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
Prepare the instant pudding with the milk and optional coconut flavor as the package directs. Set aside.
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.
Cut the pound cake into 1-inch cubes.
Whip the cream with an electric mixer, adding the remaining tablespoon of sugar while machine is running, until soft peaks form.
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.
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.
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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