This easy Lemon Poke Cake is made with lemon cake mix, lemon pudding mix, milk, and cool whip. It’s a refreshing lemon dessert that is a family favorite.
$4.36 is all it costs to make this cake which serves 12. That is just $0.36 per serving!
Lemon Poke Cake
For a deliciously soft, moist, light, and refreshing cake, this Lemon Poke Cake is the way to go! It is the perfect blend of sweet and tart lemon flavor.
After baking the lemon cake, you poke holes in it to allow the lemon pudding to fill those holes and then top it with creamy Cool Whip.
This cake is truly a cool and creamy dessert, perfect for any Spring or Summer potluck, BBQ, or weeknight dessert. The burst of lemon flavor in each bite is something your friends and family (and your tastebuds) will thank you for!
Grab the kiddos to help make this Lemon Poke Cake because it is so easy and fun to make!
What can I use to poke holes in the cake?
A wooden spoon works perfectly for this! The end of a wooden spoon is just the right size to poke holes in the cake for the pudding mixture to fall into.
Just be sure to keep the holes about one inch apart. If the holes are too close, too much pudding will get inside the cake, resulting in a soggy cake. If there are not enough holes, it could result in a dry cake from not having enough pudding.
Can you put pudding in the middle of a cake?
Yes! A poke cake is a cake in which you poke holes in it and then pour a pudding mixture over it. As you spread the pudding mixture over the cake, it will fill the holes. This puts pudding in the middle of a cake, resulting in a moist cake.
Can I use cook and serve pudding instead of instant in a cake recipe?
Yes, you can use cook and serve instead of instant. It will add more time to the prep-time to the recipe, but you can use it if you do not have instant pudding.
How to make Lemon Poke Cake recipe:
STEP ONE: First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Then spray a 9×13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
STEP TWO: Next, make the cake. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth into an even layer.
STEP THREE: Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely for one hour.
STEP FOUR: Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes over the cake. Set the cake aside.
STEP FIVE: Make the filling mixture in a medium bowl. Pour this evenly over the cake and then let it chill for one hour.
STEP SIX: Finally, spread the cool whip over the pudding layer and top with sliced lemons and zest before serving.
How much will this Lemon Poke Cake recipe cost to make:
RECIPE COST: $4.36
PRICE PER SERVING: $0.36
- 15.25 oz box lemon cake – $1.16
- 1 cup water – $0.00
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil – $0.24
- 3 large eggs – $0.30
- 2 packages instant lemon pudding mix – $0.50
- 2 cups cold milk – $0.32
- 8 oz container Cool Whip – $1.84
To find out more about how we price our recipes, check out Budget Recipes Explained.
The Flavor and Recipe Variations
- This cake is so versatile, you can use any flavor of cake mix and Jello instant pudding that you’d like!
- You can also dress this cake up with white chocolate shavings or sprinkles.
- You can also make this into an 8-inch round layer cake. You’ll need 2 tubs of Cool Whip instead of 1.
- If you want a real lemon punch, use 2 jars of lemon curd instead of the lemon pudding.
How long is it good for:
Serve: You can leave the lemon poke cake at room temperature for about 2 hours before it will need to be refrigerated.
Store: When you’re ready to eat the Lemon Poke Cake, thaw it at room temperature for 1-2 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Freeze: Wrap the cake, while in the cake pan, in two layers of plastic wrap followed by two foil layers. Freeze the cake for up to 2 months.
How to get the kids involved with this recipe:
Ages 2-3: Show your little one how to poke holes in the cake with the end of the wooden spoon. They will seriously love poking the holes!
Ages 4-5: Have your child mix the pudding mixture and then pour and spread it over the cake. They can also help spread the cool whip topping over the top of the cake.
Ages 6-8: This is a great recipe to let your child try on their own with your guidance. It is a great recipe for beginners.
Ages 9-11: Supervise them while they prepare the entire recipe. Remember to have them read it twice before beginning the recipe.
Ages 12+: Let them prepare the entire recipe, unsupervised, while you do the happy dance in the corner!
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Lemon Poke Cake
- 9x13-inch pan
- mixing bowls
- mixing spoon
- Wooden spoon
- Liquid measuring cup
- pastry spatula
- 15.25 oz box lemon cake mix we used Betty Crocker
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 (3.9) oz packages instant lemon pudding mix
- 2 cups cold milk
- 8 oz container Cool Whip
- Lemon zest and slices both optional
PREP OVEN AND PAN:
- Move oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and eggs. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- Pour batter into the prepared baking pan smooth into an even layer.
BAKE AND COOL:
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake completely, for about 1 hour.
POKE AND FILL CAKE:
- Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes over each inch of the cake. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk. Whisk together until smooth.
- Pour pudding over cake and spread evenly.
- Cover and refrigerate the cake for one hour.
- Spread the Cool Whip over the pudding layer.
- Top with sliced lemons and zest, both optional. Serve.