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Patriotic Red White and Blue Poke Cake

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This Red White and Blue Poke Cake is the perfect Patriotic dessert for memorial day for a 4th of July dessert. The tye dye vanilla cake batter is soaked in vanilla pudding topped with whipped cream and berries decorated like an American flag. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make this cake.

A slice tye dye poke cake with patriotic colors and berry topping

I love to make themed desserts whether for a birthday party or in this case a memorial day BBQ or 4th of July celebration. The most important part of any BBQ is the dessert, as I right?

This Red White and Blue tye dye cake may look complicated, but really it’s a simple vanilla poke cake that anyone can make at home and I am going to show you just how to do it.

For this particular recipe, using a vanilla cake is best so that you can really see all the colors of the cake. I’m using my favorite moist vanilla cake recipe, but you can achieve these same results if you’re using a vanilla cake mix instead.

I love poke cakes and I love how you can customize them to suit your own taste. This poke cake is filled with a vanilla pudding, but you could also use a can of sweetened condensed milk instead.

Last comes the topping. While I’ve made a batch of my whipped cream frosting, you can certainly skip this step and use Cool Whip instead. It would also be super good with cream cheese whipped cream.

A slice of vanilla poke cake with tye dye colors topped with whipped cream and berries

How to make a Tye Dye Cake

You can make a tye dye cake with any colors you want, but for a Patriotic Poke Cake we are going to be using red and blue food colors to dye the cake batter. It’s really a simple process!

  • Step 1: Prepare the cake batter whether you are making a cake from scratch or using a cake mix
  • Step 2: Divide the batter evenly between three bowls, you are going to add food colors to 2 of the 3 bowls.
  • Step 3: Drop just a couple drops of food coloring into the cake batter and mix thoroughly. I am using Americolor blue and super red. It’s best to use gel food color because they are more concentrated, which means it takes less dye to make bright colors. The colors will darken once baked.  

two side by side shots to show how to color cake batter

an overhead shot of 3 bowls of cake batter, a white one, a blue one and a red one

  • Step 4: Pour the alternating colored cake batter, layering them in the pan and swirl with a knife if you want a marbled look. The more you swirl it, the more the colors will be integrated

two side by side process shots to show how to make a tye dye cake

  • Step 5: Bake the cake according to the recipe instructions.

Make a Flag Cake for an Easy July 4th themed dessert

You can decorate this cake however you’d like, but in keeping with my Patriotic theme, I made a flag using fresh blueberries and strawberries. I do recommend doing this just prior to (or day of) serving for the best results.

  • Lay the blueberries out first, about 6 or 7 rows. The bigger the blueberries are the better. Be sure they are rinsed and well dried.
  • Slice the strawberries nice and thin, and layer then in rows on top of each other. Try and keep the strawberries around the same size, which helps to make the lines look consistent.
  • You may need to slice off one end of the strawberry to fit them on your final stripe.

an overhead shot of a cake decorated to look like an American flag

Make ahead, storing and transporting this poke cake

You can make the cake itself up to 2 days in advance, however, poke cakes need to be refrigerated since they’re filled with pudding and topped with whipped cream.

For the best results, I recommend adding the whipped topping and berries the day of serving for best results. Bring along any extra berries for your friends to put on top.

I know lots of BBQs and parties happen outside, which makes it harder to serve these types of cakes.  If your cake pan doesn’t have a lid, then do you best to tightly wrap it in plastic wrap. Then place in a cooler bag with some ice packs or directly into a cooler with ice to keep it cold until serving.

A red, white and blue tye dye cake with a couple bites missing- covered in blueberries and strawberries

I’d love to hear how you are sharing this Patriotic Tye Dye Cake with your friends and family.

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A slice of vanilla poke cake with tye dye colors topped with whipped cream and berries

Patriotic Red White and Blue Poke Cake

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 28 minutes (up to 32 minutes)
  • Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes
  • Yield: 15 slices


The tye dye vanilla cake batter is soaked in vanilla pudding topped with whipped cream and berries decorated like an American flag. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make this cake.


For the cake

  • 2 cups (380g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (14.8ml) vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118ml) light sour cream
  • 2 ½ cups (350g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons (11.2g) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cups (296ml) milk (I use nonfat)

For the filling

  • 1 pkg (3.4oz) Instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 ¾ cups (414ml) milk

For the topping

  • 1 ½ cups (354ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (81g) powdered sugar
  • 16oz container of blueberries- rinsed and dried
  • 216oz containers of Strawberries- rinsed and dried


  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. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add half dry ingredients followed by half of the milk and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate.
  4. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients and milk and continue beating until all of the ingredients are well combined. 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.
  5. To color the cake batter, divide the batter into three bowls. Set one bowl aside for the white batter. In the other two bowls, use a couple drops of food coloring in each bowl (1 for red and 1 for blue) and mix thoroughly.
  6. Alternate and layer adding the 3 different cake batter colors in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, swirl occasionally with a knife. 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.
  7. Take a wooden spoon or another round object and poke holes over the top of the cake.
  8. For the filling: In a small mixing bowl, combine the instant pudding with the milk and whisk together until the powdered mix is dissolved.
  9. Pour the liquid pudding mix over top of the cake, try to fill the holes with the pudding mix. Refrigerate the cake until the pudding is firm, about 10 minutes or so.
  10. For the topping: Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill
  11. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until the cream thickens.
  12. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks start to form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake.
  13. Decorate the flag pattern using blueberries and strawberries. Layer 6-7 rows of blueberries and then thinly slice strawberries and lay them out in rows.


  • You can use a cake mix instead of making a homemade vanilla cake
  • For the topping: Substitute Cool Whip for the topping instead of making whipped cream
  • If you don’t want a vanilla pudding filling, try using a can of sweetened condensed milk instead.
  • Sour cream: You can use any type of sour cream, but if you don’t have sour cream, I recommend a nonfat Greek yogurt as a substitute.
  • Storage and make ahead options: You can make the cake itself up to 2 days in advance, store in an airtight container on the counter but It’s best to add the whipped cream and berry toppings the day of or day prior to serving. This cake must be stored in the refrigerator once the pudding has been added. If your cake pan doesn’t have a lid, tightly wrap it in plastic.
Nutrition Information:
1 slice
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: July 4th party ideas, Flag Cake, 4th of July desserts, Easy 4th of July desserts,Patriotic dessert, Poke Cake, Poke cake recipe

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