This Strawberry Poke Cake is the easiest and most delicious summer dessert around! Fluffy white cake is infused with strawberry jello, then slathered with whipped cream! Naturally a make ahead dessert, this is a dessert recipe the whole family will love!
This is one of my Dessert recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
I don’t know about you, but I’m all about easy, make ahead dessert recipes. Especially as the weather warms up!
It might seem weird to you to pair Jello with cake, but trust me, it’s a match made in heaven. The cake is so moist and packed with flavor, yet also feels super light at the same time. Perfect for summer!
Plus, it’s such a simple, easy to make recipe. Although it does require a little forethought, since the cake does have to cool before you add the whipped cream topping.
However, that’s true for any cake right? Frosting a warm cake will end up a gooey mess… trust me… been there before.
In fact, you can even make this cake completely ahead of time, and let it hang out in the refrigerator overnight. The flavors get deeper and more meshed together, and all you have to do on the day of serving is add some strawberries on top!
How to make strawberry poke cake?
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Prepare cake according to package directions and bake. Use your favorite brand of cake mix. Our favorites are Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker.
- Poke holes in warm cake. It’s best to do this while the cake is still warm so it will absorb the Jello mixture we add next.
- Combine boiling water and Jello mix. Just be careful you don’t splash any boiling water on yourself.
- Pour Jello over cake. I find it’s best to do this slowly, so you can really make sure the entire cake is covered. Cover with foil and refrigerate cake for 1-2 hours.
- Spread whipped topping on top of cake.
- Garnish with strawberries if desired. This is best to do right before serving, so the strawberries look their best and don’t weep any liquid into your whipped cream layer.
You can use any tool you’d like to poke the holes, I just find the end of a wooden spoon is handy. Whichever utensil you use, just make sure you’re poking through to the bottom of the pan, so the pudding can really get in there!
Variations of this recipe
- Sugar-free – I haven’t specifically tested this, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Use sugar free cake mix, Jello mix and whipped topping for a sugar-free dessert!
- Other cake flavors – I like to use white cake mix because the neutral color pairs well with the brightness of the jello. However, you can switch up the cake mix and use strawberry, vanilla/french vanilla, or any other flavor you’d like.
- Other Jello flavors – this recipe can serve as a method and will work with any Jello flavor you like!
- Poke Cupcakes – instead of following the package directions to make a 9×13 cake, make cupcakes. Poke a few holes in the cupcakes and continue with the recipe.
- Strawberry slices – to bump up the strawberry flavor, after adding the Jello and letting it soak into the cake, before adding the whipped cream, add a layer of strawberry slices.
- Homemade – not into using cake mix and prepared whipped topping? No worries, you can absolutely use your own from-scratch recipes to make those and use them here. It’s a very versatile recipe!
Sure can! Instead of a 9×13″ cake, follow the box directions for making 2 round cakes. Then use half of the Jello on each cake and let set for at least 1 hour. Add a layer of whipped topping on top of one of the rounds, then top it with the other round and frost as desired.
Yes! For best results, freeze the cake after you’ve added the Jello and let it set, but before you add the whipped topping. Then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and put in a freezer container. The cake should freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Making a poke cake ahead of time
This cake is a bit of a natural make ahead dessert, as the cake needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least 1-2 hours. Not only to cool, but to allow for the pudding to really soak down into the cake.
However, this cake can be made completely, including the whipped cream topping, then covered and refrigerated a day or two. Just make sure not to add any toppings (strawberries, cookies, etc) until right before you serve, so they don’t get soggy or weep liquid into the whipped topping.
Leftovers should be refrigerated and eaten within 3 days.
I love that this pan is made in the USA, and has held up to years of heavy duty use with no issues!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 1 box white cake mix (plus ingredients to make the cake – check the box for directions)
- 1 3oz package strawberry Jello mix
- 1 cup boiling water
- 8 oz container frozen whipped topping thawed
- Prepare, and bake cake in a 9×13" baking pan, according to package directions. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
- While cake is still warm, poke holes in the cake with the end of a wooden spoon (or with tines of a fork, about 1/2" apart).
- In a small mixing bowl, combine boiling water and Jello mix. Whisk until fully combined.
- Pour Jello evenly over the warm cake, pouring slowly and evenly to cover the whole cake, which fills the holes. Cover cake with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until cooled.
- When cake is cooled, spread whipped topping evenly over the entire top of the cake.
- To serve, top cake with strawberries right before serving.
Want to save this recipe for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own recipe box!
- You can make this cake (up to step 4) one or two days ahead. Just cover it as directed in step 4 and refrigerate until needed.