Jello Poke Cake will take you straight back to childhood – moist, creamy and easy to make

When I hear the words “Jello poke cake,” I instantly remember the potlucks and family gatherings of my childhood. This retro dessert, with its creamy, fruity center and moist cake base, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. My favorite part was making holes for the Jello, which my mom always let me do. Now that summer is here, I decided to make this comforting dessert myself with an easy 5 ingredient recipe. It’s moist and refreshing with fresh strawberries and whipped cream (my favorite combo, but you can swap in any Jello flavor!). Plus, you save time with boxed cake mix and some helpful baking tips. Here’s how to make a classic Jello poke cake.

What is Jello Poke Cake?

Jello poke cake, a nostalgic treat straight out of the mid-20th century, is a playful dessert that combines moist cake with the vibrant flavors of Jello. Typically, a simple cake is baked, then pierced with holes to allow a layer of flavored jelly to seep through, creating a textural contrast and a burst of fruity flavor. This is a fun and easy dessert to make ahead and make fresh. It also adds a touch of retro charm to any gathering.

How to Make the Best Jello Poke Cake

Here are some tips I used to make sure my Jello poke cake came out great the first time.

1. Cooling is crucial

Make sure your cake cools slightly before pricking it and adding the Jello. A hot cake will melt the gelatin, resulting in a soup mess.

2. Pour carefully

Pour the Jello slowly and evenly over the cake, letting it saturate the holes. Don’t throw everything out at once, or you’ll end up with a layer of Jello on top instead of a delicious brew.

3. Cool your cake

After pouring the Jello, refrigerate the cake for at least an hour, if not longer, to allow the Jello to fully set and the flavors to meld. Next, add your whipped cream topping so nothing melts.

4. Get ahead

Don’t hesitate to prepare this dessert the day before and let it cool overnight in the refrigerator.

Flavor variations

Jello Poke Cake can have many variations, so choose a flavor that complements your cake. For example, strawberry Jello pairs well with vanilla cake, while cherry or raspberry can enhance a chocolate cake.

Easy Jello Poke Cake Recipe


Follow this recipe from I Heart Naptime for a super moist and easy cake to make with store-bought ingredients. Strawberry is a popular choice, but you can choose any flavor you want!

Strawberry Poke Cake


  • 1 box (15 oz.) super moist French vanilla cake mix, plus ingredients listed on box

  • 1 box (3 oz) strawberry Jello (or any flavor)

  • 1 cup of hot water

  • ¾ cup cold water

  • 2-3 cups of Cool Whip

  • Fresh berries, to garnish


  • Active time: 20 minutes

  • Servings: 20

  1. Prepare cake mix (and additional ingredients as needed) according to package directions. Bake according to package directions. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Using a meat fork or butter knife, pierce holes all over the top of the cake.

  2. In a large bowl, mix Jello and hot water for 2 minutes or until completely dissolved. Stir in cold water for 1 minute more. Pour the mixture evenly over the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

  3. Once the cake has completely cooled, spread the whipped cream evenly on top. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with fresh berries just before slicing.

Storage Instructions

First, cover your leftover cake with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. It is best to freeze the cake without the whipped topping, but it will keep for up to 1 month. Defrost the cake first before adding the freshly whipped topping.

For cooler summer desserts, whip these recipes:

This frozen raspberry mousse cake recipe is low-calorie and crave-worthy!

Need a guilt-free summer treat? Make these Honey Lemon Popsicles

This frozen mangonada drink is pure tropical bliss: sweet, spicy and easy to make in 10 minutes

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