Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

This old fashioned strawberry jello poke cake is made easily with boxed cake mix and jello, but has a homemade cream cheese whipped topping that makes it extra special!

If there is one dessert I remember from childhood summers, it is this Strawberry Jello Poke Cake. I loved that it was cool, creamy, and light.

And now that I’m older, I love that it is easy. A slice of homemade cake makes me happy, but sometimes you just need to go back to the basics.

slice of jello poke cake with a strawberry on top on a white plate

Why You’ll Love This Recipe:

Does the gelatin make the cake soggy?

Although pouring the gelatin over the cake seems odd because it is a liquid and has yet to set up, once it sets it makes for a very moist and fluffy cake.

One thing to note is that this method works best when the gelatin is poured over the cake evenly. Sometimes I will even take a spoon and spoon the warm gelatin over the cake just to make sure I am covering the cake evenly. If one part of the cake is saturated more than another, you might miss out on the marbling effect.

What will I need to make jello cake?

  • White cake mix: In order to make the cake pure white, I used 3 egg whites and vegetable oil (rather than eggs with yolks and butter). This can vary depending on which brand of cake mix you use, so make sure to check the box for package directions. The fluffy consistency of the white cake with the strawberry is the classic combo, but you can use different types of cake mix such as yellow or chocolate depending on preference.
  • Strawberry flavored gelatin: Feel free to experiment with different colors and flavors depending on what you are preparing your poke cake for.
  • Cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Heavy whipping cream. Make sure it is very cold!
  • Strawberries: For garnishing. This is optional.
overhead shot of ingredients for jello poke cake

How to Make Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

  • Prepare cake mix in a 9×13 inch pan and bake according to package directions.
  • Allow cake to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  • Poke holes halfway through cake with the back of a round wooden spoon about 1-2 inches apart from each other. Set aside.
  • While cake is cooling prepare strawberry gelatin.
  • Pour boiling water over gelatin and whisk until combined and gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Carefully pour gelatin evenly over cake. The cake will soak up the gelatin. The gelatin will not fill the holes up completely which is completely normal.
  • Cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the gelatin has set and the cake is only slightly tacky.
  • Once cake is set and cooled, prepare the topping.
strawberry poke cake with spatula spreading white frosting on top

Topping for Strawberry Poke Cake

There are different topping options you can make for a strawberry poke cake. We chose to make a homemade cream cheese whipped cream frosting. It’s easy to make and gives the cake a delicious homemade flavor.

Here are a few other options:

jello poke cake in 9x13 baking pan cut into 15 slices with one slice missing

Different variations for jello cake:

  • Choose a green gelatin for Saint Patrick’s day.
  • Try using a red and blue gelatin for 4th of July.
  • Red and green colored gelatin goes great for Christmas.
  • Use pink or blue jello for a baby shower.

The sky is the limit with the colors and variations you choose.

Skinny Poke Cake

Watching calories? Try one of these lightened up, lower calorie options:

  • use a gluten free cake mix
  • use a sugar free cake mix
  • use sugar free jello
  • use fat free cool whip as a topping
piece of strawberry jello poke cake on a plate with a fork with a bite on it

How do I store my strawberry poke cake?

Strawberry poke cake will last in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days as long as it is stored in an airtight container.

Can I freeze jello cake? It is best to freeze after the gelatin has been added and before the topping. I do not recommend freezing the cake with the cream cheese topping because the consistency may change once it has been frozen.

piece of strawberry jello poke cake with a strawberry on top
piece of strawberry jello poke cake with a strawberry on top

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

5 from 3 votes
This old fashioned strawberry jello poke cake is made easily with boxed cake mix and jello, but has a homemade cream cheese whipped topping that makes it extra special!
Servings 15
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour

Ingredients
 

For the cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix (plus ingredients on the back of the box)

For the jello:

  • 3 ounces strawberry flavored gelatin (one small box)
  • 1 cup boiling water

For the topping:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream (cold)
  • fresh strawberries for decorating

Instructions
 

  • Prepare cake mix in a 9×13 inch pan and bake according to package directions.
  • Allow cake to cool for 20-30 minutes.
  • Poke holes halfway through cake with the back of a round wooden spoon about 1-2 inches apart from each other. Set aside.
  • While cake is cooling prepare strawberry gelatin.
  • Pour boiling water over gelatin and whisk until combined and gelatin is completely dissolved.
  • Carefully pour gelatin evenly over cake. The cake will soak up the gelatin. The gelatin will not fill the holes up completely which is completely normal.
  • Cool in the refrigerator for 1 hour or until the gelatin has set and the cake is only slightly tacky.
  • Once cake is set and cooled, prepare the topping.
  • Beat together cream cheese, powder sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Slowly add in heavy whipping cream until fully incorporated.
  • Beat topping until it thickens and forms soft peaks, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Spread topping over cake.
  • Slice cake into squares and garnish with fresh strawberries.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 323mg | Potassium: 60mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 553IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 106mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 316
Keyword comfort food, easy summer dinner recipe, old fashioned recipe, picnic

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Amanda
10 months ago

Trying this recipe tonight will update later :)!

Last edited 10 months ago by Amanda
Paula
4 months ago

5 stars
This is a lovely variation from the vintage recipe “Jello Stripe-It-Rich” cake, which used instant pudding. My ma used to make both variations when we were kids.