea. It is genius, really. Creating holes in a baked cake with the handle of a wooden spoon and then flooding the crevices with puddings, Jello, or creams.
That is how it was made when I first had it. It was a Jello and cool whip creation made in a 9×13 glass Pyrex. That was a small cake by my family’s standards. Going generations back, the women in my family in summer would make slab pies, sheet cakes, and cobblers in a humungous pan. I imagine that they were anticipating lots of summer company and wanted as little time in the hot kitchen with the oven on. Bake one big cake and you are done was the idea. They would take one blueprint recipe like a cobbler filling or batter and use it with whatever summer fruits were picked or at hand. Pineapple cobbler, huckleberry apple pie, peaches, and cream cake, were the sort of renditions that they would make.
I like the idea of writing recipes this way for summer. It allows for flexibility and ease. You will have a great dessert no matter what you find at the orchard, farm stand, or store. This poke cake recipe is a similar blueprint that can be switched up with different summer fruits.
This version, however, is extra special becuase it has been made paleo using coconut flour, eggs, and a fresh coconut whipped cream.
Let's Get Cooking!
INGREDIENTS and SUBSTITUTIONS:
Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Coconut Flour – is a soft silky flour made entirely from dried coconut meat that has been ground. It is naturally sweet (being it is made entirely of sweet coconut meat) and very high in fiber, containing upwards of 45 grams of fiber per 100 grams of flour. Coconut flour is a very unique flour to bake with and there are no substitutions for it. In order to substitute coconut flour, you would have to entirely recreate this recipe.
- Arrowroot Starch – Adding arrowroot starch improves the crumb and texture of the cake. You can read more about arrowroot starch in this article about how to use alternative flours.
- Honey – Honey improves the texture of this cake and is the preferred sweetener.
- Ghee – Ghee is clarified butter. Technically ghee is not dairy-free because it is still butterfat, but it is lactose-free because during the clarification process all of the milk solids are removed. You can replace the ghee with melted butter or coconut oil.
- Eggs – Lots of them. Yes, you will need a lot of eggs for this recipe because coconut flour is basically pure fiber and requires a lot of eggs. There is no substitute here.
- Full Fat Coconut Milk
- Fresh Strawberries- You can substitute peaches, blueberries, or pineapple for the strawberries in this recipe.
- Whipped Coconut Cream- You can also use traditional whipped cream or some health food stores have coconut whipped topping in the freezer section.
TOOLS YOU WILL USE:
- Mixing Bowls
- Measuring Cups
- Measuring Spoons
- Medium Sized Sauce Pan
- Cutting Board
- Good Knife
- 9×13 Cake Pan
INSTRUCTIONS – HOW TO MAKE POKE CAKE
- Sift coconut flour, baking soda and baking powder. Then whisk in arrowroot, salt and vanilla powder (if using, it's perfectly fine to omit the vanilla powder if you don't have any)
- Melt ghee and allow to cool slightly.
- Whisk whole eggs, honey, vanilla & almond extracts and coconut milk.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients.
- Fold egg whites into the batter.
- Grease a 9x 13 cake pan. Pour batter into the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 32 minutes. Until a toothpick comes out clean.
- In a small saucepan cook strawberries and honey until you have a sticky and thick sauce, about 5-10 minutes. Mash with a potato masher.
- Cool Cake on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then poke holes in the cake, about 15 holes that are equidistant.
- Gently pour the strawberry sauce into holes and spread the remainder of the sauce over the cake.
- Refrigerate until cold.
- Cover cake with whipped coconut cream and decorate with fresh strawberries.
Strawberry Sauce – Traditionally poke cakes use jello, but I prefer fresh strawberries cooked down until thick with a bit of honey. When you pour the strawberry sauce over the cake make sure you are getting all of the holes filled with sauce. I finished by pouring the remaining strawberry sauce over the cake prior to covering in whipped cream.
This cake should be stored in the refrigerator. You can either cover the cake with saran wrap or an airtight lid. This cake will keep fresh for up to 3 days.
Can I use Just replace the strawberries in the recipe with different fruit?
Yes, you can use a variety of different summer fruits in this recipe here are a few options:
- Peaches or nectarines would be amazing.
- Cherry with scrapings of vanilla bean
- Pineapple is perfect with the coconut cream
- Blueberries or blackberries would be divine.
What does poke cake mean?
A poke cake refers to the method of making holes in a baked cake with something round like the handle of a wooden spoon. Then, fruit purees, Jello, puddings or creams are poured over the top of the cake and soaked into these holes. This method creates a truly flavorful cake that can be finished with whipped cream or topping. The cake remains moist and delicious because of poke hole method.
Coconut whipped cream vs. whipped cream
Coconut cream is a wonderful dairy-free alternative to whipping cream. It can be used as a substitute in desserts or cakes and whips up in a similar fashion to traditional cream. You can find coconut whipped cream in the frozen section of most natural food stores or make your own via this method.
DIETARY MODIFICATIONS FOR THIS RECIPE:
This recipe is gluten-free, vegetarian, and paleo. For a keto version, you would have to replace honey with monk fruit, if you try it let me know how it works, I did not test it this way and do not know how much monk fruit would be appropriate.
MORE RECIPES YOU WILL LOVE:
I can’t wait for you to try this Paleo Strawberry Poke Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream Recipe! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo!
If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
Paleo Strawberry Poke Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 cups coconut whipped cream *see note or regular whipped cream
- sliced strawberries
- Melt ghee in a small sauce pan and allow to cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- Combine dry and wet ingredients mixing until combined. Then, fold in egg whites.
- Grease a 9x13 cake pan. Pour batter into pan and spread out until even and smooth.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat cook down strawberries and honey. Cook 5-10 minutes until the mixture is reduced, sticky and thick.
- Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher. You should have 1 cup of liquid and it will be thick and chunky.
- Remove cake from pan and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Use the handle of a wooden spoon to push into the cake. You should make approximately 15 equidistant holes in the cake.
- Gently pour strawberry mixture into holes.
- Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of any remaining strawberry sauce over the cake.
- Cover cake and refrigerate until completely chilled.
- Remove from fridge. Frost with coconut whipped cream and decorate with sliced strawberries.
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