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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!  

square slice of yellow cake with red dye mixed in with white frosting and a strawberry on top.


What is a Poke Cake?

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!

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

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.

ingredients on marble slab.

Ingredients Needed

  • 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

Click to see the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions!

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.
  3. Jello: Mix the jello with the 1 1/4 cup boiling 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 whipped cream frosting and top with fresh berries.

Best Frosting for Poke Cake

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. Here are some other options:

square slice of yellow cake with red dye mixed in with white frosting and a strawberry on top.

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 with a box of orange jello
  • Lime jello poke cake with lime gelatin
  • Lemon jello poke cake with lemon jello
  • Cherry jello poke cake with cherry
  • You can even make this poke cake recipe with strawberry cake mix!

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.

square slice of yellow cake with red dye mixed in with white frosting and a strawberry on top.

Tip From Dorothy

Expert Tips

  • I love adding fresh strawberries on this for decoration.
  • Poke cakes are even better the next day after the jello has time to soak into the cake!
  • You can use regular or sugar-free jello for this recipe!
  • Any leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator where they will keep for several days.

How to poke holes in cake

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. You can also use a long skewer instead of the spoon handle for smaller holes.

FAQ

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.

square slice of yellow cake with red dye mixed in with white frosting and a strawberry on top.

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake Recipe

5 from 3 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

Ingredients
 

  • 1 approx 15 ounce box cake mix plus ingredients to make the cake
  • 1 (4 serving size) box strawberry Jello , or any flavor
  • 1 ¼ cups boiling water
  • Whipped Cream Frosting see note
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Instructions

  • 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
Storing and Make Ahead:
  • The cake is best after sitting for several hours, so you can make it the day before.
  • Store covered in the refrigerator for several days.

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

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!

Favorite Poke Cake Recipes



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.

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