Strawberry Poke Cake

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This easy Strawberry Poke Cake recipe is a perfect for a summer party or a quick dessert on a hot day. A homemade vanilla sheet cake that after baking gets poked with holes and some strawberry Jell-O poured over it. Then top it with buttercream icing and fresh strawberries, and you’re good to go! This cake takes about 15 minutes to mix up!

slice of strawberry poke cake on a plate topped with fresh strawberries slices


 

So, you’re probably wondering what a poke cake is. Well, it’s a cake that’s been poked full of holes with a fork, and then it’s filled with a liquid, like jelly or syrup. This makes the cake super moist and delicious. And there’s so many wonderful variations of a poke cake (you really can’t go wrong). Like my super easy Tornado cake made with crushed pineapple and a coconut pecan frosting. Or my holiday favorite: this gingerbread poke cake.

I first tried a poke cake at a summer party a few years ago, and I was hooked! The strawberry jello poke cake was so refreshing and flavorful, and I knew I had to try to make it myself.

The recipe is actually really easy. You just start by baking white cake mix according to the package directions or you can make a homemade cake, which is what we will be doing with this recipe. Then, while the cake is still warm, you use the handle of a wooden spoon or skewer to poke holes all over the top.

This is where the strawberry jello will go. Next, you make the strawberry jello according to the package directions. Once the jello is dissolved, you pour it over the cake. The jello will seep into the holes, making the cake super moist.Then, you just let the cake chill in the refrigerator for a few hours, or overnight. Once the cake is chilled, you can top it with whipped topping or frosting (for this recipe we are making the frosting) and fresh strawberries.

I love making poke cakes because they’re so easy and delicious. They’re perfect for a summer party or a quick dessert on a hot day. And they’re always a hit with my friends and family.

See Also:

  • Layered with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream this vanilla sponge cake is a beautiful cake to make any time of year!
  • If you’re looking for a showstopping cake, this Milk Bar cake is the perfect dessert to make for a birthday!
  • Calling all peanut butter lovers with this super easy peanut butter cream cheese frosting to use on all your favorite cake recipes!
  • This easy vanilla cupcake recipe uses melted butter so it comes together in minutes and no mixer is needed!
  • When it’s summertime then you have to make these S’mores cupcakes with toasted meringue frosting and graham cracker bottom!
  • Get a mixing bowl and make the easiest cake ever! This Tornado cake recipe (aka do nothing cake) made with crushed pineapple, coconut, and pecans!
spatula holding a slice of strawberry poke cake

Why You Will Love This Strawberry Poke Cake recipe

  • It’s easy to make. You only need a few simple ingredients to make this strawberry poke cake and a few minutes of prep time.
  • It’s kid-friendly. It’s a fun and easy way to get kids involved in the kitchen, especially if you decide to use cake mix.
  • It’s versatile. You can customize the recipe to fit your own taste. For example, you can use different flavors of jello or add different toppings. You can also choose different flavors of cake mix.
  • It’s perfect for a summer party. This strawberry jello poke cake is a light and refreshing dessert that’s perfect for a hot day.
spatula holding a slice of strawberry poke cake

Ingredients Needed

  • Sugar-This is key to not only sweetening your strawberry poke cake, but also to tenderize it as well. I used granulated white sugar.
  • Butter- Salted butter. You can also use unsalted butter with a pinch of salt. 
  • Egg- Room-temperature eggs
  • Milk-  I used whole milk for richness, but any milk will work for this strawberry poke cake.
  • Flour- I used regular AP flour for this poke cake, which I think created the perfect texture for this cake. Make sure you are measuring your flour correctly so you don’t end up with a dense cake. I recommend weighing for best accuracy, or you can read more here about How To Measure Flour
  • Baking Powder- This is what will leaven your poke cake, or help it to rise. Be sure your baking powder is fresh, and hasn’t expired. To check it, put a teaspoon of it in a small bowl of hot water If it bubbles, you’re all set! If not, throw it out and get a new container.
  • Baking Soda- Baking Soda helps the strawberry poke cake rise.
  • Water- used to make the jello mixture (not shown below).
  • Jell-O Powder- For this recipe, I used strawberry jello but you can switch it up and try a different flavor!
  • Confectioners Sugar- You need confectioners sugar (or powdered sugar) for the buttercream frosting. I don’t sift my sugar anymore but just make sure to whip it long enough.
  • Heavy Cream- To thin out your frosting and add a bit of richness and creaminess. But milk also works
  • Vanilla- This helps to make for the perfect flavor. Pure vanilla is best for flavor but vanilla extract works too.
  • Salt- To balance out the sweetness of the frosting.
  • Sliced Strawberries (optional)- Fresh Strawberries are best. This is to garnish the cake.  It is optional, but it looks so nice!

How to Make Strawberry Poke Cake

Preheat Oven 

Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180oC). Grease a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).

Combine Butter and Sugar.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

strawberry poke cake butter and sugar being creamed together

Add Eggs and Milk.

Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the milk and mix until homogeneous. 

eggs added to creamed butter and sugar

Add Dry Ingredients.

On low speed, beat in the baking powder, baking soda, and flour until the last of the flour has been incorporated.

flour mixture added to creamed butter mixture in bowl

Do not overmix.

vanilla cake batter in bowl

Bake.

Pour the cake batter into a 9×13 inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. 

unbaked vanilla cake in glass pan

Poke Holes.

Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a large skewer to poke some holes scattered throughout the top of the cake. 

holes poked into top of vanilla cake

Make Jello.

In a small bowl, whisk together the JellO powder and cold water together. Pour the Jell-O mixture over the top of the cake.

strawberry jello mix poured over the cake in the pan

Make the Frosting.

Combine the butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed at first, then increase to medium until combined and smooth. About 2-3 minutes. Add in your heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy. 

Frost Cake.

Allow the cake to cool completely, then use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top.

Garnish with Fresh Strawberries.

Decorate the top of the cake with the sliced strawberries. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

frosted cake in pan topped with sliced strawberries in prepared pan

Recipe Tips

  • Slowly pour the jello. When adding the Jell-O mixture, pour slowly to give the liquid time to absorb evenly into the cake. Make sure that each hole you poke absorbs some of the liquid
  •  Fresh strawberries are key. It is best to use fresh strawberries to top your cake. Frozen strawberry slices will add too much liquid to the frosting as they thaw.

Recipe Variations

  • Add More Strawberry Flavor. If you want even more strawberry flavor, you can swap out this white cake for a strawberry cake mix. 
  • Change the Jello.  Since this is a basic, white cake mix you can easily change the flavor of jello to anything you would like! 
  • Use White Cake Mix. If you would like to make this easy dessert recipe even easier, you can use a boxed cake mix. For this exact recipe, you would want to use white cake mix.
slice of strawberry poke cake on a plate with fresh strawberries

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a box of cake mix instead of making my own cake?

Sure! I recommend making your own homemade cake mix, but if you are limited on time or are trying to make this recipe with small children, it may be easier to use a box of cake mix.

Do I have to use strawberry jello?

No! That is the great thing about poke cakes! You can use any jello flavor you want. What makes it a poke cake is that you have poked holes in the cake and you have added a jello mixture.

How far should I space the holes?

I know it can be tempting to just go crazy and poke holes everywhere. But, try to be strategic about it and poke in rows. This makes cutting the cake easier too, so you don’t start cutting through the holes and making a big mess. I aim to have the holes be about 2-inches apart.

How should I store my Strawberry Poke Cake?

You can store it on the counter for 3 days covered with plastic wrap. You can store your leftover cake in the fridge for up to 4 days covered with plastic wrap. You can also freeze this cake for up to 3 months. Make sure to thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.

slice of strawberry poke cake on a plate

More Recipes to Try

Strawberry Poke Cake

This easy Strawberry Poke Cake recipe is a perfect for a summer party or a quick dessert on a hot day. A homemade vanilla sheet cake that after baking gets poked with holes and some strawberry Jell-O poured over it. Then top it with buttercream icing and fresh strawberries, and you're good to go! This cake takes about 15 minutes to mix up!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 16 servings
Calories: 519kcal

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 2 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226 g) salted butter room temperature
  • 3 large eggs room temperature
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk room temperature
  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • cup (160 ml) water
  • cup strawberry Jell-O powder

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks, 283 g) unsalted butter softened to room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups (283 g) confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries for garnish

Instructions

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180oC). Grease with nonstick cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, with an electric mixer cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the milk and mix until homogeneous. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  • On low speed, beat in the baking powder, baking soda, and flour until the last of the flour has been incorporated. Do not overmix.
  • Pour the cake batter into a 9×13 inch baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.
  • Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a large skewer to poke holes scattered throughout the top of the cake.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the Jell-O powder and water. Pour the Jell-O mixture over the top of the cake.
  • Make the frosting. Combine the butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix on low speed at first, then increase to medium until combined and smooth. About 2-3 minutes. Add in your heavy cream, salt, and vanilla extract, and mix on medium to high speed for 8 minutes until light and creamy.
  • Once the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with the sliced strawberries. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Notes

  • Storage: You can store your leftover cake in the fridge for up to 4 days covered with plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can store it on the counter for 3 days covered with plastic wrap. Or freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before serving.
  • Strawberries: It is best to use fresh strawberries to top your cake. Frozen strawberry slices will add too much liquid to the frosting as they thaw.
  • Jell-O – When adding the Jell-O mixture, pour slowly to give the liquid time to absorb evenly into the cake. Make sure that each hole you poke absorbs some of the liquid.
  • Salted butter – You can also use unsalted butter with a pinch of salt.

Nutrition

Calories: 519kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 111mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 902IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1mg
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