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

VARIATIONS & STORING

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:

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Jello Poke Cake Recipe

4.93 from 38 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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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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Comments:

  1. That pink looks perfect for Valentine’s Day! I’ve never had a cake like this. Does it make the cake soggy?

    1. The cake came out very soggy. I had made this cake many years ago and it wasn’t soggy at all. It wasn’t this recipe. Don’t remember how much of the Jello mixture I ised, but I will DEFINITELY not use all of the liquid tHe next time I make this cake. Very disappointed. The cake mix I used was Duncan Hines SupEr MoIst classic white.

      1. I am sorry it was. I have never had it turn out soggy, so I am not sure what happened. Thank you for trying it!

    1. 5 stars
      jUST THE THREE OZ. BOX. bUT IF YOU HAVE THE LARGER BOX, SIMPLY USE TWO CUPS AND LET THE OTHER TWO CUPS SET AS REGULAR JELLO.

  2. Love your Poke cake……..if you’d like to expand the recipe try taking a big spoon and pouring in hot pudding first into holes you make in the cake. Then pour the jello all over and refrigerate. Yummie and smooth. Perfect for summer time

  3. Do you let the jello set up at all before pouring it on the cake? Mine totally absorbed into the cake and never solidified in the holes- even after a few hours. My cake was cool. The flavors were awesome so I am determined to find out where I went wrong and try it again. Thanks!

  4. What size cake mix & box of jello is required. Also what is the serving size. I look forward to your response.
    Thank you,
    Gee

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve had this yummy recipe so many times at events. I hadn’t realized it was so easy to make until finding the recipe here. Thanks for sharing

  6. 5 stars
    This is one of our favorite go-to desserts! It’s light & fluffy, easy to make, & so tasty! It’s the perfect summer dessert!

  7. 2 stars
    13.3 oz of jello? Is that correct?seems like a lot of jello. Most recipes that i looked up called for 3oz of jello. So is your recipe correCt? I want to make it for mothers day!!

    1. It is 1 (3.3oz) box 🙂 Sorry, to have not responded sooner. Hopefully, you tried it & it worked out!

  8. 5 stars
    Love this simple dessert that everybody likes. Its a Favorite during the summer because its cool and light!

  9. 5 stars
    I made this dessert for easter and it was so good, simple and refreshing. This is a great recipe for summertime! I can’t wait to make it again!

  10. 5 stars
    I make the cake as described, but I vary the icing. I let the cool whip thaw until it is a creamy consistency. I add in 1 box of instant vanilla pudding mix an 1 cup of milk. Blend well. Spread a couple hours before serving, so it has time to set up in the fridge. It makes a super creamy frosting, that has a ton of flavor. (You could use instant chocolate pudding if you wanted chocolate covered strawberry jello cake). Enjoy!

  11. I have a wuestion i made my cake put the jello into it when i cut into it i seen i didnt put nearly enough jello into it could i add more jello to it

  12. I did orange jello but when making cake added orange juice insTed off water also cool whip added instant pudding mix with 1cup of milk

  13. This is the first time trying making a poke cake my kids are grown so I’m making it for their step dad. I hope it turns out ok. Question though, I’m not putting a topping on it is it still going to be moist and yummy? ? Hoping so I. Missouri lol thank you for your help✌

    1. Yes, it will still be moist & yummy! I haven’t tried leaving the topping off, but I am sure it will still be great!

  14. 5 stars
    This cake was super moist and easy to make. Instead of plain whipped topping i used a pack of VANILLA pudding, 1 cup of milk and 4oz of whipped topping to make a light and fluffy flavored icing. It was a hit in my house!

  15. 5 stars
    My sons absolute favorite cake! I combine one 3 oz box of prepared instant vanilla pudding with the cool whip for the topping… makes it absolutely amazing !! You will not be disappointed!

    1. It’s my favorite! I don’t allow pics from others to get uploaded on here, I’m sorry! But, I believe it’s a pretty cake!

  16. 5 stars
    I fIrst made this cake years ago fOr my husband to take to his Christmas Party At work. Everybody there loved it he said! He brought home a cleaned empty baking dish. The next time i wanted to make the Jello poke cake, i couldn’t find my recipe. I have not made it sincE. That was in the 1970’s. I am thrilled to have fOund the recipe once agAin and i Will be sure to never lose it!!! Fyi FOr christmas i used cherry and lime jello, and after MakiNg round holes with the handLe of a wooden spoon, i First Poured the cherry flavor over the top in a Zig-zag pattern. Then i poured the lime flavor over the part of the cake top i had not poured with the cherry. I used all of bOth flAvors. Into the fridge to get it nice and cold. Then i spread the Cool whip All over the top of the cake and put it back Into the fridGe. That was the Day before the Christmas parTy. My hubby told me that it taSted delicious and it was reAl ChrIstmassy lookIng, especially after it was sliced into square pieces. I decorated the top with a sprinkling of snowflake marshmallows, bUt i haven’t seen those in years. This is a fun cake to mAke and eAt!

  17. I going to make this right now and my friends told me this was a great cake to make with any jello favor

      1. 5 stars
        I inherited this recipe from my mom 20 years ago when it was shown as a two layer round cake with one layer cherry and one layer lime — for christmas — with Cool-whip between the layers, on the sides, and on the top. However using a fork never got enough Jell-o into the cake and using a wooden spoon handle mushed the cake at the bottom of the holes. My solution was to use a use a straw. And since the straw can result in a thin layer of Jell-o on the bottom of the cake pan, I flip over cake then “ice” the upside-down cake. I’ve made it in round layers, square layers, and 9×13 single layer. Whatever version, it always turns out to be a crowd pleaser.

  18. Hi Kristyn…I thought I had tried all the oldies. since I was born in 1961 I spent a lot of time with my grandma…she Was a wizard with all jelo fun things in the day! I try to limit extra sugar when and where most of the time…can this dessert be made with the sugar free jelo mixs?

  19. 5 stars
    First time making this yummy treat!
    I used sugar free cherry jello mix (the smaller box) WHICH yields 2 cups like the original recipe…it was killer moist and oh so yummy good. I’ll keep it on top of my festive, easy, flexible FLAVORed cake recipes. I’m really surprised I don’t recall my grandma making this for me when I was a little kid in the 60s…she was a jello wizard

  20. I wanted to make this but stores no longer sell a 13.3 0z box of Jello. I esp wanted to make it with sugar free Jello, and again no Jello is that size. I had to but 0.3 oz package and try to figure out how much I need and ended up with 4 times the amount! This receipee need to be changed!

    1. 5 stars
      Easy to make and it was yummy. I used strawberry jello. I also mixed the cool whip with strawberry frosting and iced the top.

  21. My Gran used to make this cake but before she poured the cake mix into the pan she would put in pie filling or fruit pieces. An example-Cherry pie filling, then yellow cake mix, bake then use cherry jello, Mandarine oranges with orange jello etc.. Always a huge hit at family gatherings. Now I just need to figure out if home made vegan jello will work in the recipe. Any cake mix can be done vegan.

    1. I love using different flavors 🙂 That’s a good question…if you try it, you will have to let me know 🙂

    1. Can the jello poke cake be done in layers and Use cool whip in between the layers without the layers sliding off each other?

      1. I haven’t tried layering jello poke cake but I think it’d be worth a try. If your layers aren’t too thick then the cool whip in between the layers wouldn’t slide as easily. Let me know how it goes if you try layering. I would love to hear how it turned out!

  22. What if you use 6 ounce (large) jello and just add the 1 cup of boiling and one cup of cold water to it? Will it gel properly? I didn’t realize that I was using the wrong size jello. Will it taste sweeter or heavier?

  23. I did a similar cake…..i used the box orange cake..then used orange jello. For frosting i did a small box of instant vanilla pudding mixed with 1 cup of milk instead of 2…and one big container of cool-whip…..just like a orange dream cicle

      1. 5 stars
        I grew up on this cake. It’s awesome! My mom made different variations .We didn’t have tons of junk foods like kids do these days. So when mom made cakes & pies we loved it. That was our junk food. Simpler times better days! Thanks for sharing I haven’t made this in years.

  24. Since I only had a 6 oz box of raspberry jello I made it according to the directions but only used half of it. It’s in the fridge so we will see.

  25. I am always asked to make my cherry poke cake which uses cherry jello, 1 package of cream cheese whipped and then folded into the Cool Whip and topped with can of cherry pie filing.

  26. 5 stars
    I made a white 9″ round cake with lemon Jell-O and my own lemon frosting and it turned out beautifully. I have a total winner at home. I made it Sunday for Easter and it was gone on Monday 😁 wish I could share pictures

  27. Most jello cake recipes only call for hot water in jello. Yours calls for both hot and cold. Just was wondering why.

    1. This jello poke cake calls for both hot and cold water as opposed to some others. I liked how the texture turned out with this method. The instructions in the recipe calls for making your jello as you regularly would according to the box. The box directions call for 1 cup boiling water and 1 cup cold water so we just mixed the jello like you would normally. Hope this helps!

  28. I’ve been making the poke cake since he 1960’s except for a health and fitness faze in the late 90’s. The concept of poking the cake top comes from the use of a wooden spoon handle used. A fork doesn’t make a big enough well for the jello to fill. The jello puddles in thew hole and makes pools of color.

    1. How fun that you have been making poke cake for many years! A wooden spoon is a great way to poke the holes too. Thanks for the suggestion.

  29. Our Sewing Club in Rockingham ,West Australia does a Charity For Breast Cancer every year and this year it’s on May 27 -We call it .”Breast Cancer Morning Tea “and we have raffles of gifts that we make or buy for it and provide deserts and coffee or tea for those who come .I saw this recipe and it having that pinkish look .I thought the cherry jello would work great for the event. So I’ll let you know what the girls thought of it afterwards

    1. Oh yes, please do! I’d love to hear the response. The event sounds incredible too. Hope it turns out well this year!

  30. My family has made this for years. The only difference is that we put a layer of tapioca pudding down on the cake, then a layer of cool whip- yummo!!!!!!!