Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake 2023


  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 (6 oz.) package instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 (10 oz.) packages frozen strawberries, thawed
  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 1 (16 oz.) carton Cool Whip


  1. Prepare the Cake:
    • Follow the instructions on the yellow cake mix to prepare the batter. Bake the cake in two round cake pans according to the package instructions. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
  2. Make Vanilla Pudding:
    • Prepare the instant vanilla pudding according to the package instructions. Place it in the refrigerator to chill.
  3. Assemble the Cake Layers:
    • Cut one layer of the cooled cake into small chunks and place them in the bottom of a punch bowl.
  4. Layer with Pudding and Pineapple:
    • Spread half of the chilled vanilla pudding over the cake chunks.
    • Add half of the drained crushed pineapple on top of the pudding.
  5. Add Strawberries and Banana Slices:
    • Sprinkle one package of thawed frozen strawberries over the pineapple layer.
    • Slice one banana and arrange the slices on top of the strawberries.
  6. Spread Cool Whip:
    • Spread half of the Cool Whip over the entire layered mixture, making sure to cover it completely.
  7. Repeat the Layers:
    • Repeat the process with the second layer of cake, using the remaining pudding, crushed pineapple, second package of strawberries, banana slices, and the rest of the Cool Whip.
  8. Chill Overnight:
    • Cover the punch bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake overnight. This allows the flavors to meld, and the cake to absorb the delicious juices.
  9. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Before serving, gently stir the layers to ensure even distribution of flavors. Scoop out servings, making sure to include all the delicious layers.
  10. Garnish (Optional):
    • Garnish the top with additional sliced strawberries or banana slices for a decorative touch.

This Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake is a delightful and refreshing dessert, perfect for gatherings and celebrations. The layers of cake, pudding, fruit, and Cool Whip create a deliciously sweet and creamy treat.

Here are some tips to make your Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake even more delightful:

  1. Fresh Strawberries Option:
    • While the recipe calls for frozen strawberries, consider using fresh strawberries when they are in season for an extra burst of freshness and flavor.
  2. Add a Splash of Fruit Juice:
    • Enhance the fruit flavors by brushing the cake layers with a bit of pineapple juice or strawberry juice before assembling. This adds extra moisture and flavor.
  3. Infuse Vanilla Pudding:
    • Infuse the vanilla pudding with a teaspoon of vanilla extract or a splash of strawberry extract for an extra layer of flavor.
  4. Mix Fruit into Cool Whip:
    • Fold some crushed pineapple and sliced strawberries into the Cool Whip before spreading it over the cake layers. This adds more fruitiness to the creamy topping.
  5. Drizzle with Fruit Sauce:
    • Before adding Cool Whip, consider drizzling a thin layer of strawberry or pineapple sauce over each cake layer for added moisture and flavor.
  6. Use Homemade Whipped Cream:
    • If you have the time, consider making homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip for a fresher taste. Sweeten it to your liking and use it in place of or in combination with Cool Whip.
  7. Layer with Nuts or Coconut:
    • Add a crunchy texture by sprinkling chopped nuts (such as pecans) or shredded coconut between the layers.
  8. Lemon Zest for Zing:
    • Add a touch of fresh lemon zest to the vanilla pudding or sprinkle it over the Cool Whip for a subtle citrus zing that complements the sweetness.
  9. Drizzle with Chocolate:
    • For chocolate lovers, consider drizzling a bit of chocolate sauce over each layer or garnishing the top with chocolate shavings.
  10. Experiment with Different Cake Flavors:
    • Try different cake flavors such as strawberry, pineapple, or even angel food cake for a variation in taste.
  11. Serve with Fresh Mint:
    • Garnish each serving with a sprig of fresh mint for a burst of color and a hint of herbal aroma.
  12. Personalize with Your Favorite Fruits:
    • Feel free to customize the fruit selection. Add blueberries, raspberries, or kiwi for a diverse and colorful twist.
  13. Make Mini Parfaits:
    • Instead of a punch bowl, assemble individual servings in small parfait glasses for a more elegant presentation.

Remember, these tips are meant to inspire creativity, and you can tailor the recipe to your preferences. Enjoy your Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake with these delightful enhancements!

Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers related to Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake:

  1. Can I use fresh strawberries instead of frozen?
    • Yes, you can use fresh strawberries when they are in season for a burst of freshness. Adjust the quantity based on your preference.
  2. Can I make the cake layers from scratch instead of using a cake mix?
    • Absolutely! You can use your favorite homemade yellow cake recipe as a substitute for the cake mix.
  3. How far in advance can I make this dessert?
    • It’s best to make the Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake the day before serving to allow the flavors to meld. Overnight chilling enhances the taste and texture.
  4. Can I use a different flavor of pudding?
    • While vanilla pudding complements the flavors well, you can experiment with other flavors like strawberry or even white chocolate for a variation.
  5. What can I substitute for Cool Whip?
    • Homemade whipped cream is a great substitute for Cool Whip. Sweeten it to your liking and use it in the same quantity.
  6. Can I use fresh whipped cream instead of Cool Whip?
    • Yes, you can use fresh whipped cream. Keep in mind that fresh whipped cream may not hold its shape as well as Cool Whip, so assemble the dessert closer to serving time.
  7. How can I prevent the bananas from turning brown?
    • To prevent browning, slice the bananas just before assembling the dessert. You can also toss the banana slices in a bit of lemon juice to slow down oxidation.
  8. Can I make this dessert in advance and freeze it?
    • It’s not recommended to freeze this dessert, as freezing can affect the texture of the cake and the consistency of the whipped topping.
  9. What other fruits can I add to this dessert?
    • You can customize the fruit selection based on your preferences. Consider adding blueberries, raspberries, or kiwi for additional variety and color.
  10. Can I serve this in individual portions instead of a punch bowl?
    • Absolutely! You can assemble the dessert in individual cups or glasses for a more personalized presentation.
  11. How long does it take to assemble this dessert?
    • The assembly process typically takes about 20-30 minutes, excluding the time for baking and chilling.
  12. Can I use a sugar-free cake mix or pudding for a lighter version?
    • Yes, you can use sugar-free alternatives for the cake mix and pudding to reduce the overall sugar content.
  13. What’s the best way to store leftovers?
    • Cover the punch bowl with plastic wrap or transfer individual servings to airtight containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

These questions and answers should provide helpful insights for anyone preparing or enjoying a delicious Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake!

Here are some tips to ensure your dessert is a hit:

  1. Select Ripe and Sweet Strawberries:
    • Choose ripe and sweet strawberries for the best flavor. If using fresh strawberries, ensure they are at their peak ripeness.
  2. Infuse the Cake with Flavor:
    • Add a touch of strawberry or pineapple juice to the cake mix or brush the cooled cake layers with fruit juice to infuse them with additional flavor.
  3. Thaw Frozen Strawberries Properly:
    • If using frozen strawberries, thaw them properly to prevent excess liquid. Drain any excess moisture to maintain the desired cake texture.
  4. Layer Evenly and Neatly:
    • As you layer the ingredients, aim for even distribution. This ensures that each bite contains a balance of cake, fruit, pudding, and whipped topping.
  5. Chill for Optimal Flavor:
    • Allowing the dessert to chill overnight in the refrigerator enhances the flavors and allows the cake to absorb the fruity juices, resulting in a more delicious and cohesive dessert.
  6. Use Firm Bananas:
    • Choose slightly firm bananas to prevent them from becoming mushy in the dessert. Slice them just before assembling to maintain freshness.
  7. Mix Fruit into Pudding and Whipped Topping:
    • Fold some crushed pineapple and sliced strawberries into both the vanilla pudding and the Cool Whip before layering. This ensures a consistent fruit flavor throughout the dessert.
  8. Garnish with Fresh Mint or Lemon Zest:
    • Add a touch of freshness by garnishing the top of the dessert with fresh mint leaves or a sprinkle of lemon zest. This not only adds visual appeal but also complements the fruity flavors.
  9. Layer with Texture:
    • Introduce texture by adding chopped nuts (such as pecans or almonds) between the layers. The crunchiness contrasts beautifully with the creamy and fruity elements.
  10. Balance Sweetness Levels:
    • Taste components like the pudding and Cool Whip before layering to ensure they have the desired level of sweetness. Adjust by adding a bit of sugar or sweetener if needed.
  11. Consider Different Pudding Flavors:
    • Experiment with different pudding flavors like white chocolate, strawberry, or even cheesecake for a unique twist on the classic recipe.
  12. Drizzle with Fruit Sauces:
    • Add a touch of elegance by drizzling strawberry or pineapple sauce over each layer. This enhances the fruity flavors and adds a decorative touch.
  13. Serve in Chilled Bowls:
    • Ensure that the punch bowl and serving bowls are well-chilled before assembling. This helps maintain the dessert’s cool and refreshing quality.
  14. Personalize with Edible Flowers:
    • For a stunning presentation, consider adding edible flowers as a decorative garnish. This adds a touch of sophistication and complements the dessert’s vibrant colors.

By incorporating these secrets, you’ll be well on your way to creating a Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake that’s not only visually appealing but also bursting with delicious flavors and textures. Enjoy!