BEST Lemon Poke Cake Recipe (With Jello Pudding)

Lemon lovers will be thrilled with this Lemon Poke Cake recipe. It’s super-moist with a creamy lemon pudding layer and creamy whipped topping, garnished with a slice of lemon.

This easy dessert recipe is made with a boxed cake mix and it just doesn’t get any easier than this! Perfect for family gatherings and potlucks.


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This deliciously moist cake is bursting with lemon flavor, thanks to a little lemon zest mixed into the cake batter and creamy lemon pudding spread on top of a – you guessed it – lemon cake made from a boxed bake mix.

Our family loves this creamy lemon poke cake and it’s always the first thing to disappear at potlucks and family gatherings.

If you love poke cakes, I’ve got a lot more coming to the blog like strawberry poke cake, raspberry poke cake and Oreo poke cake! Stay tuned!

Overhead view of lemon poke cake in baking dish with serving of lemon cake in the background.

Why you’ll love this lemon poke cake recipe

  • this recipe uses simple ingredients that you can always find in the grocery store.
  • it’s a crowd-pleasing recipe that the whole family loves.
  • an easy cake to make and it perfect for making the day before an event or party.
  • this cake is a fun snack and would make a great birthday cake!

Why is it called a poke cake?

A poke cake, otherwise known as a poke-and-pour cake is a basic cake recipe that has holes poked in it after the cake is baked. The handle from a wooden spoon is used to poke the holes, then the pudding or liquid is poured over the cooled cake and seeps into the holes.

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Serving of lemon poke cake on a plate with sliced lemons and a fork.

Ingredients

Labelled ingredients for lemon poke cake recipe.
  • Boxed lemon cake mix – Dont be limited with a lemon cake mix! You can also use white cake mix or yellow cake mix.
  • Eggs – use large eggs at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil
  • Fresh lemon zest – you will only need about half of the zest from one lemon.
  • Jello Instant Lemon Pudding Mix
  • Milk – you can use 2%, 1% or whole milk
  • Cool Whip Topping – you can also use sweetened whipped cream made from scratch.
  • Sliced lemons – optional for garnish

Can I use lemon curd instead of lemon pudding?

Yes, you can substitute a jar or lemon curd following the same method for spreading it over the poked holes in the cake.

Step by Step Instructions – Moist Lemon Poke Cake with Pudding

You can find a full printable recipe card with instructions at the bottom of this post.

Cake mix with lemon zest in mixing bowl with hand mixer.

You will need a lightly greased 9×13-inch cake pan for this dessert recipe. You can use a light coating of butter or non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, water and a box of lemon cake mix until well combined. Stir in the lemon zest.

Next, transfer the cake batter to the prepared baking dish and bake in a 350°F oven for 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Let the cake cool for one hour.

Vanilla pudding is spread on top of cake that has been poked with holes.

Use the handle of a wooden spoon or skewer to poke holes in the cake.

Make the lemon pudding: Whisk both boxes of lemon pudding mix with milk until smooth, well combined and thickened.

Spread some of the lemon pudding across the top of the cake. Use a spatula to spread out the pudding in a thin coat, first ensuring that some of the pudding goes into each of the poke holes. Top the cake with the remaining pudding.
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour (up to overnight).

Whipped topping is spread on top of lemon pudding in baking dish.

After chill time, spread the whipped topping over the chilled lemon poke cake.

Sliced of lemon pudding poke cake on an aqua plate with sliced lemons and a fork.

Serve this deliciously moist cake with lemon slices for garnish and additional whipped cream. Serve with vanilla ice cream for a spring or summer treat. Also delicious with fresh berries on the side such as raspberries and stawberries. Enjoy!

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Lemon poke cake on a plate with a fork.

BEST Lemon Poke Cake Recipe (With Jello Pudding)


  • Author: Sandra Flegg
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings

Description

Lemon lovers will be thrilled with this Lemon Poke Cake recipe. It’s super-moist with a creamy lemon pudding layer and creamy whipped topping, garnished with a slice of lemon. 

This easy dessert recipe is made with a boxed cake mix and it just doesn’t get any easier than this! Perfect for family gatherings and potlucks. 


Ingredients

1 box (15.25 oz.) lemon cake mix

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 cup water, room temperature

1/2 cup (118ml) vegetable oil

Zest from 1/2 lemon

Lemon Pudding
2 (3.4ounce each) instant lemon pudding mix

3 cups cold milk

1 (8 ounce) tub cool whip topping

Optional sliced lemons for garnish


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or a light coat of butter.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, water and lemon cake mix until well combined.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest until combined.
  4. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish. Bake in 350°F oven for 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  5. Cool cake for one hour.
  6. Use the end of a wooden spoon or skewer to poke holes in the cake.
  7. Make the lemon pudding: Whisk both boxes of lemon pudding mix with milk unti smooth and well combined and thickened.
  8. Spread some of the lemon pudding across the top of the cake. Use a spatula to spread out the pudding in a thin coat, first ensuring that some of the pudding goes into each of the poke holes. Top the cake with the remaining pudding.
  9. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour (up to overnight).
  10. After chill time, spread the whipped topping over the chilled lemon poke cake.
  11. Serve and top with lemon slices if using and enjoy!

Notes

Store leftover poke cake in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Chil Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 186
  • Sugar: 7.2 g
  • Sodium: 183.2 mg
  • Fat: 11.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 8.6 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.2 g
  • Fiber: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 4.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 47.9 mg

Keywords: Lemon poke cake

One Comment

  1. This lemon poke cake is so good it has already been requested as a birthday cake for this year. Great flavors that meld together so well that it feels like it should be so much harder to make than it is for how moist and delicious it is!

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