Our first home was in a new but modest subdivision at the bottom of a sledding hill leading to the elementary school our boys would eventually attend. Our neighbors were mostly young families as we were. In fact, as we were moving in, another house was going in just across the street, and was soon occupied by Brad & Vicky – a young couple who soon filled it with two beautiful baby girls nearly the same ages as our boys. We trick-or-treated at each others homes, and spent a little time nattering about families, lawns and other stuff that you talk about with a baby on your hip and toddlers running around your legs.
We lost touch with them when we moved out, but I haven’t forgotten the cake (or the recipe) she shared with me. It’s quick, easy, cool and delicious – perfect for summer cookouts and picnics. If you prefer a pure coconut flavor, use coconut milk; if you like the added pineapple flavor of pina coladas, look for non-alcoholic pina colada mix and combine it with a can of sweetened condensed milk (you can use fat-free if it makes you feel healthier.)
Vicky’s Pina Colada Poke Cake
1 box white cake mix, baked in 9×13 pan according to package directions
1 can pina colada mix and one can sweetened condensed milk OR 1 can coconut cream*
1 small tub Cool Whip or 2 cups fresh-whipped cream
As soon as cake is done, remove from oven and poke all over with a skewer or piece of uncooked spaghetti (be careful to not break the pasta off in the cake!) If using pina colada mix, combine with sweetened condensed milk. Pour it (or the coconut milk) over the cake. Allow it to cool completely, then cover with whipped cream and chill for at least an hour before serving.
See? I told you it was easy.
*A word or two about coconut milk, coconut cream and pina colada mix. Each has a different flavor and consistency, but any of them can work in this recipe, with a little modification. You will typically find them in the “drink mixers” area (they are non-alcoholic) or in the Asian or Hispanic food sections. Here’s what they look like:
Coconut milk is pretty watery and generally unsweetened. If that’s all you can find, you can mix it with a can of sweetened condensed milk.
Coconut cream is thick and sweet. If it is too thick to spread, thin it with a bit of cream or milk (but only enough to get it to moving.)
Pina colada mix contains pineapple and coconut and can be mixed with sweetened condensed milk to get the right consistency. Shown here is a 14-ounce can. If you buy a larger bottle, only use just 12-14 ounces and refrigerate the rest.