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Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

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Strawberry Jello poke cake is a retro strawberry dessert made from rich vanilla cake, sweet Strawberry Jello, and fluffy whipped cream. Make your cake from scratch or use your favorite boxed cake mix!

Looking for a poke cake recipe you can’t live without? Check out my 15 irresistible poke cakes!

Easy Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

If you’ve been following this blog, you know how much I love a good poke cake. This strawberry jello poke cake is a true classic, and it’s one of my favorites! In a sea of poke cakes filled with pudding mix, this time I kicked it old-school and filled my cake with sweet and tangy Strawberry Jello.

Afterward, I topped the whole cake with a thick layer of whipped cream, fresh berries, and sprinkles. It’s that easy! You can serve this cake for holidays, birthday parties, baby showers, or any other occasion. Poke cakes are especially great in the summertime as they’re served cold. The strawberry flavor is so refreshing!

Why You’ll Love This Strawberry Poke Cake Recipe

  • Easy to make. The vanilla cake batter comes together in a snap, whether it’s homemade or made with a cake mix.
  • Versatile. I love putting my own spin on my favorite poke cake recipes, and you can, too. The flavor combinations for this classic poke cake recipe are endless.
  • Family-friendly. There are so many occasions for a fresh, berry-licious poke cake. Because they’re baked in 9×13 pans, poke cakes are the perfect crowd-friendly desserts.
A close up shot of a slice of jello poke cake, showing the red jello inside the cake.

Why Is It Called a Poke Cake?

A poke cake, also called a poke-and-pour cake, is a cake recipe that originated in the 1970s. These retro desserts are made by poking holes into the top of a freshly baked cake and pouring over a filling – originally Strawberry Jell-O. Nowadays, you’ll find poke cakes filled with everything from pudding to caramel sauce, fudge to sweetened condensed milk.

I have so many poke cake recipes on my blog, from chocolate poke cake to better-than-sex cake. And I love this homemade version of the classic Strawberry Jello poke cake!

Key Ingredients

I use my favorite vanilla cake as the base for this recipe. If baking from scratch is not your strong suit, you can definitely use a vanilla cake mix instead. Below, you’ll find a quick overview with notes about the key ingredients. Make sure to scroll to the recipe card with the full amounts and recipe instructions.

  • Oil and Sour Cream – Cakes made with vegetable oil (or coconut oil) are extra light and tender, and sour cream brings even more moisture to the crumb. These two ingredients are my not-so-secret weapons for the best cakes and cupcakes. If you don’t have sour cream, use Greek yogurt instead.
  • Flour – I make this cake with all-purpose. However, I’ve also successfully tested this recipe with one-for-one gluten-free flour. 
  • Vanilla – Use high-quality real vanilla extract for this recipe. You’ll taste the difference between the real deal and imitation! 
  • Instant Strawberry Jell-O – I make this version with instant Strawberry Jell-O. But you can use any flavor of Jello mix you’d like: raspberry, cherry, lemon, you name it.
  • Whipped Cream – I include my recipe for homemade whipped cream, but you can also use Cool Whip. 

How to Make a Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

This strawberry jello poke cake is so easy, you’re going to be looking for excuses to whip it up on any given day. Here’s how to make it:

  • Prepare the cake batter. First, beat sugar together with the oil and wet ingredients, followed by sour cream. Mix the dry ingredients separately, then add them to the batter, alternating with milk until combined.
  • Bake. Add the batter to a 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350ºF for 28-32 minutes. Afterward, allow the cake to cool before you poke the holes.
  • Fill the cake. Using a fork or the back of a wooden spoon, poke holes into the top of the baked cake. Next, whisk your jello mix into hot water, then pour the liquid all over the cake. Place the cake into the fridge, covered, to chill for 2 hours and set the jello.
  • Add the whipped cream. Beat heavy cream in a cold mixing bowl until thickened. Gradually add powdered sugar while continuing to beat the cream into stiff peaks. Finally, spread the whipped cream over the cake, garnish with fruit, and serve.

Tips for Success

I’ll warn you now: Once you’ve baked your first poke cake, it’s easy to become obsessed. These cakes are so easy. Here are some last-minute tips to ensure the best results:

  • To tell if your cake is baked through, test for doneness using the toothpick test. Stick a toothpick into the center of the cake, and if it comes out clean, the cake is done.
  • Frost the cake right before serving. You can make this cake up to 2 days ahead, though I recommend waiting to add the whipped topping just before serving.
  • Don’t poke all the way through. Make sure to only pierce the cake about halfway through. Otherwise, the liquid jello will run right through and into the bottom of the cake.
  • Chill your tools when making whipped cream. Cold tools are key to perfect whipped cream! Chill the mixing bowl and your stand mixer’s whisk attachment in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before you start. Also, be sure that the cream you’re using is chilled from the fridge.
A forkful of strawberry jello poke cake held in front of a slice of cake on a white plate.

Recipe Variations

Looking to put your own twist on this homemade poke cake? Try these easy variations:

  • Different Whipped Cream – Top this cake with another flavored whipped cream. Strawberry whipped cream would be amazing, or try this mascarpone whipped cream for a sweet, tangy twist.
  • Lemon Cake – Use a lemon cake as the base, and make a fresh and zesty lemon poke cake with strawberry jello filling.
  • Strawberry Cheesecake – Try my strawberry cheesecake poke cake for a fun, creamy twist on this classic poke cake.
  • Cupcakes – Turn your poke cake into cupcakes! Make a batch of vanilla cupcakes, poke holes in the tops (not all the way through), fill, and then frost. You’ll need to be a bit more limited with the amount of jello you pour over, though.
A slice of jello poke cake on a white plate, with a polka dot napkin.

How to Store a Poke Cake

  • Fridge. Store your finished jello poke cake airtight in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Freezer. When it comes to jello poke cakes, I recommend freezing the baked cake prior to filling and frosting it. Store the cake airtight and freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost the cake in the fridge, poke holes, then fill and frost as directed.

More Poke Cake Recipes to Try

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Side view of a slice of poke cake on a plate, showing the red jello on the inside, garnished with a strawberry.

Strawberry Jello 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

Description

Strawberry Jello poke cake is an easy strawberry dessert made from rich vanilla cake, sweet Strawberry Jello, and fluffy whipped cream. Make your cake from scratch or use your favorite boxed cake mix!

Ingredients

For the cake:

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

For the toppings:

  • 1 package (3.4oz) instant Strawberry Jello
  • 3/4 cups (177ml) hot water
  • 1 ½ cups (354ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (81g) powdered sugar
  • Fresh strawberries for garnish

Instructions

  1. 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 the 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. Pour the batter into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 28-32 minutes. 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 completely.
  6. Take a fork and poke holes over the top of the cake.
  7. For the filling: In a small mixing bowl, combine the instant jello with the water and whisk together until the powdered mix is dissolved.
  8. Pour the liquid pudding mix over top of the cake, and try to fill the holes with the pudding mix. Refrigerate the cake until the pudding is firm, about 10 minutes.
  9. For the whipped topping: Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill
  10. 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 to soft peaks.
  11. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks start to form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake. Garnish with fresh strawberries.

Notes

  • You can use a cake mix instead of making a homemade vanilla cake
  • 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.
  • Jello mix: If you can’t find instant strawberry jello, you can use an alternative flavor or you can use cook and serve, but the jello should be poured over the cake when it’s a liquid consistency.
  • For the topping: Substitute Cool Whip for the topping instead of making whipped cream.
  • 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 topping has been added. If your cake pan doesn’t have a lid, tightly wrap it in plastic.
Nutrition Information:
1 slice
360
38g
217mg
13.6g
9.5g
55.7g
.6g
5g
54mg
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: strawberry jello poke cake, strawberry jello cake, poke cake recipe

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2 Responses
  1. Erin

    This looks amaaaaaazing, Julianne! A woman who was a grandmother figure in my life used to make this cake and let my sister and I pour the Jello overtop. Good memories 🙂 I have an unopened package of strawberry Jello in my pantry right now, so as soon as our oven is fixed…I’ll need to make this!

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