Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake

Looking for a dessert that captures the essence of Southern charm while satisfying your sweet tooth? Look no further than this delightful Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake recipe. Bursting with fresh strawberries, velvety cream, and moist vanilla cake, this indulgent treat is sure to become a family favorite. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or simply craving a taste of the South, this recipe is a must-try. Let’s dive into how to whip up this scrumptious dessert!


  • 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)


  1. Prepare the Vanilla Cake Base: Start by preheating your oven and greasing a 9×13 inch pan. Prepare the vanilla cake mix according to the package instructions and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before proceeding.
  2. Sweeten the Strawberries: While the cake is cooling, combine the sliced strawberries with sugar in a bowl. Let them sit for about 20 minutes to allow the strawberries to release their natural juices, creating a sweet syrupy topping.
  3. Whip Up the Creamy Layers: In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream and vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla pudding mix, and milk until smooth. Fold the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture to create a luscious cream layer.
  4. Assemble the Punch Bowl Cake: Once the cake has cooled, cut it into bite-sized cubes. 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. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with a layer of thawed whipped topping on top.
  5. Chill and Serve: Cover the punch bowl cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to meld together. When ready to serve, scoop out generous portions and enjoy the heavenly combination of flavors and textures.

Serving and Storage Tips:

  1. Serving Suggestions:
    • Serve this Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake chilled for the best taste and texture.
    • Garnish each serving with a fresh strawberry or a mint leaf for an extra touch of elegance.
    • Pair slices of this cake with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert experience.
  2. Storage Instructions:
    • Store any leftover cake covered in the refrigerator to maintain freshness.
    • It’s best consumed within 2-3 days to enjoy it at its peak flavor.
    • If you anticipate having leftovers, consider storing the cake and cream mixture separately to prevent the cake from becoming soggy.
    • Before serving leftover portions, allow the cake to sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly and enhance its flavors.
  3. Make-Ahead Option:
    • You can prepare this dessert in advance by assembling the layers in the punch bowl and refrigerating it overnight.
    • This makes it a convenient option for parties or gatherings, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your meal preparation.
  4. Customization Ideas:
    • Experiment with different fruit variations such as mixed berries or peaches to create your own unique twist on this recipe.
    • For a chocolatey version, substitute chocolate cake mix for the vanilla cake mix and add chocolate shavings between the layers.
  5. Portion Control:
    • While it’s tempting to indulge in generous servings of this delicious dessert, keep portion sizes in mind to avoid overindulgence.
    • Cutting the cake into smaller cubes allows guests to enjoy just the right amount without feeling overwhelmed by sweetness.


  1. Citrus Twist:
    • For a refreshing citrus flavor, substitute lemon or orange cake mix for the vanilla cake mix.
    • Layer the cake cubes with a mixture of sliced citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, or limes.
    • Consider adding a splash of citrus liqueur or zest to the cream mixture for an extra burst of flavor.
  2. Tropical Paradise:
    • Transform this dessert into a tropical delight by using coconut or pineapple-flavored cake mix.
    • Layer the cake with pineapple chunks, shredded coconut, and sliced bananas for a taste of the tropics.
    • Incorporate coconut extract into the cream mixture and top with toasted coconut flakes for added texture and flavor.
  3. Chocolate Indulgence:
    • Chocolate lovers can satisfy their cravings by substituting chocolate cake mix for the vanilla cake mix.
    • Layer the chocolate cake cubes with sliced strawberries and chocolate shavings for a decadent twist.
    • Add a hint of coffee liqueur to the cream mixture to enhance the richness of the chocolate flavor.
  4. Berry Medley:
    • Experiment with a variety of berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries for a colorful and fruity variation.
    • Alternate layers of vanilla cake cubes with mixed berries and a drizzle of berry coulis for added sweetness and depth of flavor.
    • Consider adding a splash of berry-flavored liqueur to the cream mixture to complement the berry medley.
  5. Nutty Delight:
    • Add a crunchy texture to your dessert by sprinkling chopped nuts such as pecans or almonds between the layers.
    • Incorporate nut-flavored extracts such as almond or hazelnut into the cream mixture for a nutty twist.
    • Top the cake with a generous sprinkling of toasted nuts for an irresistible finishing touch.


  • Can I use frozen strawberries instead of fresh ones?
    • Yes, you can use frozen strawberries if fresh ones are not available. However, keep in mind that frozen strawberries may release more moisture, so adjust the sugar accordingly.
  • Can I make this cake ahead of time?
    • Absolutely! This dessert can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. In fact, allowing it to chill for several hours or overnight enhances the flavors.
  • Can I substitute the vanilla cake mix with a homemade cake recipe?
    • Yes, you can use a homemade vanilla cake recipe if you prefer. Just ensure that the cake is fully cooled before assembling the punch bowl cake.
  • Can I use a different type of pudding mix?
    • While the recipe calls for vanilla pudding mix, you can experiment with other flavors such as cheesecake or white chocolate to add a unique twist to the dessert.
  • Can I use whipped cream instead of whipped topping?
    • Yes, you can use freshly whipped cream instead of frozen whipped topping. Just make sure it’s stabilized with a little powdered sugar or gelatin to maintain its texture.
  • How long does this cake last in the refrigerator?
    • Properly stored, this cake can last in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. However, it’s best enjoyed within the first day or two for optimal freshness.

With its layers of moist vanilla cake, fresh strawberries, and creamy goodness, this Southern Strawberry Punch Bowl Cake is a true crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply indulging in a sweet treat, this recipe delivers a taste of Southern hospitality in every bite. So gather your ingredients and prepare to delight your taste buds with this irresistible dessert!