Are you a lemon dessert lover? This super-moist lemon poke cake with pudding is an easy lemon dessert recipe perfect for any occasion. This lemon Jello cake is made with a simple cake mix, along with lemon Jello, lemon pudding and Cool Whip.
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What is a poke cake?
A poke cake a cake that has been baked in a 9 x13″ pan. Holes are poked into the cake and Jello and pudding is poured into the cake as a filling. A poke cake is a great way to add extra flavor and deliciousness to a simple cake mix. This lemon version is made with both lemon Jello and lemon pudding.
Topped with creamy whipped topping, this poke cake is a fantastic as a spring or summer dessert. It’s also excellent for a summer cookout, potluck or backyard barbecue.
In this post I’ll show you exactly how to make a poke cake, what ingredients you’ll need and the best way to store a lemon poke cake.
What do I need to make a lemon poke cake?
- White cake mix – a simple white boxed cake mix that you would find in the baking section of the grocery store is ideal for this recipe.
- Egg whites – you’ll prepare the white cake mix as directed on the box. For this you’ll need egg whites.
- Vegetable oil – this is also a necessary ingredient in baking the cake. You can also use unflavored coconut oil.
- Water – necessary to make the batter for the cake.
- Lemon Jell-o mix – the lemon Jell-o is prepared with water and poured into the holes of the cake. Creates a fantastic lemon flavor in the cake.
- Lemon pudding mix – this is found with the Jell-o mixes.
- Milk – necessary for preparing the lemon pudding.
- Cool Whip whipped topping OR homemade Cool Whip – this is used as a topping for the dessert. Cool whip is found in the frozen foods section of the grocery store, in the dessert section. If using Cool Whip, make sure it is completely thawed before making your poke cake.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe. Thanks!
How do I make a poke cake?
Start by baking the white cake mix in a 9 x 13″ pan, according to package directions.
Once the cake has cooled for 10-15 minutes, use a straw to poke small holes every inch.
Prepare the lemon Jell-o mix, then pour the liquid Jell-o into the holes of the cake. Cover and refrigerate the Jell-o cake. Once the cake has chilled with the Jell-o, mix the lemon pudding with the milk.
Spread the lemon pudding over the chilled cake, and gently press the pudding into the holes of the cake.
Lastly, top the pudding layer with Cool Whip topping. Chill the cake before serving. Serve individual slices with fresh lemon slices and/or fresh berries.
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Ingredient Substitutions and Recommendations for lemon Jello cake:
- White Cake Mix – if you prefer, you could use a yellow or lemon cake mix instead of white.
- Jell-o options – instead of using lemon Jell-o, feel free to swap out another flavor, like strawberry, cherry or raspberry Jell-o for a great contrasting flavor. Serve with fresh berries.
- Cool Whip – instead of store-bought Cool Whip, you could definitely make your own stabilized whipped cream. I have a great recipe for Homemade Cool Whip, which has no unhealthy oils, but will stay firm on a dessert.
Frequently asked questions about making a lemon poke cake with pudding:
It is called poke cake, as holes are “poked” into a cake with the end of a wooden spoon or straw. The holes are then filled with Jell-o and or pudding filling. The cake is then topped with whipped topping and served chilled.
Make sure the holes are no more, or no less than one inch apart. Holes too close together will cause a mushy or soggy bottom. Holes that are too far apart won’t have much filling per slice, creating a dry or flavorless poke cake.
Yes, you can use homemade whipped cream, just make sure you’re making a stabilized whipped cream. The whipped cream will be chilled on top of the cake. Here is a simple, delicious recipe for stabilized whipped cream.
Try adding lemon zest to the whipped topping to give it extra lemon flavor. You can also mix in 1 teaspoon of lemon extract to the cake mix batter before baking to add extra lemon flavor.
Kept covered, poke cake will last for up to 5 days refrigerated. Lemon poke cake with pudding can be stored in the original pan it is baked in or individual slices can be stored in an airtight container.
Yes. Making a poke cake in advance of a party or holiday meal is a great time-saving option. Prepare the poke cake according to recipe directions. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Love a great poke cake recipe? Here are some of our other popular poke cakes:
- Chocolate Poke Cake
- Coconut Poke Cake
- Red Velvet OREO Poke Cake
- Pumpkin Caramel Cream Cheese Poke Cake
- Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake at Real Housemoms
If you love a great lemon dessert, check out some of these other similar posts:
For the cake:
- 1 (15.25 oz.) pkg. white cake mix
- 3 egg whites
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup water
Poke cake filling and topping:
- 1 (3 oz.) pkg., Lemon flavored Jell-o mix
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1 (3 oz.) pkg., Lemon pudding mix
- 1 1/2 cup cold milk
- 1 (8 oz.) carton, Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9 x 13" pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- Prepare the cake mix according to package directions. Using a hand or stand mixer, mix the cake mix with the egg whites, oil and water. Batter should be well-mixed and smooth with no lumps. Pour into prepared pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 30-33 minutes or until golden brown. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean and crumb-free it is done.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.
- Using a straw or the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes 1" apart into the baked cake.
- Prepare the lemon Jell-o by adding the mix to the boiling water. Stir well to dissolve the mix. Add the cold water and stir. Pour the lemon Jell-o liquid into the holes of the cake, making sure all of the holes are filled.
- Refrigerate the Jell-o cake for at least 1 hour.
- Once chilled, prepare the lemon pudding mix, by mixing the cold milk with the lemon pudding mix. Once slightly thickened, pour over the top of the chilled cake, lightly pressing the pudding into the holes.
- Top the pudding layer with the Cool Whip, evenly covering the top of the cake. Chill for another 30 minutes.
- Chill the cake in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Cut into 20 squares. Serve with fresh berries and/or lemon slices.
Cake will keep for up to 5 days refrigerated. Keep covered with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 85Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g