Guys, I figured out a way to make lemon poke cake so the whole cake is filled with lemon pudding, not just little sections. And it all relies on something you do as soon as the cake comes out of the oven!
If you’ve ever had a lemon poke cake with little bits of pudding and the rest of the cake is dry, rest assured this is not that type of recipe. This cake is filled with pudding.
The trick? Poke holes into your cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, then immediately spread the pudding on top. The pudding will seep into the still-warm cake, causing the rest of the cake to get extra moist and the jello pudding flavor to spread throughout the cake.
Spreading the lemon pudding while the cake is still warm is easy to do with a little help with my spatula trick.
Let’s just say I am about to make baking a lemon pudding cake one of the easiest and tastiest things you’ve ever put in your oven.
How to Make Lemon Jello Cake
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Follow the instructions on the boxed cake mix to prepare the batter, then pour it into a 9×13-inch baking dish and bake as directed.
STEP TWO: While the cake is in the oven, combine the lemon pudding mixes with milk according to the package instructions, then set the mixture aside to thicken slightly.
STEP THREE: As soon as the cake is done baking, take it out of the oven. Using the handle end of a wooden spoon, poke holes throughout the warm cake.
STEP FOUR: Evenly pour the prepared lemon pudding over the cake, ensuring it fills the holes.
STEP FIVE: Allow the cake to cool at room temperature. Then, transfer the cake to the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours to fully set the pudding.
STEP FIVE: Before serving, spread a generous layer of Cool Whip over the top. If desired, garnish with freshly grated lemon zest.
Tips for Lemon Poke Cake With Pudding
- Avoid over mixing the cake batter: Mix just until the ingredients are combined to keep the cake’s texture light and fluffy.
- Level the cake: After pouring the batter into the baking dish, tap the dish on the counter to level the batter and remove any air bubbles.
- Poke while warm: Poke holes in the cake as soon as it’s out of the oven to ensure the lemon pudding soaks all the way through.
- Smooth pudding layer: Use a spatula to gently spread the pudding over the cake, ensuring it enters the holes and creates a smooth, even layer.
- Cool before refrigerating: Let the cake cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to prevent condensation, which could make the top soggy.
- Spread Cool Whip gently: You don’t want to pull up the set pudding or disturb the cake’s surface.
More Cake Mix Recipes
- Pumpkin Bread with Cake Mix
- Pecan Upside Down Cake
- Pineapple Upside Down Cake With Crushed Pineapple
Variations to Lemon Poke Cake with Jello
- Berry blast: Fold in your favorite berry compote, like raspberry or blueberry, for a burst of berry flavor that pairs deliciously with this lemon icebox poke cake.
- Citrus zest: Grate orange, lemon, or lime zest into the Cool Whip frosting for more of a zesty kick.
- Strawberry puree swirl: Mix a swirl of strawberry puree into the Cool Whip before spreading for a fruity twist.
- Rosemary hint: Finely minced rosemary can give a piney aroma that surprisingly matches the zing of lemon in pudding poke cake.
- White chocolate shavings: These add a creamy and luxurious addition to the lemon pie filling.
Is It Possible To Make Lemon Poke Cake Without A Box Mix?
Yes, you can absolutely make a lemon poke cake using a homemade cake recipe. Opt for a simple vanilla or butter cake as your base — dense enough to hold the pudding but also able to soak up all that lemony goodness.
Remember to monitor the baking time, as it may differ from the box mix’s instructions.
Why Do You Poke Holes In A Poke Cake?
This technique allows the pudding to soak into the cake, making sure that every bite is infused with flavor.
It also helps to add moisture, creating a wonderfully tender and flavorful eating experience that differs significantly from a standard layer cake.
How Do I Store Lemon Poke Cake?
Use an airtight container or cover the cake with plastic wrap to prevent it from absorbing other odors from the fridge.
Properly stored, lemon poke cake with pudding can last for about 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
What to Serve with Lemon Pudding Poke Cake
This lemon Jello cake is topped with plain Cool Whip, but that doesn’t mean you’re limited to using that! You can also try a Cool Whip Frosting or add some extra creaminess with my Cool Whip Cream Cheese Frosting for more of a tangy taste.
More Easy Dessert Recipes
- 3 Ingredient No Bake Cheesecake Recipe
- 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Frosting
- Strawberry Shortcake Crumble
- 5 Ingredient No-Bake Cheesecake
- 1 lemon cake mix (plus required ingredients)
- 2 3.4 ounce lemon pudding mixes
- 2.5 cups milk
- 1 8 ounce container Cool Whip
- lemon zest, optional
- Prepare lemon cake mix according to package instructions in a 9x13 baking dish.
- Meanwhile, prepare the lemon pudding mixes by mixing it with the milk. Set aside until needed.
- Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and immediately poke holes in the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon.
- Spread the lemon pudding mix over the surface of the cake, spreading it evenly using a spatula.
- Allow the cake to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
- Spread the cool whip over the chilled cake.
- Garnish with lemon zest if you’d like.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 176Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 254mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 0gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.