Classic Punch Bowl Cake
Classic Punch Bowl Cake
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Punch bowl cake is a classic and easy Southern dessert that is simple to prepare but so impressive. To make this recipe for Classic Punch Bowl Cake, chunks of prepared pound cake are layered with vanilla pudding, homemade strawberry sauce, pineapple, sliced bananas, and whipped cream. To give the pudding layer a little more flavor, you can add in a bit of coconut extract. 

The best thing about this punch bowl cake recipe is that the finished product gets even better with time. That means that you can prepare the cake in advance for a party and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to serve. No one has to know that this gorgeous, layered punch bowl cake only took you minutes to prepare. Punch bowl cake is one of the Southern desserts that you will want to make time and time again because it is so simple to make and delicious to eat.


This is a very impressive cake for a crowd – the perfect party cake as it can be made up to 1 day ahead of serving and it actually benefits from chilling for a few hours as the flavors have time to blend together.


You can use a homemade pound cake or purchase either a fresh or frozen cake   If using a frozen one, thaw before using.


You may use canned or frozen pineapple chunks.  If using canned, drain very well.  If using frozen, measure out 1 ½ cups chunks, thaw completely and drain well.


If you like this recipe for Paula Deen-Inspired Punch Bowl Cake, be sure to check out our collection of 20 Classic Southern Cake Recipes.


Cooking Vessel Sizedeep 3-quart glass bowl


  • 1 (3.4-ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 pound strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 (1-pound) prepared pound cake
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks, very well drained (see note)
  • 3 bananas, sliced


  1. Prepare the instant pudding with the milk and optional coconut flavor as the package directs. Set aside.

  2. Choose 2 or 3 of the most attractive berries and set aside for garnish. Remove the stems from the remaining berries and cut into halves or quarters if very large. Place half of them into a bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar, and mash with a fork or potato masher until they form a sauce. Stir in the remaining berries.

  3. Cut the pound cake into 1-inch cubes.

  4. Whip the cream with an electric mixer, adding the remaining tablespoon of sugar while machine is running, until soft peaks form.

  5. Place a layer of the cake cubes (about half of the total) into the bottom of the serving bowl, fitting them to cover the entire bottom. Add a layer of half of the berries, placing the larger pieces along the edges so they show through the glass sides.

  6. Spoon the pudding over the berries, smoothing with a spatula or spoon. Top this with the chunks of pineapple, then a layer of banana slices. Layer the remaining cake cubes on top, again fitting them to fill the bowl. Press down firmly but gently to compact the layers just slightly.

  7. Spoon the remaining strawberries over the cake, again placing the larger ones along the edges, and top with a swirled layer of the whipped cream. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before serving or up to 1 day. Garnish with the remaining whole berries just before serving.

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I know it seems specious but what you picture and what you describe is nothing more or less than English Trifle. Why would you want to call it something else when the whole world already knows its name?

Hi robertgsmiley, a punch bowl cake is essentially the same as a trifle. This Southern dessert gets its name because it is traditionally made in a punch bowl! You can read more about here: - Natalie, Editor of FaveSouthernRecipes

"Punch Bowl Cake"? Funny but I have never heard that moniker before. I consider this recipe to be Trifle! When I make it, I usually add a sprinkling of sweet sherry to the pound cake

I'm a bit thrown off by the photo here -- not sure what the rocks are doing there. That aside, this punch bowl cake looks delicious. Pineapple and strawberry are a great combo!

I really enjoyed this cake! It was super light, which makes it perfect for the summer. I wasn't expecting there to be so many bananas in every bite since the cake, strawberries, and pineapple were the biggest draws for me, but I really enjoyed their prominence.

I love the idea of this cake for parties and potlucks. It's creamy and delicious! I would make a version with toasted coconut on top for extra crunch.

I really enjoyed this cake. I would probably leave out the bananas next time, and I would love if there was more coconut flavor.

A mouthful of fruit, whipped topping, cake--what more could I want?

I absolutely loved all of the fruit in this dessert! Very refreshing for a summer day.

I loved how the layers all came together to create an incredibly delicious dessert!

Really good! Suggest serving quickly after combining ingredients as it might get too soggy. Light, good flavors! Definitely a summer dessert.

It's sort of like a combination of day old strawberry wedding cake and a Dairy Queen Banana Split Blizzard. I really liked it!

Delicious! I love anything with pound cake, pudding and fruit and this was no exception!

Mmm, this was delicious. Will definitely be making again. Perfect for a big summer party.

This was really good. I thought it might be too soggy with the pudding, but it wasn't.

LOVED this. Who could turn down a strawberry and banana dessert? The only thing I might change would be to sprinkle some almonds on top.

Love the mixture of fruit and cake. Makes for a perfect summer treat!


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