Southern Strawberry-Coconut Punch Bowl Cake

March 28, 2018
Enjoy classic Southern Strawberry-Coconut Punch Bowl Cake with scrumptiously creamy layers of angel food cake, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and coconut.  You might call it trifle, but in the South we call it punch bowl cake!

Classic Southern Punch Bowl Cake Image ~ Scrumptiously creamy layers of angel food cake, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and coconut.

So you've heard of a trifle, right?  But what about a punch bowl cake?  Your familiarity with this term probably depends upon where you live.

Because the term "punch bowl cake" is a decidedly Southern thing.

Yes, in the South we call these beautifully layered, absolutely creamily delicious desserts punch bowl cakes.  Layers of cake pieces, fresh fruit, and something yummy-and-creamy are all piled together in a gorgeous glass bowl.  And the result is nothing short of amazingly delicious.

The glass bowl, of course, just so happens to quite frequently double as a punch bowl.  And you guessed it, that's exactly how these cakes got their name.
But whatever you call it ... trifle or punch bowl cake ... the soft and creamy layers of this simple Southern dessert are just plain good.

And pretty, too.

But whatever you call it ... trifle or punch bowl cake ... the soft and creamy layers of this simple Southern dessert are just plain good.

Punch bowl cakes get their prettiness from the distinct layers of beautiful ingredients, and from the beautiful punch bowls themselves that we use to create them.  I prefer to use a gorgeous crystal trifle bowl or crystal punch bowl.  And the one I used in this post's photos is called a Hospitality Footed Trifle Bowl.

But any nice-looking large glass bowl will work.  You definitely want to use a glass bowl if at all possible to show off the dessert's pretty layers.



Punch bowl cakes take many forms with many variations, traditionally involving some form of cake as the base.  Basic yellow cake is most often used, but other cake flavors and types make frequent appearances, as well.

This particular punch bowl cake version starts with angel food cake.  You can make your own from scratch or buy a prepared angel food cake from the grocery store.  For ease, I usually buy a prepared cake.

The angel food cake is then combined with fresh strawberries, coconut, and a mixture of whipped cream, sour cream, and powdered sugar for the creamy "stuff" in this recipe.

This particular punch bowl cake starts with angel food cake.   For ease, I usually buy a prepared cake.

Begin by tearing or cutting the angel food cake into small pieces.  I use a serrated bread knife to cut mine, but most people just tear the cake with their fingers.  You'll end up with a pile of yummy cake pieces about like this ...

Cutting Angel Food Cake Cubes for Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake Image

If the browned outside of the cake troubles you, you can cut that all off prior to turning your cake into a pile of bits.  A lot of people cut the browned outside off ... purely for aesthetics of the end of product ... but I don't find the brown ends up really showing in the bowl, and the tiny bit that does doesn't bother me.

Once the cake pieces are cut, stir the cake together with the "creamy stuff" in a large mixing bowl.  Mixing this all together rather than simply layering the cake and the "creamy stuff" allows them to meld together better and makes the cake get super moist, soft, and tasty.

Next, slice up several cups of fresh strawberries.  I like to slice them pretty thin so they nicely meld into the finished dessert.

With all the ingredients prepared, you're ready to layer up!

In a pretty bowl, simply make layers of the cake mixture, sliced strawberries, and sweetened flaked coconut ...

How to Make Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake Image

Finally, sprinkle the top with a little bit of chopped pecans for color and crunch.

Southern Strawberry-Coconut Punch Bowl Cake Photo ~ You might call it trifle, but in the South we call it punch bowl cake!

And now comes the hardest part ...

Wait.

True.  Punch bowl cake is one of those desserts that just gets better with time.  While we certainly love it on the first day we serve it, we love it even more on the second and third.

Yes, refrigerate your delectable punch bowl cake creation over night.  And wait.  Wait for everything to meld together and get all friendly in the bowl.

You'll want to dig in before it's time.

But don't.

Wait.

And keep waiting.

Maybe wait even a little longer than over night if you can stand it.

Because the longer you wait, the better it gets.

True.  Punch bowl cake is one of those desserts that just gets better with time.  While we certainly love it on the first day we serve it, we love it even more on the second and third.

Layers of Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake Image

But no matter when you dig in to enjoy a big scoop of this classic creamy Southern deliciousness, this is one dessert you're sure to love.

So trifle or punch bowl cake ... it's scrumptious layers are so good, I don't think anyone will care what you call it.

Southern Strawberry Trifle Image
   


Southern Strawberry-Coconut Punch Bowl Cake
Source:  A family classic from my brother's very Southern mother-in-law
(Printable recipe)

Ingredients
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, whipped topping, evaporated milk, and powdered sugar; stir until well combined and smooth. Using a serrated bread knife or your fingers, cut or tear the angel food cake into small pieces. Add cake pieces to the sour cream mixture and mix well.
  2. Place 1/3 of the cake mixture in the bottom of a glass punch bowl, trifle bowl, or other large glass bowl. Top the cake layer with 1/4 cup of the coconut and 1/2 of the sliced strawberries. Repeat these layers one more time.
  3. Top the last layer of strawberries with the remaining 1/3 of the cake mixture; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut and the chopped pecans.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
Enjoy!


Please enjoy these other scrumptiously creamy desserts from The Kitchen is My Playground...



Triple Berry Punch Bowl Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie


Classic Southern Punch Bowl Cake ~ Scrumptiously creamy layers of angel food cake, fresh strawberries, whipped cream, & coconut.  You might call it trifle, but in the South we call it punch bowl cake! #punchbowlcake #trifle #strawberries #strawberrydesserts #Southerncooking #Southernfavorites #easydesserts #nobake  www.thekitchenismyplayground.com
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31 comments

  1. Wow Tracey, This dessert is already calling my name and I didnt even make it yet but I will :) Thanks for sharing this!

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    1. "Make me, Jerry ... make me ... you'll be so glad you did." {Uh, that was the Punch Bowl Cake talking, not me.} :-)

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  2. Man O Man! This is really like calling my name. Tracey, you Rock! Thank for sharing!

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    1. You're so welcome, Jackie! Oh, I have so many variations of this scrumptious beauty up my sleeve.

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  3. It called me, I answered!! And now it is resting in peace in my tummy!!

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    1. I'm so glad you answered the call ... and put this dessert in it's place!! :-)

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  4. OMGoodness! This looks awesome :-) Not sure I would be able to let it stand a while though! Pinned - thanks for sharing, Tracey!

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  5. This looks so delicious! I'm pinning it for later and can't wait to make it with some fresh strawberries that we hope to pick next month :)

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  6. What a fabulous recipe! It's just beautiful too. Thanks so much for sharing at Weekend Potluck. This looks like a perfect summertime dessert!

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  7. Looks super delicious... strawberries in my fridge are calling me now to make this...

    -Mythreyi
    Yum! Yum! Yum!

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  8. This looks so refreshing for summer, pinning!

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  9. Sounds delish! Perfect for the fresh strawberry season in my area. Found you on The Scoop blog hop and following you via Bloglovin'. Pinning this too to my "Mouthwatering" board!

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  10. Thanks for sharing! I love southern Recipes!

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  11. I bet it tastes as good as it looks! Yum! I would love to have you share this at the Shady Porch Rock N Share party…going on now! Blessings, D@TheShadyPorch

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    1. Thank you so much for inviting me over. :-)

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  12. I love all variations of trifle a.k.a. punch bowl cake. Some kind of magic happens when you let the whole thing sit and the flavors mix and meld. :) The "fluff" layer in your punch bowl cake is what intrigues me the most. I usually use layers of pudding and cool whip but this one sounds WONDERFUL. The addition of sour cream is what makes this dessert call out to me. :)

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  13. I love a punch bowl cake in the summer. I love your custard mixture with the cool whip, sour cream and evaporated skim milk. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasures.

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  14. pure deliciousness with by beloved strawberries :-) yum, yum, yum :-)

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  15. made this for a very good friends birthday. It was his cake!! we put candles all over the top (55) :) it was a HIT!!! I would love to see what other variations you have!! Thanks for sharing

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    1. I'm so glad you and your friends enjoyed this cake, Sheila! And thank you so much for stopping back by to let me know ... you made me smile a big smile. :-)

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  16. I saw this on a 4th of July roundup and just had to pin it. I hope you’ll share your best post of the week on my Friday Flash Blog Linky Party going on ALL weekend at The Jenny Evolution.

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

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  17. Ok what is coolwhip or angel cake when you live in ireland???? Help i wanna make ut!!

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  18. I made one similar to this one and added pineapple chunks with the fresh strawberries. This is so delicious.

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  19. Tracey - This looks delicious! I'm wishing I could do a face plant into that bowl! :-) Pinned!

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  20. love this recipe thanks for sharing pinned to my boards following from the weary chef have a great day

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  21. Hope you had a wonderful weekend and thanks so much for sharing your special post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

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  22. I call it punch bowl cake also. I've always used pound cake but now I want to try your version. Thank you for sharing with us at Celebrate Your Story and have a great weekend.

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  23. Punch Bowl Cake is SUCH a great name! Pinned and shared!

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  24. I'm Southern and growing up, we always had a punch bowl cake at family potlucks. They are so good! Stopping by from the #HomeMattersParty linky.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Nicole! I agree, punch bowl cake is soooo good. It's a classic, indeed.

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