Jello Poke Cake

Cake with jello drizzles poked throughout, and topped with a smooth layer of whipped cream! This light and cool Jello Poke Cake recipe is always a crowd favorite.

It’s one of our favorite summer desserts! Not only is it cool and light, but it’s topped with whipped cream. Be sure to check out some of our other poke cake variations including banana pudding poke cake and Boston cream poke cake.

Jello Cake on white plate

Strawberry jello Cake

I have fond memories of family gatherings and parties that involve this long-time-family-favorite dessert – Jello Poke Cake (we love it so much we’ve made so many variations on the site you can find HERE).

While it’s absolutely unparalleled at BBQ’s and summer parties because of its cool and creamy texture… Let’s be honest – I crave it year round.

Picture this: a delicious cake with fruity jello poked throughout, and topped with a smooth layer of whipped cream. Needless to say, it’s always a crowd favorite.

What’s awesome is that you can change out the flavor of jello depending on your mood. We almost always use strawberry, but our other favorites are raspberry and cherry. I’ve also done lime, blue raspberry and orange before, but those are definitely a little more adventurous!

Poke Cake in pan

How to make Jello Cake

This Jello cake is really so simple, which is probably why we make it ALL the time.

CAKE. Begin by making your cake (whether you make one from scratch, or use a box mix – either one is perfect!) Once the cake is slightly cooled, poke holes with a fork at ½ inch intervals.

JELLO. From there, make your jello as you regularly would according to the box, and then carefully pour it over the cake, making sure it gets in all the holes you previously made.

CHILL. Chill the cake for a few hours and top with whipped cream right before serving, and you’re set! So easy and SO delicious!

Tips for poke cake:

  • You can use a cake made from scratch, a box cake, or a store bought cake.
  • White cake pairs well with all flavors of jello
  • Add a layer of similar pie filling to the top of the cake then top that with whip cream. Such as strawberry jello with strawberry pie filling
  • For a nice clean slice, wipe the knife after each cut.

How long does it take for the jello to set? It won’t set up like normal gelatin does, but it will take at least a few hours for the jello to soak into the cake and cool completely. So plan ahead when making this poke cake!

How to speed up the cook time: You can speed up the time it takes to make this dish a couple of ways.

  • First, you can buy a pre-made, unfrosted white cake at a local bakery.
  • Second, stick the cake in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. Long enough to set the jello, but not freeze the cake.

How to make jello cake


Can I make poke cupcakes? Absolutely! Instead of making a 9×13 cake make cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Once the cupcakes have cooled poke them with a fork or skewer, use a soup spoon to drizzle jello into the holes and chill

Can I use chocolate cake mix? Of course. This recipe can be used to make any flavor of cake mix and pair it with a complimentary flavor. Such as chocolate cake with raspberry or black cherry jello.

How do I store poke cake?

  • Refrigerate: Because of the jello, keep the cake chilled. Tightly cover the cake and keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
  • Freeze: To freeze, wrap cake with plastic wrap, then again with aluminum foil. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.

Note: If the cake is frosted, then you’ll need to flash freeze it first. You do this by placing individual pieces on a baking sheet, making sure they are not touching. Freeze for 2-3 hours, or until the outside is frozen, then wrap in plastic and foil, label and return to the freezer.

poke cake recipes

more Poke Cake delicious-ness

We love poke cakes so much we have a large variety here on the site. Something about having a delicious filling or jello poked through out the cake makes it irresistible. Here are some of our favorites on the site:

Jello Poke Cake on white plate

I know you’ll love this simple, cool, and delicious treat! It’s also pretty light and not as decadent as some of the chocolate treats we make, which is another reason why I love it so much. 😉

For more cool cake recipes, check out:

Jello Poke Cake Recipe

4.87 from 46 votes
I Love Jello Poke Cake! I Went With Raspberry Here, But You Can Easily Make A Cherry Or A Strawberry Poke Cake.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 15
Calories 150 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 1 white cake mix box and any ingredients listed on box
  • 1 3.3 oz jello mix raspberry, cherry or strawberry
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tub Cool Whip or Homemade Whipped Topping


  • Prepare cake mix as directed and bake in a 9x13 pan. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Poke cake with fork at ½ inch intervals.
  • Prepare jell-o as directed. Spoon over cake mix until jell-o liquid is all gone.
  • Chill 3 to 4 hours and top with whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. ENJOY!


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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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  1. Way back when I made this cake for the kids family and of course me. I thought the jello was made with less water so as to gel more quickly and not break down the cake. What do you say have you heard of this??

    Joy Goyette
    California Gal

    1. I have not heard of that before. Have you tried making the jello with less water for this poke cake? If so, I would love to hear how it turned out and if it made the cake more firm. Let me know. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    Made this cake with cherry jello using canned bing cherry juice for part of the cold liquid. Put drained bing cherries on top of the cool whip. Yum!

  3. Been making this cake for years. It’s light and cool. Although I make it year round, summer when it’s hot is the perfect time. It’s always a hit. Marble cake mix is also good and any flavor jello works. Our favorite is white cake and raspberry jello.
    Pretty sure I have the “original” recipe. Topping calls for instant vanilla pudding ( I’ve substituted chocolate too) “dream whip” boxed topping and 1 1/2 cups cold milk. Splash of vanilla. Whip it up. I’m not a fan of cool whip. And to be honest the pudding topping is so yummy I usually double it. I know, my bad!

    1. I like to mix about 1/3 of container of ready mix strawberry or your voice of flavor frosting with cool whip. Just frost and refrigerate to let jello to set.

  4. I did make this cake with raspberry jello a couple of weeks ago and it was a hit. My mother used to make jello cakes and take to family events. My husband then made this cake after me with blueberry jello. Family loved that!!

    1. Ooh the raspberry and the blueberry both sound delicious. I love how versatile the cake can be with all the different flavors. So glad you enjoyed the cake!

  5. I just got done baking this cake and pouring the jell-o over the top and popped it into the refrigerator to cool. I used to make this cake in the 80’s when my children were small. I haven’t made a cake from a box in years. It didn’t seem like there was enough batter for a 9×13 cake. It seems thinner than they used to be. I’m sure it will taste good, but if I ever make it again I will use 2 boxes of cake mix and make some cupcakes with the leftover batter. Or make the cake from scratch. I know the amount of batter is not what a 9”x13” pan holds. Anyway I’m sure it will be delicious. I’m making it with real whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Yum.

    1. Mmmm I bet that real whipped cream and fresh strawberries took it to the next level. Sounds amazing! I wonder if they have changed the amount of cake mix in the boxes compared to what they used to have in the 80’s? Not sure. Thanks for giving the recipe a try!

  6. I’m going to try making this cake with Orange Jell-o and spreading Orange Marmalade on top of cake with whipped cream before serving. If anyone knows why this shouldn’t work, please email me.

    1. I imagine it will work just fine! I have switched up the flavors in the cake before and it’s fun to see how versatile it is. Excited to hear how the orange turns out!

  7. 5 stars
    I made this cake years ago, and I used the quick set directions for the Jello. It makes the Jello just a little bit thicker so that it doesn’t all run to the bottom of the cake and it doesn’t make it soggy.

  8. I have a question about jello poke cake can you make the jello prior to making the cake so the jello dissolves while the cake is baking and how much water do you use between a hot and cold

    1. I wouldn’t suggest making the jello first. The recipe will work best if the cake is baked first, then poke holes in and pour the liquid jello over the top. Then to let it set/chill in the fridge. For the water, you’ll use 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup of cold water.

    1. Absolutely! Instead of making a 9×13 cake, you can make cupcakes according to the directions on the box. Once the cupcakes have cooled, poke them with a fork or skewer, use a soup spoon to drizzle jello into the holes and then chill.

  9. Would like to make peach cake with raspberry jello – peach melba ! Would like to use small chunks of peach in cale – anybody ever tried this and how did it come out?

    1. I haven’t tried the raspberry jello with peach chunks in the cake, but I’d love to hear how it turns out if you give it a try!

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