Cakes Desserts

Punch Bowl Cake

July 8, 2013

Saturday was a rainy, dreary day here in Nashville. Perfect for baking, if you ask me! This cake is long overdue for an appearance on the blog. Punch Bowl Cake has a lot of history in my family. My mom would make this cake for my Papa’s birthday and we’d have it for holidays, too. I’ve made it a few times as an adult and it brings back so many memories. It also helps that it’s quite delicious with not much work to put it together.

Punch Bowl Cake by So, How's It Taste?

So, how’s it taste?

It’s quite refreshing actually. It’s very similar to a pudding cake and since it’s got pudding and whipped topping, it seems a bit lighter than a cake with heavy icing. It’s yellow cake layered with vanilla pudding, pineapple, cherry pie filling, and whipped topping. Super simple. Now you may be thinking, “Um, Leah, that’s not a punch bowl.” Well, you’d be correct. I don’t own a punch bowl and the perfect one for this cake has eluded me so far. My mom swears she gave me hers, but I swear I don’t have it, so now it’s the big punch bowl mystery. I do, however, own a trifle bowl. But I refuse to call this a Trifle Bowl Cake. It just wouldn’t be right.

Papa's Birthday, 1984 on So, How's It Taste?

My, my how time flies. That’s my Papa and 8 of his 10 grandchildren on his birthday back in 1984. That’s the famous Punch Bowl Cake in his lap, complete with a homemade Happy Birthday sign held up by straws from yours truly! Clockwise from the left is Joanna, John, me, Jason, Jeremy, Jennifer, Josh, and Julie. Hmm, someone got left out of the J names! I swear this just happened yesterday. Funny thing is that baby in the picture is almost 30. Seriously, where does time go? I sure do miss those Punch Bowl Cake birthdays and my Papa. The only man I know who could rock some overalls.

Punch Bowl Cake

So, How's It Taste? original


1 (16.5 oz.) box yellow cake mix (plus ingredients on box)
1 (5.1 oz.) box instant French Vanilla pudding (plus milk)
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling
1 (8 oz.) tub whipped topping
nut topping, for garnish (pecans are ok)


1. Prepare cake batter according to directions for two 8- or 9-inch cake pans. Bake & cool completely on wire rack.

2. Prepare the vanilla pudding according to the package directions. Store in fridge until ready to use.

3. Slice one cake layer in half using a large serrated knife. You won't use the other cake (freeze it to make this cake again another day).

4. Layer a punch bowl or trifle bowl with one layer of the sliced cake. You may have to trim the cake if using a trifle bowl.

5. Remove the prepared pudding from the fridge and mix in the crushed pineapple. Pour half of this mixture onto the cake and spread evenly with a spatula.

6. Dollop half of the can of cherry pie filling on top of the pudding layer.

7. Spread half of the whipped topping on top of the pie filling. Layer again with cake, pudding, pie filling, and end with whipped topping. Garnish with nut topping. Store in refrigerator.

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  • Jackie l Food.Wine.Fashion July 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

    That is the cutest picture Leah! And I love the idea of cake in a punch bowl – because really how often do you use your punch bowl?

    xo Jackie

    • Leah Short July 8, 2013 at 9:31 am

      Probably why I don’t own one, although I need to get one for this cake. Bonus using the trifle bowl: cake scraps since you have to cut it. 😉

  • alexandra @ sweet betweens [blog] July 8, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Oh my goodness! That picture! What an adorable family – and yes, indeed. Papa can rock those overalls like none other I’ve seen!

    PS – did you not even get an honorary J name? y’all need to work on that.

    • Leah Short July 8, 2013 at 9:34 am

      I’ve got a pic somewhere of him & me both in overalls. Gotta dig that one up & post it! Yep, my cousin Amanda and I got left out of the J’s. Although rumor has it I was almost a Julie, but my grandma said no because there were too many J’s. Funny thing is I have a younger cousin named Julie. 😉

  • Lesley Eats July 8, 2013 at 10:48 am

    I am pretty sure I’ve had a similar cake at some point. 🙂

    And you were easy to spot in that photo!

    • Leah Short July 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      Ha ha! I see I still have my same recognizable charm. 🙂

  • Erin @ One Particular Kitchen July 8, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    YES! I love punch bowl cake! I kind of love your Papa too. 🙂

    • Leah Short July 8, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      I thought you’d appreciate someone who could look good in overalls, lol!

  • Sherrie July 8, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Even back then you had “tude.” You are front row, left corner, right? So sweet!

    • Leah Short July 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

      Ha ha! Of course I’ve always rocked this ‘tude! I’m in the back though, to the left of my cousin in the back center. 😉

  • Sherrie July 8, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Gosh, I was way wrong! Ha!

  • Beth July 8, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    My aunt used to make this cake and I always loved it. Haven’t had it in ages!!

    Funny thing – I was the grandchild that got left out too, but it was the letter D. All my cousins have names that start with D and my sister is Mechelle Dawn (which I have always said counts even if she went by Mechelle). Then there was me- Andrea Beth. Guess I could’ve made them call me Drea so I wouldn’t feel so left out 😉

    Oh, and I am also the only grandchild that doesn’t have blue eyes. Guess I’m just the black sheep of the family!

    • Leah Short July 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

      How funny! I didn’t realize this cake was so popular. I’m glad I’m not alone in my alphabet issues with the cousins, lol!

  • steph@stephsbitebybite July 9, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Just give me a spoon!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking July 9, 2013 at 10:03 am

    What a great family recipe and photo! This cake looks sensationally good… perfect for celebrating any birthday!

  • Elizabeth July 10, 2013 at 11:43 am

    I love how you can see the incredible layers with the glass bowl! And, of course, I love the whipped cream on top 🙂

  • julie July 10, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    We so need to get together and have one of these!

    • Leah Short July 11, 2013 at 7:30 am

      We do!

  • Desiree November 26, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Cute comments, but has anybody tried the recipe as it is listed that would like to comment on their results?