Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake Recipe 🍓


  • 1 box vanilla cake mix (and ingredients called for on the box)
  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (5.1 oz)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 package frozen whipped topping, thawed (8 oz)


Prepare the Vanilla Cake Base:

  1. Preheat your oven according to the cake mix package instructions and grease a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. Prepare the vanilla cake mix according to the package instructions and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Allow the cake to cool completely before proceeding.

Sweeten the Strawberries: 4. While the cake is cooling, combine the sliced strawberries with sugar in a bowl. 5. Let them sit for about 20 minutes to allow the strawberries to release their natural juices, creating a sweet syrupy topping.

Whip Up the Creamy Layers: 6. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. 7. In another bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla pudding mix, and milk until smooth. 8. Fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture to create a luscious cream layer.

Assemble the Punch Bowl Cake: 9. Once the cake has cooled, cut it into bite-sized cubes. 10. In a large punch bowl, begin layering half of the cake cubes followed by half of the creamy mixture and half of the sweetened strawberries. 11. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of thawed whipped topping on top.

Chill and Serve: 12. Cover the punch bowl cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together. 13. When ready to serve, scoop out generous portions and enjoy the heavenly combination of flavors and textures.

Additional Information:

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Chill Time: 4 hours or overnight
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Servings: 12-16 servings

secrets to achieve the perfect Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake:

  1. Use Fresh Ingredients: Always use fresh strawberries for the best flavor and texture.
  2. Sweeten the Strawberries Properly: Allow the strawberries to sit with sugar for at least 20 minutes to release their natural juices and create a sweet syrup.
  3. Cool the Cake Completely: Ensure the cake is completely cooled before cutting it into cubes to prevent it from crumbling.
  4. Whip the Cream to Stiff Peaks: Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form to ensure a light and fluffy texture.
  5. Fold Gently: Fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture gently to keep the mixture airy.
  6. Use Real Vanilla Extract: Real vanilla extract provides a richer and more authentic flavor compared to imitation vanilla.
  7. Layer Evenly: Layer the ingredients evenly in the punch bowl to ensure each bite has a balanced mix of cake, cream, and strawberries.
  8. Chill Overnight: Let the assembled cake chill overnight to allow the flavors to meld together perfectly.
  9. Use a Clear Punch Bowl: A clear punch bowl not only looks beautiful but also allows guests to see the distinct layers.
  10. Cut Cake into Uniform Cubes: Cut the cake into uniform bite-sized cubes for even layering and easier serving.
  11. Prepare Ahead: This dessert is perfect for making ahead, which makes it ideal for gatherings and parties.
  12. Garnish Before Serving: Add a few fresh strawberry slices and a sprig of mint on top just before serving for a beautiful presentation.
  13. Don’t Overmix: When folding ingredients together, avoid overmixing to maintain the light texture of the cream.
  14. Adjust Sweetness: Taste the whipped cream mixture before adding it to the cake. Adjust the sweetness if necessary.
  15. Use High-Quality Cake Mix: A high-quality vanilla cake mix will yield a better base for the dessert.
  16. Alternate Layers: Ensure that each layer is distinct and even. Start with cake cubes, followed by cream, and then strawberries.
  17. Avoid Over-Soaking Cake: Don’t over-soak the cake cubes with the strawberry syrup to maintain a good texture.
  18. Chill Tools: Chill your mixing bowl and beaters before whipping the cream for better results.
  19. Experiment with Flavors: You can experiment with different flavors of instant pudding mix or add a splash of liqueur for a unique twist.
  20. Maintain the Right Consistency: The whipped cream should be thick enough to hold its shape but still spreadable for easy layering.

By following these secrets, you’ll be able to create the perfect Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake that is both delicious and visually appealing. Enjoy your delightful dessert!

FAQs about Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

  1. Can I use store-bought cake instead of baking a vanilla cake mix?
    • Yes, you can use store-bought vanilla cake or even pound cake to save time.
  2. Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh?
    • Yes, you can use frozen strawberries, but make sure to thaw and drain them well before using.
  3. Can I make this dessert ahead of time?
    • Yes, it’s best to make this dessert at least 4 hours ahead or the night before to allow the flavors to meld.
  4. How long can I store the leftovers?
    • Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  5. Can I use other fruits in this recipe?
    • Yes, you can substitute or add other fruits like blueberries, raspberries, or peaches.
  6. Can I use homemade whipped cream instead of frozen whipped topping?
    • Yes, homemade whipped cream can be used as a substitute for frozen whipped topping.
  7. Can I use a different flavor of pudding mix?
    • Yes, you can experiment with other pudding flavors like cheesecake or lemon for a different twist.
  8. Can I add nuts for extra crunch?
    • Yes, you can add chopped nuts like pecans or almonds between the layers for added texture.
  9. How do I ensure the whipped cream layer is stable?
    • Whip the cream to stiff peaks and gently fold it into the condensed milk mixture to maintain its stability.
  10. Can I use a different type of cake mix?
    • Yes, you can use white cake mix or even angel food cake mix for a lighter texture.
  11. What can I use instead of sweetened condensed milk?
    • You can use an equal amount of evaporated milk mixed with sugar to taste.
  12. Do I need to refrigerate the cake before serving?
    • Yes, refrigerating for at least 4 hours helps the flavors meld and the dessert to set properly.
  13. Can I add liqueur for an adult version?
    • Yes, you can add a splash of your favorite liqueur like Grand Marnier or Amaretto to the strawberry mixture.
  14. How do I prevent the cake from becoming soggy?
    • Make sure to let the strawberries release their juice before layering and don’t over-soak the cake pieces.
  15. Can I use low-fat ingredients?
    • Yes, you can use low-fat milk, light whipped topping, and reduced-fat cream cheese if desired.
  16. What type of milk should I use in the pudding mix?
    • Whole milk is best for a rich texture, but you can use 2% or skim milk if preferred.
  17. Can I add a layer of jam?
    • Yes, you can spread a thin layer of strawberry or raspberry jam between the layers for added flavor.
  18. Can I freeze the assembled punch bowl cake?
    • It’s not recommended to freeze as the texture of the whipped cream and strawberries may change.
  19. What type of vanilla extract should I use?
    • Pure vanilla extract provides the best flavor, but imitation vanilla can be used if needed.
  20. Can I use a different type of sugar for the strawberries?
    • Yes, you can use brown sugar or a sugar substitute like Stevia for sweetening the strawberries.

By following these secrets and answers, you can achieve the perfect Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake every time! Enjoy your delicious creation!