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A super moist jello poke cake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Takes only 5 ingredients to make and can be used with any flavor or gelatin!

Jello poke cake with strawberries on top.
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Easy Strawberry Jello Cake

There’s something about chilled desserts in the summertime that can’t be beaten. They’re refreshing, and delicious and make the perfect treat. This strawberry jello cake recipe is a favorite, as well as strawberry icebox cake, better than anything cake and Oreo ice cream cake.

I remember my grandma making this dessert when I was a little girl and I always loved poking the top of the cake before she poured the jello in. It’s a super easy cake recipe (in the same ballpark as a dump cake) and is perfect for when you need a last-minute dessert.

The best thing about it is that it can be made using your favorite flavor of jello. My personal favorite to use is strawberry. It’s always a hit with my family, especially topped with fresh strawberries and homemade whipped cream similar to a strawberry shortcake!

Ingredients for Easy Jello Poke Cake

Making this jello poke cake is fun and easy to do! The ingredients are from a box making this even a dump-and-go kind of dessert! It tastes delicious, moist on the inside, and has all the flavor you need for your next celebration!

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Vanilla cake mix: Choose your favorite white cake mix at the store and make it according to the package and bake.
  • Jello: I used strawberry jello for the red coloring and flavoring from the strawberries. You do not need to follow the instruction on the package. You are using the dry package ingredients.
  • Water: You will need hot water as well as cold water separately. This will help activate the gelatin in the jello package but also help it form in the refrigerator using cold water.
  • Homemade whipped cream: Make your own whipped cream frosting, or buy a store-bought frosting. Make sure your cake has cooled before spreading frosting over top.
  • Fresh berries: This is a great topping! We love any celebration that needs a cake. Add fresh strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, or raspberries to the top for a light and tasty dessert.

How to Make Jello Poke Cake

Luckily jello poke cake is an easy and delicious cake that can be made quickly! Bake the cake using a cake mix, mix the jello, and let the jello moisten the cake. The best part of the jello poke cake is the appearance of it all!

The process of making jello poke cake in four photos.
  1. Bake: To get started, mix the cake batter and then bake according to the package directions. Remove from oven and let cool slightly, then poke holes all over the top with a meat fork or butter knife.
  2. Pour jello over the top: Next mix together jello with hot water. Stir until completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Then add cold water and stir for 1 minute. Pour the jello mixture evenly over the cake, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Add whipped topping: Once it has cooled completely, spread the whipped cream on top with a spatula. I like to make my own homemade whipped cream, but cool whip works too.
  4. Chill, top, and serve! Cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve. Top with fresh berries or sprinkles just before serving.

Variations

The beauty of this recipe is that it will work with any flavor of jello! My personal favorite to use is strawberry, but any flavor would taste amazing. Below are a few delicious variation ideas:

  • Cherry: White mix, cherry jello, and whipped cream with cherry pie filling on top.
  • Lemon poke cake: Lemon mix, lemon jello, and whipped cream with lemon zest on top.
  • Raspberry: White mix, raspberry jello, and whipped cream with fresh raspberries on top.
  • Orange: White mix, orange jello, and whipped cream with mandarin oranges and orange zest on top.

Baking Tips

Use these tips and ideas to make the best jello poke cake! It is easy to use a box cake, top it off with frosting or decorate it with sprinkles and fruit. The options are endless!

  • Cake mix: I used a box of cake mix for convenience, but you can make your own homemade vanilla cake mix from scratch.
  • Frosting: My preference for frosting is whipped cream, but cool whip tastes great too. Both are light and airy!
  • Cool cake: Make sure the cake is completely cool before adding the whipped topping (or else it will melt).
  • Topping: Decorate with fresh fruit, and sprinkles, or leave plain with just the topping.
  • Storing: Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just make sure to cover it with a lid or plastic wrap.

5 star review

“Yes I made it and my family loved it I made it with strawberry jello I’m making it a regular now.”

-Bernice
Up close photo of jello poke cake with a bite taken out of it.

Recipes FAQs

Do you add the jello to the cake mix?

In some recipes, jello is added to the cake mix. For this recipe it is used after the cake is baked. The cake has small poked holes for the jello to fall into. This will moisten the cake and give it added flavoring.

Why is it called a poke cake?

The poke in the poke cake name is because after the cake has been baked and slightly cooled, holes are poked at the top of the cake. Using a fork or the back of a wooden spoon will poke holes thick or thin.

Where id poke cake desserts originate?

Poke cakes were heard of around 1970. It was a way to help increase sales with Jell-O the brand. The advertisement showed quick and easy recipes that combined a cake and jello. It helped boost cake mix, Jell-O, Dream Whip, and Cool Whip in the making.

4th of July Poke Cake

Need a fun 4th of July dessert to make this year? This treat can easily be decorated with fresh berries to look like an American flag. Here’s how to make it.

An overhead photo of a cake with a flag made out of strawberries and blueberries.
  1. Frost: Spread the whipped cream on top once it has cooled.
  2. Stars: Place about 1/2 cup of fresh blueberries in the top left corner.
  3. Stripes: Remove the stems of 15 fresh strawberries. Then slice vertically. Create 3-4 rows of strawberry slices, starting at the top and working your way down.
A jello poke cake with a flag made out of blueberries as the stars and strawberries as the stripes.

Storing, Freezing + Make Ahead

This cake is perfect for making ahead, storing, and even freezing. It is simple to plan ahead or keep refrigerated until the time comes to enjoy. This is the one and only jello poke to use for your next celebration or special day!

  • Does it need to be refrigerated? Yes, this dessert is best served cold. It needs to be chilled for at least an hour before serving to allow the jello to soak into the cake. Make sure to cover and keep refrigerated until serving.
  • Can you make it ahead of time? It’s the perfect make-ahead dessert. You could easily make it the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight.
  • Can you freeze it? Sure. I’d recommend freezing it without the whipped topping. Simply wrap with plastic wrap, then place in a freezer bag or container. Store in the freezer for up to 1 month. When ready to enjoy, thaw and top with whipped cream or cool whip.

Love using cake mix in desserts? Try out my easy tres leches cake, cake pop recipe and cake mix cookies.

More Easy Cake Recipes

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jello poke cake with whipped cream and strawberries

Jello Poke Cake

4.95 from 40 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
A super moist jello poke cake topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. Takes only 5 ingredients to make and can be used with any flavor or gelatin!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chill time:: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 20

Video

Ingredients 

  • 1 (15-ounce) box super moist French vanilla cake mix , plus ingredients listed on box
  • 1 (3-ounce) box Jello , any flavor (I used strawberry)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 2-3 cups homemade whipped cream , or Cool Whip
  • Fresh berries , for topping

Instructions

  • Make the cake mix (and additional ingredients needed) according to package directions. Bake according to the package instructions. Remove the oven and let cool slightly. Using a meat fork or a butter knife, poke holes all over the top of the cake.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the Jello and hot water 2 minutes, or until completely dissolved. Stir in the cold water 1 minute more. Pour mixture evenly over cake. Chill at least 1 hour.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the whipped cream evenly over the top.
  • Store in the refrigerator until serving. Top with fresh berries just before slicing.

Notes

Variations: You can use any flavor of jello for this recipe. Some of our favorites are strawberry, raspberry, blue raspberry and orange.
Cake mix: I used a box of cake mix for convenience, but you can absolutely make your own homemade vanilla cake mix from scratch.
Frosting: My preference for frosting is whipped cream, but cool whip tastes great too. Both are light and airy!
Let cool: Make sure the cake is completely cool before adding the whipped topping (or else it will melt).
Decorations: Decorate with fresh fruit, sprinkles or leave plain with just the topping.
Make ahead: This is the perfect make-ahead dessert. Feel free to make it the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight.
Storage: Cover any leftovers with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the fridge up to 3 days. 
Freezing: I’d recommend freezing without the whipped topping. Simply wrap with plastic wrap then place in a freezer bag or container. Store in freezer for up to 1 month. Then when ready to enjoy, thaw and top with whipped cream or cool whip.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 41IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 0.4mg

Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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