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Punch Bowl Cake Recipe

Quick — what’s cool, creamy, and delightfully dreamy? This sinfully delicious punch bowl cake recipe, of course!

Punch bowl cake is one of my favorite Southern desserts. With layers of fluffy cake, silky smooth pudding, and mixed fruit, it’s impossible not to love.

Pouring Coconut Flakes into a Punch Bowl Cake
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It’s surprisingly light and refreshing. (While still being sweet enough to satisfy any dessert cravings you might have.)

It’s also quick, easy, and perfect for any occasion. You can whip it up in no time and don’t need any extraordinary baking skills to do it.

It’s every dessert lover’s dream come true.

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.

It contains moist cake and vanilla pudding. Not to mention 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 

You’ll need surprisingly few ingredients for this cake. They are:

  • Cake Mix. It forms the base of the cake. The recipe calls for yellow, but you can use whatever flavor 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 the recipe even more foolproof:

  • Use homemade whipped cream. The recipe calls for store-bought whipped topping for easier and quicker preparation. But homemade always tastes better. Add a tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding to it to stabilize it if you’re making the cake ahead of time.
  • Chill it overnight. That’ll give the cake time to soak up all the various flavors.
  • Avoid fresh pineapples. Since it is soaked in syrup, canned pineapple adds moisture to the cake. If you use fresh pineapples, it could be too dry.
  • Slice the cake evenly. Doing so will make the punch bowl cake easier to serve and eat. It also makes for a prettier presentation.
  • Don’t discard the leftovers! Have just a few leftovers but not really enough to save? Layer them in small glasses for individual servings!
  • Making it ahead of time? Wait until immediately before serving to add the whipped cream. That way, it won’t degrade or get too runny.
Punch Bowl Cake in a Small Container

Variations of Punch Bowl Cake

Punch bowl cakes are essentially trifle. Luckily, that means you can easily customize them. Here are some ideas:

  • For a tarter flavor. Use strawberries instead of pineapple. (Or whatever fruits and berries you like best!) Adding cream cheese to the whipped cream will also provide a nice tartness.
  • For a sweeter flavor. Use softened vanilla ice cream instead of whipped cream for the topping. Wait until immediately before serving to add it, though.
  • Add more pineapple flavor. Use the syrup from the canned pineapples as the liquid for the cake mix. Just remember to reduce the amount of milk you add to keep the balance.
  • Swap out the nuts. Almonds, cashews, peanuts, etc. Add your favorites, whatever they are.
  • Make it boozy. Soak the cake pieces in tequila for an extra punch of flavor.
  • For the chocoholics. Make a black forest-inspired punch bowl cake with chocolate cake pieces and maraschino cherries on top. Or make a candy-filled punch bowl cake with layers of crushed candy bars and chocolate whipped cream.

Punch Bowl Cake Recipe



Prep time


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  • 1 (18.25-ounce) package yellow cake mix (+ ingredients to make it)

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

  • 5 cups milk

  • 6 bananas

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

  • 2 (21-ounce) cans cherry pie filling

  • 6 ounces flaked coconut

  • 1 (16-ounce) 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, whisk together the pudding mix and milk according to the pudding package’s instructions.
  • 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 step 4: adding the rest of the cake, pudding, bananas, pineapples, cherry pie filling, and coconut.
  • Top the cake with whipped topping and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
  • Chill before serving. Enjoy!
Punch Bowl Cake

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
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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