Strawberry-Lemon Poke Cake


A delicious strawberry-lemon version of everyone's favorite poke cake that is perfect for warmer weather get-togethers.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
30 mins
Additional Time:
4 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs 10 mins
1 9x13-inch cake


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) package vanilla cake mix (such as Betty Crocker®)

  • 1 cup water

  • 3 eggs

  • cup vegetable oil

  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant lemon pudding mix, divided

  • 2 (8 ounce) containers whipped topping (such as Cool Whip), divided

  • 2 (16 ounce) packages fresh strawberries, diced, divided

  • ¾ cup white sugar

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest, divided


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

  2. Combine cake mix, water, eggs, oil, and 1 box lemon pudding in a large bowl; beat using an electric mixer on low speed until moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan.

  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 28 to 33 minutes. Immediately after baking, poke holes down through cake with the rounded handle of a wooden spoon in 1-inch intervals. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

  4. While cake is baking, combine one 8-ounce container of whipped topping with remaining package of lemon pudding mix in a small bowl. Mix until pudding is well incorporated. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

  5. Add one 16-ounce package of diced strawberries to a saucepan with sugar, cornstarch, and 2 teaspoons lemon zest. Cook over medium heat until it begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer until strawberries soften, sugar has fully dissolved, and syrup has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

  6. Spread lemon pudding mixture evenly across the cooled cake, allowing it to go into the holes. Pour and spread strawberry syrup mixture on top of the lemon layer. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  7. Frost cake with remaining 8 ounces of whipped topping and top with remaining strawberries and remaining lemon zest.

Cook's Notes:

You can use a 21-ounce box of gluten-free cake mix instead of a 15.25-ounce box of regular, if you'd like.

Strawberries can be mashed after cooking using a potato masher for a smoother sauce if desired.

Editor's Note:

The directions for making the cake are based on the particular brand mentioned. Follow instructions on the box if using a different brand.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

232 Calories
9g Fat
36g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 232
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 11%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 232mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 18g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 23mg 115%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 82mg 2%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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