This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, read my disclosure policy.

This Jello Poke Cake is the easiest cake recipe you can make and it’s so delicious. I’m sharing a Strawberry Jello Poke Cake, but you can easily customize it and use your favorite jello flavor.

The BEST part about this classic recipe is the frosting: no canned icing here, nope – I’m adding a delicious whipped cream frosting to the top! This cake is perfect for so many occasions – you’ll want to make it again and again! 

Pin it now to save for later

Pin Recipe
Close up of strawberry jello poke cake with a strawberry on top

We all need super easy cake recipes and it doesn’t get any easier than this classic poke cake. It’s the kind of dessert you can make on a whim with mostly pantry ingredients, but the result looks like you spent a lot more time and energy making it than you actually did!

There are many kinds of poke cakes and this one I’m sharing today is one of my favorites. It’s a jello cake that is so easy and fast and tastes amazing. If you’ve never tried one before you are going to love it!

What is a Poke Cake?

Poke cakes have been around forever and they are just what the name implies – cakes with holes poked in them! You can fill the holes with so many different things – pie filling, syrup, glazes, pudding and even jello! The filling seeps into the cake creating unique flavor depending on what you use. It’s a really great way to dress up a regular boxed cake mix. Here are some poke cakes I’ve made before:

This strawberry poke cake version is one of my favorites. It’s dressed up with a homemade whipped cream frosting and fresh strawberries – it looks way more complicated than it actually is. It’s really so simple to make.

Close up of strawberry jello poke cake with a strawberry on top

Ingredients needed for Poke Cake

You Will Love this Easy Strawberry Poke Cake; the recipe is so easy you can easily memorize it! 

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • Ingredients to make the cake: use the ones called for on the box
  • 1 small box of strawberry jello
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water

Tip: you can use regular or sugar-free jello for this recipe!

How to make Jello Poke Cake

1. Cake: Make and bake the cake following the package instructions. Cool the cake in the pan for at least 30 minutes.

2. Poke: poke holes in the cake (see below).

cake in pan with holes in it and jello being poured on

3. Jello: Mix the jello with the hot water until the jello has dissolved and then pour it over the cake. It will seep into the holes you made. Leave the cake to completely cool before you add frosting or icing.

4. Frost: frost the cake with desired frosting.

How to Poke Holes in Cake

cake in pan being poked with wooden spoon

Using a wooden spoon handle, poke holes in the cake. Don’t make the holes go all the way through the cake – you just want holes that will absorb the jello without it leaking through the bottom of the cake.

Dress it Up with Frosting

There are a few different ways you can dress up your poke cake, but I love to frost it with my homemade whipped cream frosting. It’s a creamy, sweet frosting that holds up really well so you can frost the cake ahead of time.

cake in pan partially frosted

Just beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla together until the mixture is smooth and thick. Slow add cold heavy cream and whip the frosting until it holds stiff peaks.

You can also frost this with:

Frost the cake, add a few fresh strawberries for decoration and you’re done! Slice and serve it – any leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days.

Strawberry jello poke cake on white plate with strawberry on top and one corner missing

Other Ways to Make a Jello Poke Cake

If strawberry is not your thing you can use pretty much any flavor of jello in its place. Sometimes I pick a jello based on the occasion I’m making for – it’s fun to customize the colors to match the event! Here are some ideas:

  • Orange jello poke cake
  • Lime jello poke cake
  • Lemon jello poke cake
  • Cherry jello poke cake

Just make the cake as instructed and use your favorite flavored jello. You can use the same whipped frosting and garnish the cake with different kinds of fresh fruit depending on the flavor you make.


Can you make poke cake ahead of time?

You can make this cake a day ahead – just wrap it tightly and keep it in the refrigerator. Wait to frost and decorate it until you’re ready to serve it. 

Do you let poke cake cool?

Yes, let the cake cool at least 30 minutes before poking it and adding the jello.

Can you freeze jello poke cake?

It depends on the frosting. If you’re just topping it with straight cool whip then yes. But if you’re using whipped cream frosting I don’t recommend freezing it.

How to poke holes in cake?

My favorite way to do this is with the handle of a wooden spoon, but you can also use a straw or wooden skewer.

Does jello cake need to be refrigerated?

Yes – store this in the refrigerator. It tastes best cold too!

Does jello make a poke cake soggy?

Actually even though it seems like it would – it doesn’t. The jello just flavors the cake and it still has that cake texture, unlike a traditional poke cake that’s filled with pudding, etc.

I think once you know how to make this strawberry jello poke cake recipe you’ll want to make it in every flavor! It’s so easy and great for potlucks, picnics, BBQs, game-days, holidays – pretty much any occasion that calls for cake. I hope you enjoy this recipe!

Have you made this recipe?

Tag @crazyforcrust on Instagram or hashtag it #crazyforcrust

Close up of strawberry jello poke cake with a strawberry on top

Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cake

5 from 2 votes
Jello Poke cake is a classic cake recipe that uses a cake mix and strawberry jell-o, but you can use any flavor! Top it off with your favorite frosting.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Yield 18 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 box cake mix plus ingredients to make the cake
  • 1 box 4 serving size strawberry Jello, or any flavor
  • 1 1/4 cups boiling water
  • Whipped Cream Frosting see note


  • Make the cake as directed on the box using the eggs, water and oil called for. Bake cake in a 9×13-inch pan as directed.
  • Cool cake at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  • Stir the Jello powder into the boiling water until gelatin is dissolved.
  • Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke about 20 holes in the cake, evenly spaced.
  • Carefully pour the liquid Jell-O mixture over the top of the cake.
  • Allow to cool for at least one hour before frosting. Frost as desired, garnishing with fresh berries if you want.
  • Store cake loosely covered in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

For frosting you can use ANY kind you like:
  • Whipped Cream Frosting
  • Buttercream Frosting
  • Cool Whip
  • Fresh whipped cream (won’t last as long; frost right before serving)
  • Canned frosting
You can use any flavor Jell-O gelatin for this recipe.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 106kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 210mg | Potassium: 13mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Strawberry jello poke cake on white plate with strawberry on top and one corner missing and recipe title on top of image

Jello Poke Cake is the easiest cake recipe you can make with only three ingredients. This cake is perfect for so many occasions – it will be your new go-to cake recipe!

Last Updated on May 20, 2022

Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

Learn to Bake in 4 Days!
Get my tips, tricks and recipes to take your baking to the next level for FREE!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating


  1. I will be making this! I will frost it with home made butter cream frosting. I would not recommend using canned frosting as it has a terrible flavor and consistency (my opinion). Whipped cream or Dream Whip would be a better option. Thank you for the recipe.

  2. Would it work with jello pudding also? I was thinking about using strawberry cake mix with vanilla or banana pudding for the poke portion?

    1. You can definitely use pudding for the filling – it just won’t dye the cake the way this one does. The pudding will fill the holes and make a delicious poke cake though! I do that all the time. Mix and match flavors too!

  3. I’ve been making this cake for 20 some years now, when my 3 boys were little. We would make it on Christmas Eve and to this day we all still call it “Jesus Birthday Cake” even tho they are married now.
    One thing they loved to do was experiment with different flavors of cake mix and flavors of Jello and puddings. After many years and flavors we still come back to our original- Lemon Cake Mix with Lime Jello. The icing we use is Lemon Instant Pudding and an envelope of Dream Whip mixed with 1 1/2 c. of cold milk. Whip together and it makes a fabulous icing!!