The perfect dump cake, this Southern Punch Bowl Cake is moist and filled with strawberries and pineapple chunks. In fact, this no-bake cake comes together quickly in under 30 minutes and is large enough for all your summer potluck desserts!
So you found out there is a potluck tomorrow and need something FAST that looks homemade, and everyone will beg for the recipe?
Don’t worry. You’re covered with this Southern Punch Bowl Cake Recipe. This can be made in less than 30 minutes with a store-bought cake and voila! Instant culinary genius!
But it’s more just a snap to make – it’s light and airy and you may find yourself looking for just a little more only to realize you ate half a bowl. Like my other summer favorites, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Bars, and Carrot Cake, I can’t be left alone with it.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- It comes together fast (20 minutes or less)
- It is made with FEW and SIMPLE ingredients
- It is totally customizable (use your favorite fruits)
- It is perfectly kid-friendly
- You won’t have to bring any home after the family reunion
Yes, this easy punch bowl cake is that good.
Ingredients and Notes
Below is an overview of the ingredients you will need with notes on substitution ideas and preferences:
Trifle Bowl – This recipe is sized for a trifle bowl, about 10 cups. I only have a punch bowl that holds 20 cups. In that case, I often double the recipe to completely fill it.
Cake – This recipe is usually made with a store-bought 14 oz Angel Food cake. I love it with yellow cake and you can also use store-bought pound cake or butter cake, but it will be a little heavier in taste.
Almonds – Use toasted, sliced almonds or you can toast them in the oven at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes. The toasting really brings out the flavor! You can also substitute pecan halves.
Pineapple Chunks – Canned or fresh are great. Make sure to drain the canned pineapple well, as it has more juice. If your fresh pineapple is dry, it won’t soak into the cake as much.
There are quite a few variations that are successfully done. While simplicity and fr3esh taste makes it one of my favorites, here are some ideas for changing things up:
- Add an instant pudding layer – Layer Vanilla or banana-flavored instant pudding. Chocolate pudding would also be a different take. Because it has more moisture, sandwich a layer of prepared pudding between two layers of whipped cream for a delicious dessert.
- Change up the fresh fruit – Other fresh berries, such as blackberries and blueberries, would be divine! Fresh bananas and stone fruits work well.
- Use your favorite cake mix – It’s easy to substitute Angel food cake with white cake, yellow cake mix, or devil’s food chocolate cake. I have also used butter pound cake, but it has a lot more calories.
Step By Step Guide
- Cut up the cake into bite-sized pieces– Make sure they are small but not too small for the layer of cake.
- Prepare Add-Ins – This includes draining the pineapple, cutting up the strawberries into quarters, and, if needed, toasting the almond slices.
- Make the Whipped Cream – The key to the best whipped cream is using a cold bowl and cold cream. Add all ingredients start whipping at a lower speed and gradually move to a high speed to whip until the cream is VERY stiff. You can see in the photo above that it sticks to the sides of the bowl and whisk.
- Dump and Mix – Add the pineapple, strawberries, cake, and whipped cream into the trifle or punch bowl. Stir. Top with the sliced almonds.
Expert Tip! While it might be tempting to use store bought whipped cream, fresh vanilla flavored whipped cream knocks it out of the park. The whipped cream in this recipe is whipped very, very stiff. Plus, it only takes a few minutes.
Layered Recipe Variation
The main reason that I mix this variation rather than layering it is that the whip cream binds to the cake and protects it from becoming soggy, especially if I make it the night before. Frankly, it’s also just faster to dump and mix it in.
However, this recipe can be beautifully layered, similar to a trifle. To keep the cake from soaking up too much juice from the pineapple, I recommend layering it in the following way:
- Half the cake cubes.
- Half the whipped cream.
- Half of the mixture of strawberries and pineapple
- Repeat with the remaining halves. Sprinkle with almonds slices.
Tips & Tricks
- Whip the cream HARD – The whipped cream should be stiff and have structure. If you have soft peaks, continue whipping at high speed until it sticks to the bowl and the whisk/paddle.
- Make sure your ingredients are cold – I put a metal bowl in the freezer at least 30 minutes before or the night before. Glass mixing bowls can be put in the freezer, but make sure not to rapidly heat or cool it.
- This recipe makes 8-10 cups – This is about right for a trifle bowl or small punch bowl. I have a large 20 cup punch bowl, so I usually double the recipe.
Serving and Storage
Serving Ideas: I love this for potlucks, but it also makes a wonderful brunch addition, waffle topper, and light dessert. It can sit out for, at most, 2 hours before refrigerating. The whip cream may wilt in high heat or the sun, so I keep it in a cooler if outside.
Store: Wrap the bowl with saran wrap tightly and refrigerate. It will last about 3 days.
Make Ahead: You can make this the day before or prep all ingredients including the whipped cream and store in the refrigerator. Then it is easy to add to the bowl and stir gently before serving.
Looking For More Delicious Cake And Cupcakes? Check These Out:
- Strawberry Cheesecake Rice Krispies
- 20 of the Best Homemade Cupcake Recipes
- Bailey’s White Chocolate Cake
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Frequently asked questions
For this recipe, you can use angel cake, yellow cake, or pound cake depending on your own preference. I personally use a dense yellow cake (just a taste preference), but I do find that it often crumbles more than either pound cake or angel cake. Using a store bought angel cake makes for a deliciously light and airy texture.
Fresh pineapple does not have as much juice. If you find the cake to be too dry, use canned or reserve some of the pineapple juice. I usually use canned pineapple with angel cake because it tends to be dry to me.
You can use any fruit you like to add color or contrast. Try out blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, peaches, or mango! Choose whichever flavors you prefer and even take it up a notch with your own homemade vanilla extract.
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Punch Bowl Cake
- 14 oz Angel food cake store bought or homemade
- 2 cups Heavy cream
- 4 tablespoon Granulated Sugar
- 2 teaspoon Vanilla
- ½ lb Strawberries
- 20 oz Canned Pineapple Chunks in juice juicy, fresh pineapple can work too
- 1 cup Toasted, sliced almonds
- This recipe makes about 8-10 cups. Wash and slice strawberries. Drain pineapple. Set aside.
- Cut cake into bite sized chunks.
- In a large chilled bowl, add the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip at high speed, until very fluffy, structured and stiff (much more than "soft peaks"). It should stick to the sides of the bowl and paddle.
- In punch bowl or other large bowl, add fruit, cake and whip cream. Fold together with a spoon. Topped with toasted almonds.
- The cake can be served immediately or left overnight. The cake will not become soggy overnight. Lasts about 3 days usually.
- Substituting the homemade whipped cream with cool whip or, worse, reddi-whip is not recommended.
- You can use angel cake, a dense yellow cake, or pound cake. Yellow cake is my preference but it crumbles more easily. Pound cake will have a heavier taste.
- You can substitute pecan pieces for the toasted almonds, or leave out.