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Strawberry Poke Cake Recipe

Poke cake, a delightful dessert that has charmed its way into the hearts of many, is celebrated for its moist texture and rich flavor infusion. Originating in the United States, this cake gained popularity in the 1970s when a major gelatin brand introduced the concept to showcase the versatility of its product. The essence of a poke cake lies in its method of preparation: after baking, the cake is “poked” with numerous holes, then filled with a liquid or filling such as jellied fruit, chocolate, or cream. This process not only imparts an intense flavor throughout the cake but also ensures a moist and tender crumb. Over the years, poke cake has evolved, embracing a myriad of flavors and ingredients, yet its fundamental appeal remains its simplicity and the joy of discovering the filling with each bite.

Why Strawberry Poke Cake is a Favorite

Strawberry Poke Cake stands out in the vast world of desserts for its irresistible combination of flavors and textures. This particular variant uses the sweet and tangy essence of strawberries to create a refreshing treat that’s perfect for any season. Its popularity stems from the harmonious balance between the light, fluffy cake and the vibrant burst of strawberry flavor. The addition of creamy toppings and fresh strawberries elevates the dessert, making it not only a feast for the palate but also a visual delight. The cake’s ability to be both simple and elegant makes it a favorite for home cooks and professional bakers alike. Whether it’s a family gathering, a festive celebration, or a casual weekend treat, Strawberry Poke Cake brings a touch of sweetness and joy to any occasion.

The Basics of Strawberry Poke Cake

What is Strawberry Poke Cake?

Strawberry Poke Cake is a variation of the classic poke cake that marries the airy texture of sponge cake with the juicy sweetness of strawberries. This dessert typically involves a white or vanilla cake base that, once baked, is perforated with holes. These holes are then filled with a strawberry-flavored gelatin mixture, allowing the flavor to seep deep into the cake, infusing every bite with the essence of strawberries. The cake is usually finished with a layer of whipped cream or frosting and garnished with fresh strawberry slices. The result is a visually stunning and deliciously moist cake that’s both refreshing and indulgent.

The history of poke cake is a testament to culinary innovation and the joy of baking. It reflects the desire to create something new and exciting from traditional recipes. Strawberry Poke Cake, in particular, has become a beloved variant for its ability to capture the essence of strawberries in a unique and delightful way.

Key ingredients in a Strawberry Poke Cake include:

  • A white or vanilla cake mix (for ease and consistency)
  • Strawberry gelatin (for the vibrant flavor and color)
  • Boiling water (to dissolve the gelatin)
  • Whipped topping or cream (for a light and airy finish)
  • Fresh strawberries (for garnish and added freshness)

Benefits of Making Strawberry Poke Cake

Ease of Preparation

One of the most appealing aspects of Strawberry Poke Cake is its simplicity. The process is straightforward, making it an excellent choice for bakers of all skill levels. From the baking of the cake to the pouring of the gelatin, each step is easy to follow, ensuring a stress-free baking experience.

Versatility in Flavors

While strawberry is a popular choice, the basic method of making a poke cake allows for endless flavor combinations. By simply changing the gelatin flavor or the toppings, one can create a completely new dessert, making it a versatile option for any event or personal preference.

How to Make Strawberry Poke Cake

Ingredients List

Creating a Strawberry Poke Cake requires a few simple ingredients:

  • 1 box of white or vanilla cake mix (including the ingredients needed to make the cake, such as eggs, oil, and water)
  • 1 package (approximately 85g or 3oz) of strawberry-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup of boiling water (to dissolve the gelatin)
  • 1 cup of cold water (to help set the gelatin)
  • Whipped topping or homemade whipped cream (for frosting the cake)
  • Fresh strawberries (for garnishing the cake)

Step-by-Step Baking Guide

Preparing the Cake
  1. Begin by preheating your oven to the temperature specified on the cake mix box. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish by lightly greasing it.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix with the required ingredients (eggs, oil, and water). Beat until smooth.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top with a spatula.
  4. Bake according to the package instructions, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool slightly before proceeding to the next step.
Making the Strawberry Jell-O Mixture
  1. While the cake is cooling, prepare the strawberry gelatin by dissolving it in 1 cup of boiling water. Stir until completely dissolved, then add 1 cup of cold water.
  2. Once the cake has cooled for about 10 minutes, use the handle of a wooden spoon or a similar object to poke holes all over the cake, reaching down to the bottom.
Assembling the Cake
  1. Carefully pour the strawberry gelatin mixture over the cake, ensuring it seeps into the holes.
  2. Refrigerate the cake for at least 3-4 hours, allowing the gelatin to set and the flavors to meld.
  3. Once set, spread a generous layer of whipped topping over the cake.
  4. Garnish with fresh strawberry slices before serving.

This step-by-step guide ensures that even novice bakers can successfully create a delicious and visually appealing Strawberry Poke Cake, perfect for any occasion.

Customizing Your Strawberry Poke Cake

Variations in Ingredients

The beauty of Strawberry Poke Cake lies in its adaptability. You can easily customize this dessert to suit your taste preferences or to experiment with new flavor combinations. For alternative fillings, consider using pureed fresh strawberries mixed with a little sugar and gelatin to create a more natural strawberry flavor. Lemon or raspberry gelatin can offer a tangy twist, while chocolate syrup or condensed milk provide a richer, decadent experience.

When it comes to toppings, the possibilities are endless. Fresh whipped cream is a classic choice, but for something different, try a cream cheese frosting or a layer of lemon curd under the whipped topping for a citrusy zing. Garnish with sliced strawberries, raspberries, or even chocolate shavings to add texture and visual appeal.

Tips for the Perfect Cake

For those new to baking, achieving the perfect Strawberry Poke Cake might seem daunting, but a few simple tips can ensure success. First, make sure to evenly distribute the holes across the cake to allow the filling to penetrate thoroughly. When adding the gelatin, pour slowly and evenly to ensure it fills all the holes. For a moist cake, don’t skimp on the gelatin mixture; it’s what gives the cake its signature flavor and texture. Lastly, allow the cake to chill sufficiently before topping; this ensures the layers set properly and makes for easier slicing.

Serving and Storing

How to Serve Strawberry Poke Cake

Presentation is key when serving Strawberry Poke Cake. To make each slice as appealing as possible, use a clean, sharp knife and wipe it between cuts. Serve each piece on a plate with a dollop of additional whipped cream and a fresh strawberry on top for an elegant touch. For a more festive look, sprinkle with colored sugar or edible glitter that complements the strawberry theme.

Storing Tips

To keep your Strawberry Poke Cake fresh, cover it with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This will help maintain its moisture and prevent it from absorbing odors from other foods. Ideally, enjoy the cake within 3 to 5 days for the best flavor and texture.


Can I Use Fresh Strawberries Instead of Jell-O?

  • Yes, you can use fresh strawberries to make a puree as an alternative to using strawberry Jell-O. Mix the puree with a little sugar and unflavored gelatin, then pour it over the cake. This method offers a more natural strawberry flavor and is perfect for those looking to reduce artificial ingredients.

How Long Does Strawberry Poke Cake Last in the Fridge?

  • Strawberry Poke Cake can last in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days when stored properly. Keep it covered with plastic wrap or in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and prevent it from drying out.

Can Strawberry Poke Cake be Frozen?

  • Yes, Strawberry Poke Cake can be frozen for up to 1 month. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to protect it from freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before serving.

Is It Possible to Make a Gluten-Free Version?

  • Absolutely! To make a gluten-free Strawberry Poke Cake, simply use a gluten-free cake mix as the base. Ensure that all other ingredients, including the strawberry gelatin, are certified gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.

Strawberry Poke Cake is more than just a dessert; it’s a versatile, easy-to-make treat that’s perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or new to the kitchen, this cake is sure to become a favorite.

Strawberry Poke Cake Recipe

This Strawberry Poke Cake is a delightful dessert that combines the moistness of poke cake with the sweet tanginess of strawberries. Perfect for any occasion, from family gatherings to festive celebrations, it's a versatile dessert that's both easy to make and delicious. With the option to customize ingredients and toppings, you can make this cake uniquely yours.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Additional Time (Chilling): 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 50 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 300 kcal


  • 9x13 inch baking dish
  • Mixing bowl
  • Electric mixer or whisk
  • Wooden spoon or fork (for poking holes)


  • 1 box white cake mix plus ingredients called for on the box: eggs, oil, water
  • 1 package 3 oz strawberry-flavored gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 container 16 oz whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries sliced for garnishing


  • Prepare the Cake: Preheat your oven according to the cake mix instructions. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix with the required ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour into the prepared dish and bake as directed. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Poke Holes: Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the warm cake.
  • Prepare the Gelatin: Dissolve the strawberry gelatin in boiling water, then stir in cold water. Pour this mixture evenly over the poked cake.
  • Chill: Refrigerate the cake for at least 4 hours, or until the gelatin is set.
  • Decorate and Serve: Spread the whipped topping over the chilled cake. Garnish with sliced strawberries before serving.


  • Fresh Strawberry Variation: For a fresher take, consider making a strawberry puree mixed with a bit of sugar and unflavored gelatin as a substitute for the strawberry-flavored gelatin.
  • Storage: This cake can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. For longer storage, freeze wrapped tightly for up to 1 month. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Substitute the regular cake mix with a gluten-free variety to accommodate dietary restrictions. Ensure all other ingredients are certified gluten-free.
This Strawberry Poke Cake is not just a dessert; it's a celebration of flavors that's sure to bring a smile to everyone's face. Enjoy the process of making it and the joy of sharing it with loved ones.
Keyword Dessert, Easy Recipe, Strawberry Cake, Strawberry Poke Cake