cakes and cupcakes, holiday meals

Pineapple Dream Poke Cake

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It’s almost August and my kids have been on summer break for seven weeks now with just three more weeks of summer fun to go. This summer has been a bit different for me as a mom, and it’s been a little easier to get out and about now that the kids are getting bigger. My rug rats are now ages 11 and 5 and although they still passionately bicker over ridiculous things at times, overall they’re much easier to reason with these days. They are also much more cooperative when it comes to packing up and getting out of the house compared to back when they were, as a pair, ages 6 and 1.

It’s just generally a lot easier to jump in the car and go with bigger kids as they don’t require nearly as many accessories to leave the house for extended periods of time. Boy, do I vividly remember the stress of traveling with all that baby gear: car seat, pack n play, a properly packed diaper bag, wearable baby carrier, the foldable high chair (depending on where we were going), and many, many more far less necessary items like a grocery cart seat cover, play mats, bath toys, and a walker….really, I could just go on and on about this.

Oh, and Heaven forbid forgetting the baby’s favorite binky or teether in the freezer and then remembering about it 30 miles down the road after the baby starts fussing for it relentlessly! Yep, can’t forget the fun of the good ol’ baby wearing, pack mule days. Seriously, we had to pack so much infant gear just to take a short road trip that we hardly had room for the actual children in our old Dodge sedan!

Okay, wait. Sorry, I’ve definitely gotten side tracked and now my left eye is twitching… what are we talking about?  Oh yes, traveling with kids…and more importantly this insanely delicious Pineapple Dream Poke Cake!

Well, summer is in full swing here and while I truly adore having oodles of free time to get out and explore with my family, the extreme heat of these late summer days is still one of my least favorite things….EVER (yes, the first official gripe-about-the-heat post of 2018 is here, y’all!). That being said and in preparation for the upcoming (absurdly) hot, humid daytime temperatures in August, my next few posts are going to focus on food and recipes that are chilled and I’m pretty excited about it!

This cool, creamy Pineapple Dream Poke Cake has quickly become my go-to dessert recipe this summer break. It’s just ridiculously good. This recipe is my adaptation of a pineapple cake recipe I received from a friend a few years back and her recipe, originally titled “Easy Pineapple Cake”, is completely recognizable in this post. However, I’ve converted this cake into an outside-in, pineapple-upside-down cake by poking a few holes into the baked sponge and then dowsing it with a buttery, pineapple-brown sugar syrup. I let all of that sticky, sweet syrup soak in before topping it with a whipped topping frosting that is cool, luscious and super simple. I changed the name of this recipe after I adapted it because, trust me, this cake is truly a pineapple dream!

This scrumptious, chilled Pineapple Dream Poke Cake will be a perfect dessert for your next family dinner on a scorching hot summer evening! And, I realize we still have a few months to go, but I’ll just go ahead suggest this cake as a terrific, make-ahead dessert for the upcoming fall and winter holidays too (fall decor is already out in the big stores and besides pumpkin spice is life, y’all!).

But, in the meantime, I sincerely hope you all enjoy this cake as much as we do!

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Pineapple Dream Poke Cake

Recipe by Marcelle at A Little Fish in the Kitchen Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 can (20 oz, no sugar added and packed it’s own juice) crushed pineapple (I used Dole brand)

  • 1 box white cake mix (I used Pillsbury brand)

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter

  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar

  • 1 (12 oz) tub prepared whipped topping, thawed (I used Cool Whip brand)

  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla pudding mix

  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds, pan toasted and coarsely chopped


  • Preheat the oven the 350° and prepare a 13×9 inch baking dish or cake pan with non-stick cooking spray and set it aside. Drain can of crushed pineapple over a bowl using a fine strainer. Use a spoon to press pineapple and collect juice into the bowl. You should end up with nearly 3/4 to one full cup of extracted pineapple juice. Set bowls of juice and drained pineapple bits aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, prepare cake mix according to package directions. (If the boxed mix directions call for separating eggs, just use 3 whole eggs instead of separating them. Nobody’s got time for all that!!). Once the cake batter is prepared, fold in 1 cup of the crushed pineapple bits and the vanilla extract. Stir batter until just combined. Pour batter evenly into prepared baking dish and bake until done (usually about 35 minutes). Remove cake from oven and cool on a rack.
  • Now make your pineapple syrup. In a small sauce pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and 3/4 cup of reserved pineapple juice to the melted butter, stir liquid with a small whisk and heat for about 1-2 minutes until syrup is smooth. Remove sauce pan from the heat and allow liquid to cool on a rack for 20 minutes.
  • Using a fork, evenly poke holes into the cake (to the bottom) about 18 – 20 times (imagine one poke per sliced cake piece). Stir the slightly cooled pineapple syrup and evenly pour it over the top of the cake taking care to pass over all the holes on top. The syrup will pool up on the sides of the cake pan and that’s okay. It will absorb into the cake completely as it continues to cool.
  • Once cake is completely cool, make your frosting. In a medium mixing bowl, combine whipped topping and pudding mix and stir well. Fold in the remaining crushed pineapple bits and stir well. Evenly spread frosting over the cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted, chopped almonds.  Cover and chill cake for about 20- 30 minutes before serving
  • Enjoy!


  • Special tools that will be useful this recipe: handheld fine strainer13×9 inch cake pan w/cover
  • Recipe from A Little Fish in the Kitchen All content is owned by Marcelle G. Bolton. Please contact the author for permission to republish.


  1. Sometimes I completely forgot about the wonders that a pineapple can bring. This beautiful pineapple cake in one example of it. I am sure going to love making this. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  2. this is literally a dream cake for me! so tasty and satisfying.
    yes, i'm constantly amazed at how much stuff such a little person requires. 🙂

  3. Thank you, John! 🙂

  4. This is definitely summer comfort food! This looks really refreshing and tasty — good recipe. And fun read — thanks.

  5. It certainly is a wonderful time to enjoy with family! Thank you, Velva 🙂

  6. Your pineapple dream poke cake is a refreshing, cool cake for summer. I remember the days of toting children and accessories very well (smile). We are recent empty nesters, and I have to admit its pretty good. Summer is a wonderful time to enjoy the family.


  7. Thank you, Angie!! 🙂

  8. Love the tender smooth crumb of this cake…great for an afternoon snack or a picnic! Continue to enjoy the summer, Marcelle!

  9. Thank you so much, David! 😊

  10. This sounds like true comfort!

    Loved your eye-twitching comment! 😉

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