Lemon Poke Cake

Elevate Your Dessert Game with Lemon Poke Cake

When life gives you lemons, make Lemon Poke Cake! This delightful dessert is a refreshing twist on the classic poke cake, featuring moist lemon-flavored cake infused with tangy lemon Jell-O and creamy lemon pudding. Topped with fluffy whipped topping and a sprinkle of lemon zest, this dessert is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser at any gathering. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue, a birthday celebration, or simply craving a sweet treat, this Lemon Poke Cake is sure to brighten your day. Join us as we dive into the zesty world of Lemon Poke Cake, complete with step-by-step instructions, cooking tips, creative variations, and keto-friendly options to suit every palate.


  • 1 box lemon cake mix (plus required ingredients usually water, oil, and eggs)
  • 1 package (3 oz) lemon-flavored Jell-O mix
  • 1 package (3.4 oz) lemon instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed
  • Lemon zest (optional, for garnish)
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional, for serving)


Preparing the Lemon Cake:

  1. Mixing the Cake Batter: Preheat your oven according to the instructions on the cake mix box. In a large mixing bowl, prepare the lemon cake mix according to the package instructions, using water, oil, and eggs.
  2. Baking the Cake: Pour the cake batter into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Place the dish in the preheated oven and bake the cake according to the package instructions, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. Cooling the Cake: Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.

Creating the Lemon Poke Holes:

  1. Poking Holes: Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a skewer, poke holes all over the surface of the cake, spacing them evenly apart.
  2. Preparing the Jell-O Mixture: In a small bowl, prepare the lemon-flavored Jell-O mix according to the package instructions, using hot water. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
  3. Pouring the Jell-O: Slowly pour the prepared Jell-O mixture over the surface of the cake, allowing it to seep into the holes.

Making the Lemon Pudding Layer:

  1. Mixing the Lemon Pudding: In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon instant pudding mix and cold milk until smooth and creamy.
  2. Spreading the Pudding: Pour the pudding mixture over the top of the cake, spreading it evenly with a spatula to cover the entire surface.

Adding the Topping:

  1. Layering with Whipped Topping: Spread the thawed whipped topping over the top of the pudding layer, creating a smooth and even surface.
  2. Garnishing with Lemon Zest: For an extra burst of lemon flavor and a decorative touch, sprinkle lemon zest over the whipped topping.

Serving and Enjoying:

  1. Chilling Time: Refrigerate the Lemon Poke Cake for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to allow the flavors to meld and the cake to set.
  2. Serving: When ready to serve, slice the chilled cake into squares and serve on dessert plates. Optional: Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for added indulgence.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Lemon Cake Mix: If you can’t find lemon cake mix, you can use yellow cake mix and add lemon extract or lemon zest to the batter for a homemade lemon flavor.
  • Gelatin Variation: Experiment with different flavors of gelatin mix, such as lime or orange, to create unique flavor combinations for your poke cake.
  • Fruit Addition: Enhance the citrus flavor by adding fresh berries or sliced fruit as a garnish on top of the whipped topping.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

Keto Version:

  • Almond Flour Cake: Substitute the lemon cake mix with a keto-friendly almond flour cake mix or make your own almond flour cake batter using almond flour, sweetener, eggs, and lemon extract.
  • Sugar-Free Jell-O: Use sugar-free lemon gelatin mix to reduce the carb content of the cake while still enjoying the tangy flavor.

Low-Carb Version:

  • Coconut Flour Cake: Create a low-carb version of the cake by using coconut flour instead of traditional flour in the cake batter. Adjust the liquid ingredients accordingly for the right consistency.
  • Stevia Sweetener: Use a natural sweetener such as stevia or erythritol in place of sugar to reduce the carb content of the cake without sacrificing sweetness.

In conclusion, Lemon Poke Cake is a delightful dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. With its vibrant lemon flavor, moist cake layers, and creamy pudding filling, this dessert is sure to brighten your day and satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you’re serving it at a summer picnic, a potluck dinner, or a family gathering, this Lemon Poke Cake is guaranteed to be a hit. So gather your ingredients, follow the simple instructions, and treat yourself to the refreshing taste of Lemon Poke Cake today!

Additional Tips and Serving Suggestions

  • Make-Ahead Option: Prepare the Lemon Poke Cake a day in advance and refrigerate it overnight to allow the flavors to develop and the cake to set. This makes it a convenient dessert option for busy days or special occasions.
  • Storage Tips: Store any leftover cake in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, for up to 3-4 days. Enjoy chilled straight from the fridge or bring it to room temperature before serving for optimal taste and texture.
  • Creative Garnishes: Get creative with your garnishes by adding fresh lemon slices, mint leaves, or edible flowers to the top of each slice for a decorative touch. This adds visual appeal and elevates the presentation of the dessert.

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