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Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

This strawberry cheesecake poke cake recipe transforms my favorite moist vanilla cake into an irresistible summer treat! It’s soaked in sweetened condensed milk, then topped with fresh strawberry sauce and tangy cream cheese whipped cream. It’s a bite of heaven on a fork!

overhead of a slice of cake on a plate with milk and strawberries in the background

Easy Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

I’m always creating and sharing new poke cake recipes (or rounding up my favorite poke cakes all in one place). I can’t get enough. This strawberry cheesecake poke cake, well, takes the cake. If the positive reviews and comments are any indication, you guys agree!

This strawberry cheesecake poke cake starts with a rich and moist vanilla cake that’s then filled with sweetened condensed milk and fresh strawberry sauce. Afterward, I finish everything off with a generous layer of fluffy cream cheese frosting for the perfect hint of cheesecake tang. This poke cake is a bit like the sophisticated cousin of my totally retro strawberry jello poke cake, and it’s just as mouthwatering.

Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Poke Cake Recipe

  • Convenient. Make this cake with a boxed vanilla cake or whip up my easy vanilla cake recipe. Either way, this strawberry poke cake is delicious! Poke cakes are also famously make-ahead friendly, and this one is no exception.
  • Fresh strawberry flavor. For the topping, I make an easy homemade strawberry sauce with fresh strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar. If you’d prefer you can use a premade fruity topping. But the flavor of homemade is second to none.
  • The most incredible frosting. Skip the traditional whipped cream. This whipped cream cheese frosting is insanely rich and creamy and pairs perfectly with strawberries. It’s similar to whipped cream, only a little sweeter, tangier, and more stabilized (just like a cheesecake!).
a carton of strawberries from the side

Key Ingredients

The ingredients for this strawberry poke cake couldn’t be easier! Below, I go over some of the main ingredients you’ll need. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe details.

  • Vanilla Cake Mix – Using a boxed cake mix makes this recipe super convenient. It’s perfect if you’re in a hurry! You can use any brand of boxed vanilla cake mix you prefer, and don’t forget to buy any additional ingredients listed on the box. Alternatively, you can use my recipe for homemade vanilla cake, which I link to in the recipe card notes.
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Make sure that you’re using the sweetened kind and not regular condensed milk.
  • Strawberries – I fill my cake with a simple homemade strawberry sauce (which I include in the full recipe). You can make the sauce with fresh or frozen strawberries.
  • Lemon Juice – Lemon juice brightens up the strawberry sauce and helps to break down the berries along with the sugar.
  • Cream Cheese – For the cream cheese frosting. I recommend using full-fat cream cheese that comes in blocks (vs. the spreadable kind that comes in tubs).
  • Whipping Cream – Like your cream cheese, full-fat heavy cream is best and yields an ultra-creamy, smooth frosting.

How to Make This Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

This poke cake is made up of three simple components that come together super easily! Here’s how you’ll make this fruity dessert filled with the flavors of strawberries and cream.

  • Bake the cake: Prepare your vanilla cake batter according to the instructions on the box. Afterward, add the batter to a 9×13″ baking dish. Bake at 350ºF for 20-22 minutes, and then allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Poke the holes: Once the cake has cooled slightly, use the handle of a wooden spoon (or something similar in size) to poke holes over the top of the cake.
  • Add the filling: Next, pour sweetened condensed milk onto the cake and spread it over the holes. Place the poke cake into the fridge to chill.
  • Prepare the strawberry sauce: In a large enough saucepan, toss your rinsed and chopped strawberries with sugar and flour. Next, stir in water and lemon juice, and bring the berries to a boil. Gently mash the mixture, and keep it simmering until it thickens. Let the sauce cool off a bit before pouring it over the cake.
  • Prepare the whipped cream. Chill your bowl in the freezer beforehand. Add the cream cheese to your cold bowl and beat until smooth. Gradually stream in the heavy cream until you reach a liquid consistency, and then beat the mixture to soft peaks. Finally, beat in the powdered sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Add the topping: Spread the cream cheese whipped cream over the cake right away, and refrigerate the cake until serving.
a slice of strawberry poke cake on a plate with a fork and strawberries in the background

What’s the Best Way to Poke Holes in a Cake?

I find the easiest tool to use to poke a cake is the handle end of a wooden spoon. It makes holes that are just the right size to absorb all of that delicious moisture from the sweetened condensed milk.

Simply hold the spoon and poke holes all over the cake, just deep enough to infuse the inside of the cake with moisture and flavor. Don’t forget to do this while the cake is still warm!

If you don’t have a wooden spoon, another option is to use a fork to make lots of smaller holes in the top of the cake.

Recipe Tips

Poke cakes are wonderfully simple recipes that pack in tons of flavor. Here are my tips for the best strawberry cheesecake poke cake

  • To prevent a lumpy frosting, First beat the cream cheese until it’s smooth and free of lumps. Slowly adding the cream, allowing the cream cheese to reach a liquid consistency will prevent a lumpy frosting.
  • Fresh vs frozen strawberries: While I usually use fresh strawberries, you can certainly use frozen as well. I recommend buying them already chopped so they cook more quickly in the sauce.
  • Try another fruit sauce. This strawberry sauce recipe works great with other fruit as well. Try blueberries, raspberries, or even peaches! And if you’re short on time or if you’d prefer, go ahead and use a store-bought fruit sauce instead.
  • Prepare the cake in advance. Poke cakes are one of the best desserts to prepare ahead of time because they just get better as they sit. See below for easy make-ahead tips and storage instructions!

a slice of strawberry cake with a bite taken out on a plate

How to Make Ahead and Store Leftovers

  • Prepare ahead: You can bake, poke, fill, and top the cake and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days before serving. Another option is to bake the cake a day or two ahead of time, and then store it airtight at room temperature. Add the filling and topping and then refrigerate the finished cake for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Storing: Your strawberry cheesecake poke cake will last in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Freezing: Avoid freezing the final, finished poke cake. Instead, bake the cake, allow it to cool, and then wrap it tightly to store in the freezer. The frozen cake can be thawed at room temperature, filled, and then topped with whipped cream.

More Strawberry Desserts to Try

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closeup of a slice of strawberry poke cake on a plate

Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 21 reviews
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 15 slices
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


This Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake is a rich and moist vanilla cake drenched with creamy filling, topped with fresh homemade strawberry sauce and whipped cream cheese frosting. 


For the Cake

  • 1 box (15oz) White or vanilla cake mix 
  • 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 topping

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


For the cake:

  1. 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 (refer to the make mix for instructions, in my oven it’s for 20-25 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. Once the cake has cooled, 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. Chill until the strawberry sauce is ready. 

For the Strawberry Sauce:

  1. Rinse the strawberries and chop into quarters and again in half.
  2. In a medium-sized sauce pan, combine strawberries with the flour and sugar, toss to combine. Add the water and lemon juice; stir well.
  3. 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.

For the Topping:

  1. Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill.
  2. Spoon the cold cream cream into the bowl and beat on a medium-low speed (speed 3 on your stand mixer). Slowly pour in the heavy cream, about 1/4-1/2 cup, allowing the cream cheese to turn to a liquid consistency. Then adding the remaining heavy cream. Increase the mixing speed to high (speed 8-10) and beat it until soft peaks form.
  3. Next, add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, beating on low until sugar is incorporated. Then continue beating at a high speed until stiff peaks form. Use immediately and keep refrigerated.


  • If you’d like to make a homemade cake, try my Vanilla Cake Recipe
  • Storage instructions: A fully assembled poke cake will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 days.
  • How to prepare in advance: The baked, unfilled cake can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container. Add the filling and topping and chill for 2 hours. 


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 504
  • Sugar: 53.5g
  • Sodium: 305.5mg
  • Fat: 24.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 15.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 66.1g
  • Fiber: 0.6g
  • Protein: 6.8g
  • Cholesterol: 82.7mg

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120 thoughts on “Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake”

  1. Avatar photo
    Darlene Bobik

    Had trouble with the cream cheese, whipped cream topping, did not set up. Measurements were precise and instructions were followed. Can you please let me know what the problem might be.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Darlene, did you use a block of full-fat cream cheese? And did you have a stand mixer or hand mixer? A stand mixer is very helpful I do think sometime people tend to undermix this, so it doesn’t set properly.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      What do you mean by strawberry filling? Like a premade pie filling? Yes a pie filling would work

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      You must have missed the part where I suggest a homemade vanilla cake instead of a cake mix but thanks!

    2. I love pointless negative reviews. I made this recipe last year for the first time (with a boxed cake *gasp*) for my mom’s birthday, who has always made everything from scratch. This was such an incredible hit that both of my sisters and 2 of my nieces asked for it for their birthday’s as well. Even 6 months later they still couldn’t wait for this cake! Absolutely delicious. The words “This is the best cake I have ever had!” came out of both my brother-in-laws mouths. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

      1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        Beyond Frosting

        Hi Rachel! Thank you so much for sharing. This is amazing and I have to agree with their reviews 🙂

  2. This recipe is amazing I made it for my Mom’s 78th Birthday and she loved it. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I made this a couple weeks ago using huckleberries instead of strawberries. It was delicious. It was for a birthday, everyone loved the gooey. Another day I will use strawberries. Today I am using this wonderful topping to frost my huckleberry cake for another granddaughters birthday. If you can’t tell, I live in north Idaho and have abundant huckleberries. Thank you for a terrific recipe. ❤

  4. My sister made this for my birthday, and it was delicious! She requested it for her birthday too. 🙂

  5. 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. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      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.

  6. This looks so yummy! One question, would your moist vanilla cake recipe work instead of the cake mix?

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

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

  7. 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. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      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!

  8. 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. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Theresa- up to 1 teaspoons, it’s optional though. Thank you for pointing this out so I can correct it!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      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.

  9. 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. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
        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.

  10. 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!!

  11. 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!!!

  12. 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.