Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

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This Strawberry Cheesecake Poke cake is similar to a tres leches cake. The vanilla cake is filled with sweetened condensed milk and it’s topped with a fresh strawberry sauce and cream cheese whipped cream. It a bite of heaven on a fork!

A close up shot of a white plate with a slice of strawberry filled cake on it

Today, let’s talk about this Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake. I have three words to describe this dessert. O-H M-Y G-O-D. When I set out to make this dessert, I knew I wanted a mix of a shortcake with fresh strawberries most importantly, a whipped cream topping.  

If you have never made a poke cake, you are in for a real treat with this dessert (no pun intended). A poke cake is a cake that you bake, and then poke holes all over the top, then drizzle some type of liquid over it like pudding, sweetened condensed milk, caramel; you get the idea. Then you finish it with some whipped cream and your favorite topping like fruit or candy.

A wide angle shot of a strawberry cake on a plate topped with whipped cream and sprinkles

This recipe for this Strawberry Poke Cake  is SUPER easy because I used a vanilla cake mix but if you’d like a homemade cake, I definitely suggest my homemade moist vanilla cake. I’ve used this recipe as a base for lots of other cakes you’ll find on my blog and it’s even better than a cake mix. 

This cake has a can of sweetened condensed milk poured over the top. I’m not really sorry about that either. One of my friends who tried this cake asked me if it was a tres leches cake. This is a total win in my book because I LOVE tres leches! It would also be good with vanilla pudding instead of the milk, but I just love how the milk makes the cake super moist. 

A container of fresh strawberries

Fresh Strawberry Sauce

For the topping, I made an easy strawberry sauce using fresh strawberries, It’s mixed with a little lemon juice and some sugar. It’s a basic sauce that I poured over top after I added the sweetened condensed milk. 

  • Chop the strawberries into quarters and then again in half. 
  • In a saucepan, combine the flour and sugar and then add the strawberries, toss to coat in the dry ingredients. 
  • Then add the lemon juice and water and bring the mixture to boil. Continue mixing until the strawberry soften and turns into sauce. Cool a bit before spreading over the cake. 

While I used fresh strawberries, you could certainly use frozen but I recommend buying them chopped so it will turn into a sauce a bit easier. 

A pretty slice of strawberry cake with a fork laying on the plate, the fork has a bite of cake on it

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream

After all that, I topped this cake with what I like the call, “the best thing ever”. It is a cream cheese whipped cream that is so versatile. I have used it to top cupcakes, cakes and even for a filling. It’s similar to whipped cream but sweeter and a bit thicker. 

  • The key to making the cream cheese whipped cream is to start with a COLD cream cheese and then whip the heck out of it until it is super smooth and creamy, otherwise you will end up with a lumping topping.
  • The second important part is to add the heavy whipping cream slowly to incorporate it into the cream cheese. 

Since you are adding a whipped cream topping to this cake, it is important that the cake is completely cooled before you spread it on. Usually I will bake the cake, let is cool for 15 minutes, fill it with the milk, and strawberry sauce, then pop it in the refrigerator to help it cool. 

A pretty slice of strawberry cake with a bite taken out of it

This poke cake recipe is very versatile and it’s perfect to make in advance. If you don’t love strawberries, try substituting your favorite fruit like blueberries, raspberries or even peaches! This is a great summer dessert for your potluck and BBQs!


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More Cake Recipe you’ll love



Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

  • Author: Julianne Bayer
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 15 slices


This Strawberry Cheesecake Poke cake is similar to a tres leches cake. The vanilla cake is filled with sweetened condensed milk and it’s topped with a fresh strawberry sauce and cream cheese whipped cream.


For the cake

  • 1 box White or vanilla cake mix (15 oz)
  • Ingredients listed on the box (water, oil, eggs, etc)
  • 1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk

For the strawberry sauce

  • 1 lb Strawberries (16 oz), rinsed
  • ¼ cup (48g)  sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (59ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) lemon juice

For the whipped cream

  • 1 pkg (8oz) full-fat cream cheese
  • 2 cups (473ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups (260g) Powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract


  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the cake mix according to the ingredients on the box. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
  2. Bake cake in a 9×13” pan for 20-22 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, you cake is done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  3. 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 can of sweetened condensed milk all over top of the cake and spread gently.
  4. For the strawberry sauce:  Rinse the strawberries and chop into quarters and again in half.
  5. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine strawberries with the flour and sugar, toss to combine. Add the water and lemon juice; stir well.
  6. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture starts to boil and strawberries are softened, gently smash strawberries to create a sauce. Once boiling, continue cooking for about 10 minutes to thicken. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour strawberries sauce over top of the cake and refrigerate until cake and toppings are completely cooled.
  7. For the topping: Place your mixing bowl in the freezer or fridge 5-10 minutes before starting. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until cream cheese is smooth and free of lumps. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  8. Slowly drizzle in the heavy whipping cream and continue beating until the cream cheese resembles a liquid mixture.
  9. Continue to add the remaining heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  10. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until still peaks form. Use immediately and keep refrigerated.


Nutrition Information:
1 slice
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Poke Cake, Strawberry Poke Cake, Strawberry Cheesecake Cake

Recipe Card powered byTasty Recipes

Recipe from my friends you might like:

Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake from Life Love and Sugar

Mason Jar Shortcake Poke Cake from Wine and Glue


89 Responses
  1. Susan

    Oh my, this dessert is amazing! I added fresh blueberries on top of the strawberries for the 4th. Will make it many times more I’m sure. Also, handed out the recipe to the group, including your blog info. I’m sure you’re going to be getting some new subscribers.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      OMG Susan, thank you for sharing this and for sending it to your friends. I am so grateful for your support. I hope you enjoyed your 4th.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Absolutely yes- there’s a small note about this in the recipe card with a link to the vanilla cake recipe.

  2. Kim

    I just made this cake this afternoon and it is absolutely delicious! A perfect Mother’s Day dessert. It’s like fresh strawberry shortcake but with a very moist light cake texture. The whipped cream topping perfectly compliments the cake and fresh strawberries. It’s very smooth, light and not too sweet. My family loved it. In fact my fiancé is not much on sweets or cake, and he said he totally wants this for his birthday cake this year so that is really saying something. I think this is one of the best dessert recipes I have found on Pinterest and I have been baking from scratch for almost 50 years (started when I was 8). Delicious!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Thank you so much Kim! I am so glad to hear that everyone enjoyed it! This is a personal favorite of mine as well!

  3. Theresa

    Hi there… In step 10, it says to add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. However, for the whipped cream ingredients, it doesn’t state how much vanilla extract to use. How much vanilla needs to be added to the whip cream? Thanks! So looking forward to making this!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi DeeDee, yes! But I would probably make the topping the day of serving for the best results. It will definitely keep in the fridge, but this is what I prefer to do.

  4. Wendi

    This looks and sounds amazing! My son is not a tres leche fan, could I use 1/2 of the amount of condensed milk to keep it moist, but not quite tres leche style or should I just leave it out completely? Thank you

      1. Beyond Frosting

        I’ve never tried myself, it might be a little more watery, so you may need additional dry ingredients to balance it out.

  5. Katie

    Best thing EVER!! I have made this at least three times in the last few months. It’s incredible. My husband loves it, my kids love it, my friends love it. If you’re a visitor reading this – make this TODAY!!

  6. Angie

    I made this with a mix of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries and reduced the powdered sugar by half and it was a hit!!! Also added fresh fruit on top; it was beatiful and delicious! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  7. Kari

    Omg….this cake was beyond delicious. My only change was making the white cake from scratch because I didn’t have a box mix on hand. This is definitely getting made again.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Michelle, yes of course! I would try to get more sturdy ones if you can, that are little bit deeper. This cake is a bit heavy.

  8. Meg

    Made this for Easter. It was the perfect dessert! Everyone loved it. Super moist! Great for spring. And the icing…Yum! I could eat just a bowl of that alone. And the cake and icing together is even better! I will be keeping this recipe. Thanks!!

  9. Madeleine

    HI! I would like to make a lighter version of this cake. Is it possible if I don’t put sugar in the fruits and If I use Dream whip instead of heavy cream???

    Thank you for helping me!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Madeleine, You can reduce the sugar with the fruit but I’ve never reduced fruit without some sugar. I am not familiar with Dream Whip, but if you want to lighten up the frosting you could either make a traditional whipped cream, leaving out the cream cheese all together or buy some prepared whipped topping from the freezer section at the grocery store.

  10. Fiona

    Tried this for the first time today. The recipe went together really well and looked delicious but both my husband and I found it far too sweet. It might be my mistake in converting cups to grams or just personal taste, but I will definitely try again and adjust the sugar next time.

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Fiona, Sounds great! If you are looking for something a little less sweet, you might want to try just a regular whipped cream instead of the cream cheese whipped cream. Or maybe try some pudding filling instead of the sweetened condensed milk. Enjoy!

  11. Amanda Kendall

    I LOVE this cake. I stumbled upon this last summer when my husband was wanting a desert. I follow your recipe exactly but instead use a lemon cake. It makes a yummy strawberry lemon cake that is to die for. Thank you so much for putting this recipe out there!

  12. Mary

    Can you substitute whole or regular milk for heavy cream? This sounds amazing, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to make something with a whole pint of heavy cream AND two cups of powdered sugar on top of the super super sugary sweetened condensed milk and cake! AH! But it sounds like heaven.

  13. Patricia

    Probably a stupid question but the recipe says 1 pint heavy “whipped” cream. Is that the same as the heavy whipping cream in the milk section of the store?

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Tina, it depends if your frozen strawberries are packaged with simple syrup or not. I would suggest to use a can of Strawberry Pie Filling (such as Lucky Leaf) instead. It might be a little easier for you.

  14. Chrissy

    I made this yesterday for my sister-in-law’s birthday, and it was delicious! Everyone was moaning and groaning while they ate it 🙂 I was a little nervous about the condensed milk making the cake mushy, but holy moly. The cake was soooooo perfectly moist. I love that the strawberry topping is still tart, so it balances the flavors beautifully. The cream cheese whipped frosting…I didn’t know anything like that was even possible. It was also perfect for balancing all the flavors, since the cream cheese is a little tart and the frosting doesn’t have too much powdered sugar in it. It was decadent while still light. I think this might be my favorite cake. Thank you!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Theresa, I am sorry you did not enjoy it. But I am confused by your comment that it was dry. There is a whole can of sweetened condensed milk poured over the finished cake. So it is more of a “wet’ cake. In regards to the icing, it’s very soft, it’s not supposed to be of a frosting consistency. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

  15. Holly Klatt

    This has become my most requested dessert to bring to events. I was curious though — have you ever tried to substitute cherries for the strawberry part? I’m curious as to how it would turn out. Thanks.

  16. Kelsey

    I made this for my husband and his first remark was “I want this for my birthday” Needless to say he and all of my co-workers loved it. I did too! The frosting is amazing! Thanks for sharing this with us all.

  17. novaladypdx

    I made this cake for my granddaughters graduation. I used a strawberry cake mix and made a strawberry
    champagne cake. I also used fresh hood strawberries. I made the cake with condensed milk one day and finished the topping the next day. This was the most delicious cake I’ve ever made and I bake a lot. The only problem was transporting it on a day that was over 100 degrees. Out of this world and well worth the effort!

  18. Michelle

    Hi this looks great and have everything to make it right now! I am just substituting frozen for the fresh strawberries. I have made tons of jello and fruit poke cake but not with condensed milk. I’m thinking about mixing the cool strawberry sauce with the sc milk then pouring over cake, have you of anyone tried that, if so was it ok? Thanks for all the great recipes loved them all!

    1. Beyond Frosting

      Hi Michelle, I have not done that but it should like a wonderful idea!! It should work out okay. However, you might end up with extra liquid from the frozen strawberries. So you might want to reduce the sweetened milk by 2 to 3 tablespoons. I don’t think it would end up effecting the cake too much either way.

  19. Rica

    Hi. When do we remove the cake from the pan? Also, can I use the canned strawberry filling instead of fresh strawberries? Thanks

  20. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventures

    Wow! Tres leches is one of my favorites. Combining that with a strawberry sauce is ingenious!

  21. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    I’m all over this one Julianne! I am so totally addicted to everything strawberry at the moment.. Perfection! Sounds like everyone had a blast in Portland!!

  22. Joan Hayes

    I lOVE Tres Leches Cake, and strawberries, so naturally I think this is a brilliant idea! I can’t get over how delicious it looks, I must have some now! Well done! : )

  23. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg

    I’m planning on going strawberry picking in the next couple of weeks and this would be the perfect way to enjoy them after! Thank you for sharing. I still can’t believe I’ve never had poke cake.

  24. Julie @ Tastes of Lizzy T

    My husband loves poke cakes and I am terrible at making them! This looks so good, though! Maybe a Father’s Day dessert?!

  25. Renee @ Tortillas and Honey

    I’m a huge fan of poke cakes! I love everything about this cake, from the sweetened condensed, to the strawberry topping, and the fact you make cream cheese whipped cream! This is definitely made it’s may to the top of my baking “to do” list!

  26. Sheila | Sweet Baked Life

    Oh Julianne, this is beautifully heavenly! I could definitely jump into this poke cake right now! 🙂

  27. Kimberly@The Little Girls Bakery

    This sounds delicious! What a great combination- strawberries, tres leches cake, cream cheese, whipped cream…Can’t wait to try it!

  28. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    OK, I just left Dorothy’s blog and her ice cream poke cake. . a poke cake needs to happen in my life . . like now!!!!!! I love this cake! and man! I wish I made it to Indulge!!!! can’t wait to read your recap! I love PDX. . one of the best cities . . seriously and great food!!!!!!

  29. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    You are always killing the poke cakes! This is just fantastic. Maybe a book on poke cakes? And I cannot wait for your recap from this weekend. That creme brulee doughnut was insane!! And I want it!

  30. Mir

    This poke cake is probably the prettiest one I’ve seen. And I am envisioning two rounds of topping poured into the cake holes, and that is making me want this cake very badly. It looks perfect!

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