Lemon Raspberry Poke Cake

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This Lemon Raspberry Poke Cake is an easy lemon cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk, with a fresh raspberry sauce and topped with whipped cream. 

This post has been updated in 2018 

A slice of lemon cake on a white plate with a raspberry filling and whipped cream topping, garnished with fruit

Lemon Poke Cake

If you’re looking for a lemon cake recipe that will knock your socks off, look no further. This is a homemade lemon cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk, with a fresh raspberry sauce and topped with whipped cream and little more lemon zest. I mean, what’s not to love here?

This is one of those cakes that disappears in minutes. It’s served cold and just so refreshing. 

If you’re not comfortable baking from scratch, my original recipe was developed using a cake mix. 

A silver fork sinking into a slice of lemon cake

Two ways to make this poke cake

When I updated this recipe, I offered an option for both the original recipe, made with cake mix. However I also remade the recipe with a from-scratch lemon buttermilk cake. The homemade cake is a lot more dense than the cake mix version but it is pretty dang good!

For the cake mix version, I use a combination of a vanilla cake mix and lemon pudding with some fresh lemon zest. You could just use a lemon cake mix, but I like the addition of the pudding mix myself.

Definitely do not skip out on the lemon zest though, it elevated the punch of lemon flavor in the cake. Once it’s baked and cooled, poke the holes and pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over top and let it soak in the goodness.

A slice of lemon cake with a layer of raspberry filling, a couple bites are missing

Homemade raspberry sauce

Lemon and raspberry are the perfect combination. The homemade raspberry sauce is quite simple and adds a bit of tang to this cake.  

  • Combine the raspberries, sugar and flour in a medium-sized pot. Gently crush the raspberries and add the lemon juice. 
  • Cook over medium heat while stirring until it starts to bubble slightly.
  • Once the sauce is bubbling and thick, remove from the stove.
  • Allow the raspberry sauce to cool until it is no longer steaming. Cool completely. 

A horizontal shot of alice of lemon cake with raspberry filling and a fruit garnish

Whipped Cream Topping. 

When it comes to adding the topping, you can definitely add the whipped cream ahead of time, but some of the red color from the raspberries might migrate through the whipped cream, leaving it a little red in some spots.

So if you are looking for that crystal white whipped cream, you might want to hold off adding it until you are ready to serve. Then add a little bit of lemon zest to the top and call it a day.

You can also substitute Cool Whip for homemade whipped cream 

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A horizontal shot of alice of lemon cake with raspberry filling and a fruit garnish

Lemon Raspberry Poke Cake

  • Author: Beyond Frosting
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12-15 slices

Description

This Lemon Raspberry Poke Cake is a home lemon cake soaked in sweetened condensed milk, with a fresh raspberry sauce and topped with whipped cream.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoons (5ml) vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (59ml) light sour cream
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (3.4oz) instant lemon pudding
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2 g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1 cup (236ml) buttermilk
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

For the raspberry sauce:

  • 36 ounces containers fresh raspberries
  • ¼ cup (47.5g) granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (11.6g) flour or corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon (10ml) lemon juice or water

For the topping

  • 1 ½ cups (354 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup (98g) powdered sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the sour cream and lemon zest and beat until well combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients. Add half the dry ingredients to the batter and beat on low speed while pouring in half of the buttermilk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the remaining buttermilk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed.
  7. Pour the batter in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes, keeping a careful eye on the baking during the last few minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  8. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done. Cool for 30 minutes.
  9. While the cake is still warm, take the end of a wooden spoon or another round object and poke holes all over the top of your cake. Pour the jar of sweetened condensed milk over top of the holes as equally as you can. Allow the cake to cool completely, refrigerating if necessary.
  10. For the raspberry sauce: Combine the raspberries, sugar and flour in a medium-sized pot. Gently crush the raspberries and add the lemon juice.  Cook over medium heat while stirring until it starts to bubble slightly.
  11. Once the sauce is bubbling and thick, remove from the stove and allow the raspberry sauce to cool until it is no longer steaming. Pour the raspberry sauce over top of the cake, spreading evenly. Refrigerate the cake until it is completely cooled.
  12. For the topping: Put your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes until it is completely cold. Beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed for several minutes until it starts to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Spread over the cake only once the cake is completely cooled.
  13. Zest a lemon over top of the whipped cream

Notes

Per your request: these are the ingredients for the original cake mix version: 1 box vanilla cake mix,  1 box (3.4 oz) instant lemon pudding mix, 1 cup buttermilk (or milk), ½ cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 1 large egg white, Zest of 1 lemon. Pour the batter into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes

Nutrition Information:
1 slice
485
56.9g
420.8mg
17.2g
11.7g
78.2g
1.1g
7g
78.2mg
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Poke Cake Recipe, Lemon Cake, Lemon Cake Recipe

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65 Responses
  1. Mrs. Ptrsn

    Hi! Love your blog. Would it be okay to substitute warmed up seedless raspberry
    Jam in a thin layer instead? Thank you.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi there, thank you so much! This cake is served cold, so while the warm jam might help to spread easier on the cake, it will get cold again in the fridge.

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