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Punch Bowl Cake Recipe

Need to make dessert, but can’t bake to save your life? This punch bowl cake recipe is the easiest and tastiest solution!

A punch bowl cake is a classic southern dessert that’s loaded with layers of light and airy cake, silky pudding, and fruits, and topped with fluffy whipped cream.

Pouring Coconut Flakes into a Punch Bowl Cake
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In short, it’s every dessert lover’s paradise. And with this easy punch bowl cake recipe, you’ll never fret over what to bring to a party again.

And yes, it couldn’t be easier to make. Because it makes use of a boxed cake mix, instant pudding, and frozen whipped topping, even non-bakers can pull this off! 

But just because the ingredients are mostly store-bought doesn’t mean the flavor isn’t to die for.

This cake tastes so heavenly, it will fool people into thinking it’s homemade!

Don’t let your zero baking skills get in the way of impressing your family and friends. Stick to this punch bowl cake, and your dessert will be a guaranteed hit.

Punch Bowl Cake

Whenever I need a cake to bring to potlucks, I always bring this punch bowl cake. For one, it looks amazing.

Each layer is beautifully displayed in a punch bowl for everyone to see.

Then comes the taste. This punch bowl cake comprises moist cake, vanilla pudding, cherry filling, pineapple, coconut, bananas, whipped cream, and walnuts!

There are many elements, but together, they create a beautiful harmony of flavors and textures.

That’s not even the best part! The greatest thing about this cake is that it’s so darn easy to make. Anyone can nail it on the first try. 

Punch Bowl Cake Ingredients: Croutons, Sliced Bananas, Coconut Flakes, Whipped Cream and Walnuts

Ingredients for Punch Bowl Cake 

  • Yellow Cake Mix – It forms the base of the cake. No need to limit yourself to yellow cake, though! You can use whatever type of cake mix you want. You can also bake the cake from scratch.
  • Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix and Milk – For layers of smooth and silky pudding! Other flavors work, too. 
  • Bananas, Pineapple, and Coconut – The trifecta of tropical flavors! The flavor and texture combination is out of this world fantastic.
  • Cherry Pie Filling – For extra sweetness and fruity flavor.
  • Whipped Topping – Go for store-bought if in a rush!
  • Chopped Walnuts – For an added crunch and nutty flavor.

Tips for Making the Best Cake

Punch bowl cake is so easy, it’s impossible to mess up! Nevertheless, here are some tips and tricks to make your cake-making even more fool-proof.

  • The recipe calls for store-bought whipped cream for easier and quicker preparation, but fresh is best! So if time is not an issue, just whip the cream yourself. It’s so easy, and you will definitely taste the difference.
  • Chill it overnight so the cake soaks up the flavors of the rest of the ingredients.  
  • That said, if making it in advance, add a tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding to the cream, especially if you are using fresh whipped cream. This will make it more stable and prevent it from being too watery as it chills.
  • Do not use fresh pineapple for this recipe. Since it is soaked in syrup, canned pineapple adds moisture to the cake.
  • Alternatively, you can just leave out the whipped cream and add it right before serving.
  • Slice the cake evenly. Not only will it make the punch bowl cake easier to serve and eat, but it also makes for a prettier presentation.
  • If you have leftover ingredients, layer them in small glasses for individual servings!
Punch Bowl Cake in a Small Container

Variations of Punch Bowl Cake

As it’s essentially a trifle, a punch bowl can easily be customized.

There are infinite options to choose from, so feel free to experiment with flavors and textures. Here are some ideas:

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  • Want a tart cake? Use strawberries instead of pineapple. You can also use other fruits and berries, too! I love mangoes, bananas, and blueberries in mine.
  • Apart from the fruit, you can also swap your favorite cake recipe for the yellow cake mix. Chocolate cake, angel food cake, and pound cake all make great choices.
  • For more pineapple flavor, use the syrup from the canned pineapple as the liquid for the cake mix. 
  • If you’re using chocolate cake, make a black forest-inspired punch bowl cake by topping it with cherries.
  • Alternatively, you can go the kid-friendly route and put layers of crushed candy and chocolate-flavored whipped cream along with the chocolate cake. 
  • You can’t go wrong with classic whipped cream, but why not add cream cheese to the cream for more tartness? The balance of flavors is absolute perfection.
  • If you want something sweeter, use softened vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream for the topping. But wait until right before you serve the cake before adding the ice cream.
  • For a prettier presentation, pipe flowers or other shapes with melted white chocolate and top them on the cake.
  • A little tequila goes a long way! Soak the cake pieces with tequila for a punch of flavor.
  • Aside from walnuts, you can also use almonds, cashews, and other nuts.

Punch Bowl Cake Recipe



Prep time






  • 1 (18.25-oz) package yellow cake mix

  • 2 (5-oz) packages instant vanilla pudding mix

  • 5 cups milk

  • 6 bananas

  • 2 (20-oz) cans crushed pineapple, drained

  • 2 (21-oz) cans cherry pie filling

  • 6 oz flaked coconut

  • 1 (16-oz) package frozen whipped topping, thawed

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts


  • Prepare the yellow cake mix according to package instructions. Divide the batter into two pans and bake. Let the cakes cool to room temperature.
  • While the cakes are cooling, prepare the pudding according to package instructions. Use the milk for the liquid.
  • Once the cakes have cooled, break them up into small chunks.
  • Place half of the cake on the bottom of a large punch bowl. Top it with half of the pudding, spreading evenly. Top with three sliced bananas, followed by 1 can of pineapple, 1 can of cherry pie filling, and half of the coconut.
  • Repeat the step with the remaining ingredients.
  • Top the cake with whipped topping and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
  • Chill before serving. Enjoy!
Punch Bowl Cake

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Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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