This Red White and Blue Poke Cake is one of the best patriotic desserts made simple! A boxed cake mix and two kinds of jello come together to form a deliciously moist cake topped with whipped topping and fun festive sprinkles!
Table of contents
Easy Patriotic Poke Cake
A jello cake has always been an easy dessert choice when it comes to popular desserts that everyone loves! They’re almost effortless to make using a boxed cake mix and a few simple ingredients that I can’t help but fall back on these for all kinds of special occasions!
This poke cake recipe is a way I like to bring a little something extra to my patriotic summer holidays. Of course, the red and blue jello works for Memorial day too!
It’s a delicious cake that is light and fluffy and when it’s infused with the jello it becomes incredibly moist and melts in your mouth. I top mine with a luscious whipped cream cheese frosting and colorful red white and blue sprinkles to bring it over the top, but you can decorate yours how you like!
For the Cake
- Box white cake mix: I use Betty Crocker, so the additional ingredients are per the Betty Crocker instructions. Most are very similar, but if not bake the cake according to the package directions.
- Vegetable oil, Eggs, & Water: The 3 additional ingredients needed for the boxed cake mix.
- Jello: We’re using strawberry jello and berry blue jello!
- Boiling water & cold water: Divided as both hot and cold will be used to make each type of jello. The hot water helps the powder to dissolve and the cold water helps it to set.
For the Frosting
- Cream cheese: Make sure to use cream cheese from a block and not a container. The latter has higher water content (which makes it spreadable) so it won’t set up as nicely in the frosting.
- Heavy whipping cream: Helps to lighten up the thick cream cheese into a delicious light whipped topping.
- Powdered sugar: Dissolves much smoother than granulated sugar and adds just the right amount of sweetness. Confectioner’s sugar also helps the frosting to set.
- Vanilla extract: Enhances the flavor of the frosting, mellowing out the tang of the cream cheese.
- Red, white, and blue sprinkles: Because they’re cute!
How to Make this Poke Cake Recipe
Once the cake is made, set, and chilled, it’s ready to slice and serve, revealing the patriotic colors in every bite!
Step 1: Bake the cake according to instructions, being careful not to over mix the batter. Pour the batter into a prepared baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Step 2: Once the cake has cooled completely, use the handle of a wooden spoon, or a straw, to poke holes all over the top of the cake.
Step 3: Make both jello colors, each in a separate bowl. Then suction with a straw or carefully drip it out of a measuring cup, and add the red to every other hole. Then, do the same with the blue, alternating holes. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
Step 4: Make the frosting by beating the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. I hope you remembered to bring it to room temperature first! Add in the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time and continue mixing. Add the vanilla and continue mixing.
Step 5: Whip heavy cream in a separate bowl on medium speed until stiff peaks form. This should take about 7 to 8 minutes. Then fold it into the cream cheese mixture and gently stir to combine. Spread over the entire top of the cake and decorate with sprinkles just before serving!
1: Top with fresh fruit instead of sprinkles if desired. Think cherries, strawberries, and raspberries for red. Blueberries and…blueberries? for blue!
2: You could even place fresh strawberries and blueberries lined up in the shape of the American flag if you are serving it for a patriotic occasion.
3: As you can imagine, a poke cake is completely customizable. Use a different flavor of cake, a different color of jello, or a different frosting and sprinkles for a festive cake for another special occasion.
4: An easy whipped topping replacement would be store-bought Cool Whip. It works too!
- Bring your block of cream cheese to room temperature beforehand so it’s easy to cream without leaving big clumps behind.
- Chill the bowl and beaters used for the whipped topping, either in the fridge or the freezer, to help to speed up the whipping process and form peaks in less time.
- Keep the rest of the jello for dessert tomorrow! You’ll only end up using about half of each jello mixture. Pour the remainder into a container and place it in the fridge to set.
Keep it covered in the fridge for no more than 7 days. I have a feeling it won’t last that long anyway!
Yes! If you don’t have any straws on hand, and you’re worried about using a measuring cup, try using the syringe you’ve got lying around from the last time your kid needed medicine. It works great!
What a great idea. You can add a couple of drops of food coloring to the cream cheese whipped topping. Add a few more drops until the desired color is reached.
Red White and Blue Poke Cake
For the Poke Cake
- 1 box white cake mix such as Betty Crocker
- ½ cup vegetable oil per Betty Crocker box
- 3 eggs per Betty Crocker box
- 1 cup water per Betty Crocker box
- 3.4 ounce box of Strawberry jello
- 3.4 ounce box of Berry blue jello
- 2 cups boiling water divided
- 1 cup cold water divided
For the Frosting
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Red White and Blue Patriotic Sprinkles
Making the Poke Cake
- Preheat oven to 350° F and spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cake mix, eggs, oil and water and blend well until blended well. (careful not to over mix)1 box white cake mix, ½ cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs, 1 cup water
- Pour batter into the prepared dish.
- Bake for 30-34 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and allow the cake to cool completely.
- After the cake has cooled, poke holes all over the entire the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon or a straw.
- In a medium mixing bowl, mix the strawberry jello powder mix with 1 cup of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Then stir in 1 cup cold water and mix well.3.4 ounce box of Strawberry jello
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix the berry blue jello powder mix with 1 cup of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Then stir in 1 cup cold water and mix well.3.4 ounce box of Berry blue jello
- Using a measuring up or the end of a straw dipped in jello mixture, drip the strawberry jello into every other hole on the cake. Then repeat with the blue jello in the other holes. (You can also drizzle some in between each whole on a diagonal like I did)
- Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set. You can also refrigerate overnight if desired.
Making the frosting
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed for one minute until creamy.8 ounces cream cheese
- Add the powdered sugar, ½ cup at a time and mix in until blended.2 cups powdered sugar
- Add the vanilla extract and mix for about one minute.1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a separate medium bowl, add the heavy whipping cream, and beat with the electric mixer for 7-8 minutes until stiff peaks form.1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- Add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture and gently stir to combine well
- Transfer the frosting to the cake and spread evenly over entire cake.
- Top with red white and blue patriotic sprinkles just prior to serving.