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Lemon Poke Cake

This lemon poke cake is moist, light, airy, and exactly what you want to sink your fork into when Spring comes calling! Made with 5 ingredients, this easy-to-make cake is perfect for Easter, backyard parties, or as a weeknight dessert!

slice of lemon cake
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Best Lemon Poke Cake Recipe

I can’t tell you how many times a quick jello poke cake has come to my rescue when needing to make an impressive dessert with little advance notice. It comes together so easily and consists of just 5 ingredients, one of them being a boxed cake mix which means I’m already ahead of the game.

The bright lemon flavor makes this cake one of the best lemon desserts! It’s made with a lemon cake base that is poked so that the lemon jello mixture can soak through. It is then chilled and topped with your choice of homemade whipped cream or cool whip. Served chilled, it is refreshing, light, and airy!

I love using a cake mix to make desserts easy. Some of my other favorites to make are cake pops and cake mix cookies.

Why Make This Lemon Poke Cake?

  • You can use whatever flavor jello you want! Lemon of course pairs well with lemon cake but so does blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, and orange. The color contrast looks pretty too.
  • As easy and quick as it is to make, it’s a great make-ahead cake too! It’s served chilled, and the longer it sits, the more the flavors get absorbed.
  • It’s a crowd favorite and always a hit at parties and just as great for a weekend baking project with the kids.

How to Make this Lemon Jello Poke Cake Recipe

  1. Mix the batter in a bowl and bake the cake according to package directions. Allow it to cool.
  2. Poke holes in the cake. For smaller holes use a fork or butter knife and for larger holes use the handle of a wooden spoon.
  3. Whisk lemon Jell-O with hot water until it dissolves. Pour in cold water and stir. Wait 1 minute before pouring the jello mixture evenly all over the cake.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Top with homemade whipped cream or cool whip and keep chilled until you’re ready to slice and serve. A few slices of lemon on top is a great way to garnish it!
slice of lemon cake

Possible Variations

  • White cake mix. For a more mellow version if you want to dial down the lemon you can use a white cake mix instead. You can also make a cake from scratch if that’s on your to-do list!
  • Yellow cake mix and lemon juice. If you’re having trouble finding lemon cake, a yellow cake mix works too. Add a bit of fresh lemon juice to give it a dose of lemon flavor.
  • Using a store bought whipped topping can be done if preferred.
  • Pudding poke cakes are also a thing, so you can easily swap the jello for instant lemon pudding mix or even homemade lemon curd.
  • Swap jello flavors. As mentioned above, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or orange all pair well with lemon.
  • A different frosting. Leave off the whipped topping and slather it with a lemon cream cheese frosting instead,
  • You could also enjoy it plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or a drizzle of lemon glaze or cream cheese glaze.

Top it Off!

I like to finish it off with a few lemon slices. You can also use candied lemon rinds or lemon zest.

Storing & Freezing

  • Store this cake in the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Then, once people have been served put it right back.
  • Freeze it without any topping. Once it has chilled and set in the fridge, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-friendly bag for up to 1 month. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw in the fridge overnight then add the whipped topping.
slice of lemon cake with fork

More Easy Lemon Desserts:

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slice of lemon cake with fork

Lemon Poke Cake

5 from 5 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
This lemon poke cake is moist, light, airy, and exactly what you want to sink your fork into when Spring comes calling! Made with 5 ingredients, this easy-to-make cake is perfect for Easter, backyard parties, or as a weeknight dessert!
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Chill time:: 1 hr
Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins
Servings: 20


  • 15 ounce box moist lemon cake mix , plus ingredients on box
  • 3 ounce box lemon jello
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ¾ cup cold water
  • 2-3 cups homemade whipped cream , or cool whip

Lemon for topping, optional


    • Mix the batter according to package directions. Bake according to the package directions. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
      lemon cake batter in pan
    • Then poke holes all over the top with a meat fork or butter knife.
      poking cake with fork
    • Next mix together the jello with the hot water. Stir for 2 minutes, or until completely dissolved. Then stir in the cold water for 1 minute. Pour evenly over cake. Then refrigerate for at least one hour.
      pouring jello on top of cake
    • Once it is completely cooled, spread the whipped cream over top. Top with lemon slices or grated lemon if desired. Store in the refrigerator, until serving.
      slice of lemon cake


    • Variations: You can use any flavor of jello for this recipe. Some of our favorites are strawberry, raspberry, blue raspberry and orange. 
    • 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.
    • 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.


    Serving: 1slice | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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

    Course: Dessert
    Cuisine: American

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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