Strawberry Poke Cake is a moist, fresh and fun classic dessert made with a white cake mix, infused with strawberry jello, then topped with a fresh strawberry sauce and whipped topping!
Cakes that are served chilled are such a great idea for summer birthday parties. This strawberry version is a family favorite, but kids also love this Oreo Cookie Poke Cake. They’re both so easy to make, I don’t even mind making both at once!
Table of contents
Easy Poke Cake Recipe With Strawberries and Cream
As a home baker, there’s nothing better than having an abundance of easy dessert recipes to pull from. Especially in the summer when you’ve got BBQs, potlucks, and family gatherings happening. Poke cakes (aka Jello Cake) not only look mouthwatering but are so inexpensive to make and taste as good as they look!
Even though they’ve been around for years, poke cakes are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason. You get the best of both worlds! You can showcase your fresh strawberries, especially during strawberry season, it looks like you spent hours making a homemade cake, but truthfully it’s super simple, and can be made in so many flavor combinations!
This strawberries and cream poke cake is an old-fashioned sheet cake made with a white cake mix. You could actually use vanilla, but you’ll notice that it has a bit more yellow coloring to it. Once the cake is baked, it has holes poked in it giving it a chance to absorb the jello mix, allowing it to soak the cake. This helps create an incredibly moist cake. It is like a strawberry shortcake made in one dish!
It’s then topped with a layer of fresh strawberry sauce followed by whipped topping and garnished with sliced fresh strawberries. This delicious cake comes together in minutes but no one would ever know it!
Why we love this recipe
- A quick and easy cake that looks completely made from scratch. In fact, it’s so easy you could make more than one using a different flavor each time!
- It’s always a hit at parties and can easily serve a crowd
- So many customizable components to this cake. Flavor of cake (white, yellow, chocolate, red velvet, etc), flavor of jello or pudding, homemade or store bought whipped topping, you name it!
- Kid-friendly which means not only can kids have fun helping you make it, but they’ll enjoy helping you eat it too.
- Similar to Lemon Poke Cake which is another recipe we love
- White cake mix – Each will come with its own list of added ingredients. I use Duncan Hines, which requires eggs, vegetable oil, and water.
- Strawberry Jello – Will be poured into the cake itself creating a fun color contrast to the cake as well help make it super moist.
- Cool Whip topping – Thawed. Need it easily spreadable for the top layer of the cake.
- Fresh strawberries – A great opportunity to use up extra strawberries! Used for the delicious strawberry sauce, but also for adding a few on top at the very end.
- Sugar – Used to break down the strawberries which creates a sweet, thickened sauce.
- Lemon juice – A squeeze of lemon juice into the strawberry sauce adds a lovely tart balance to the sweet and rounds out the flavor.
How to Make this Poke Cake Recipe
This easy recipe will come together with just a few simple ingredients and easy-to-follow steps. The hardest part is waiting for it to chill before digging in!
Step 1: Prepare cake mix according to box directions.
Step 2: While the cake is in the oven, cook the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice on the stovetop until it has thickened and the strawberries are nice and soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3: Remove cake from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Once it has cooled, poke holes in it using the handle of a wooden spoon. Pour Jello mixture over the entire cake, allowing it to fill the holes.
Step 4: Spread the top of the cake with strawberry sauce and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. Just before serving, spread entire cake with a top layer of cool whip and additional fresh strawberries if desired.
1: Swap out the strawberry jello for vanilla pudding.
2: Make you own fresh whipped cream if desired. Beat 2 cups of cold, full fat, heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until stiff peaks form.
3. For an adult version, you could add some vodka (or otherwise) to the jello mixture before pouring it into the cake.
- Mix the jello powder with the amount of water listed on the box but leave it in liquid form.
- Use frozen strawberries in place of fresh strawberries for the sauce.
- Refrigerate without the whipped topping until ready to serve.
- Use yellow cake mix if desired.
- Leave out the strawberry sauce topping if desired and just pour the strawberry jello over the cake.
- The white cake works well with practically any flavor of jello, so next time switch it up!
- In a pinch, strawberry pie filling works in place of the strawberry sauce.
This cake can be made the day before up until the point of chilling in the fridge. Once you’ve poured in the Jello it can chill from anywhere from 2 hours to overnight. Then, once you’re ready to serve, add the top layers.
Any leftovers (yeah right) can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
This strawberry poke cake freezes very well. You want to make sure you’re transferring it straight from the fridge to the freezer, that way the whipped topping isn’t soft. Put any remaining slices in a freezer friendly bag or wrap in plastic wrap and keep frozen for up to 3 months.
Serving this cake chilled means it only ever needs to be baked once! There is no reheating necessary, so once you’ve taken it out of the freezer, allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight.
There are a couple of ways, the most popular being using the end of a wooden spoon. It creates holes big enough that allow the jello to seep through, but not too big that you end up with more jello than cake!
Some people prefer to use a fork. This might mean smaller holes, but you’ll be able to make more of them.
Easy Strawberry Poke Cake
- 1 box white cake mix 15 ounce
- 3 large eggs per Duncan Hines box
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil per Duncan Hines box
- 1 cup water per Duncan Hines box
- 1 box Strawberry Jello .3 ounce box
- 8 ounces Cool Whip topping thawed
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- ¼ cup sugar
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Prepare cake batter per the package directions
- Pour batter into a 9×13 glass baking dish and bake.
- While the cake is in the oven, add the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to a medium pot and cook for 5 minutes or until the strawberries soften and a sauce starts to thicken.
- Pour into a bowl and set aside.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Mix the jello packet (with the amount of water listed on the box) in a large measuring cup or jar for easy pouring.
- After the cake is no longer hot, poke holes all around the cake with the end of a wooden spoon.
- Pour the entire jello mixture evenly over the top of the entire cake.
- Then spread the strawberry sauce over top of the entire cake.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours to set.
- Remove from refrigerator and spread entire cake evenly with cool whip.
- Top with additional fresh strawberries if desired.