In this post: This poke cake is just about the easiest cake you can make, combining two of the most universally loved desserts—poke cake and Jello.


I’m not much of a baker. I can only bake one kind of cookie. And I once set the oven on fire (as a teenager) because I put too much butter on an apple pie crust. But even I can make a box cake mix and some Jell-o to create this poke cake with Jello that can work for any celebration! 

Patriotic Poke Cake Recipe for Canada Day 4th of July

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and easy
  • Can be customized for ANY occasion
  • Uses easy to find ingredients
  • Can use cake mix or homemade cake
  • Doesn’t require any special baking skills
patriotic poke cake piece with whipped cream and cherry on top

Poke Cake with Jello Ingredients

For the full ingredients list and printable instructions, see the recipe card below. 

For the poke cake

  • 1 18.25 ounce package of white cake mix, prepared to package instructions (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 package 3-ounce package strawberry gelatin (use a vegan version, if desired)
  • 1 package 3-ounce package blueberry gelatin (use a vegan version, if desired)
  • 2 cups boiling water, for gelatin

For the cream cheese frosting (optional – you could use prepared icing instead)

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (use dairy-free or vegan, if desired)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tbsp milk (use non-dairy milk, if desired)
  • 8 ounces whipped topping (like Cool Whip), thawed (use a vegan option if desired)

Variations for Jello Poke Cake

  • Use white cake and red jello for Canada Day. Top with sliced strawberries. 
  • Or try alternating red and blue jello for the 4th of July. Slice up 1-quart strawberries and 2 cups of blueberries and arrange them on the top of the cake like a flag.
  • Red and green jello works for Christmas.
  • Make black jello from grape jello and black food coloring and pair well with orange jello for Halloween. 
  • Before baking the cake, stir sprinkles into the cake mix for a funfetti-style cake.
  • Add whipped cream and a cherry on top for more colorful fun.
  • Swap the white or yellow cake for chocolate cake for an entirely different twist on this jello poke cake. 
  • Try other flavors of jello like lime, lemon, cherry, peach, watermelon, or island pineapple. 
  • Skip the cream cheese frosting and simply top it with whipped cream. 
patriotic poke cake whole

How to Make Poke Cake with Jello

1. Bake the cake in a 13×9 pan according to package instructions. Allow the cake to cool completely.

2. Poke holes in the top of the cake, using a fork for small holes or the handle end of a wooden spoon for larger holes.

poke holes in cake with a fork

3. Make the Jello. Mix together the gelatin with 1 cup of boiling water until dissolved, and then spoon each prepared gelatin over the cake, making sure to pour over the holes.

spoon gelatin over cake in alternating rows for jello poke cake
making poke cake with jello

4. Top with icing. If you’re making the icing, mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix in the whipped topping. Spread over the cake.

5. Add fruit or other embellishments as desired.

6. Chill in the fridge for 4 hours before serving.

Poke cake with jello

Jello Poke Cake Serving Suggestions

  • Poke cake with Jello is perfect for a summer after dinner dessert, or to take on a picnic or to a potluck.
  • Serve with a scoop of ice cream (non-dairy for my vegan friends).
  • After preparing it, you can cut the patriotic poke cake and serve it on pretty white dishes with color-coordinated napkins.

Tips for Success

  • Be sure to let the cake cool completely to avoid a soggy bottomed cake. 
  • Use a syringe to fill the holes if you don’t want jello all over the cake. 
  • If you’re using more than one color of Jello, add your Jello in rows and alternate the colors so you get a colorful mix of colors in the cake. It’s good to spoon over each row 2-3 times for good coverage.
  • Add the whipped topping just before serving and make sure the cake doesn’t sit out at room temperature – or in the heat – for long.

Storing, Freezing + Make Ahead

This jello poke cake can be stored in the fridge for several days before serving as long as it is in an airtight container. 

It can also be frozen for up to 1 month in an airtight container before you add any icing or frosting. When you’re ready to enjoy it, thaw and top with icing or whipped topping, and serve cold. 

Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, covered with a lid or plastic wrap. 

patriotic poke cake piece with whipped cream and cherry on top

FAQs

What do you use to poke holes in a cake?

You can use just about anything you like. A fork is great for smaller holes, while the back of a wooden spoon is perfect for larger holes. 

Do you have to refrigerate poke cake?

Yes, jello poke cake needs to be refrigerated and needs to be served cold. 

How long is Jello cake good for?

3-5 days is best for this cake. Any longer and the cake may start to dry out. 

Can you freeze poke cake?

Yes! Although I recommend freezing before adding any icing or frosting. Simply store in an airtight container or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze once the cake is completely cooled and the jello has set. 

Can you change up the flavor of this cake?

Yes, you can change the flavor of this cake by changing the flavor of the cake mix or the flavor of jello you use. 

Can I make Jello poke cake with a different flavor of Jello?

Yes! You could try any of the Jello flavors with wonderful results! That’s the joy of this recipe, it’s so versatile and simple. 

Dietary Considerations

  • Make it gluten-free simply by using a gluten-free cake mix
  • Skip the cream cheese and use regular icing if you don’t want dairy
Patriotic Poke Cake Recipe for Canada Day 4th of July

Jello Poke Cake Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes

This poke cake is just about the easiest cake you can make, combining two of the most universally loved desserts—poke cake and Jello.

Ingredients

For the Poke Cake

  • 1 18.25 ounce package of white cake mix, prepared to package instructions (use gluten-free if needed)
  • 1 package 3-ounce package strawberry gelatin (use a vegan version, if desired)
  • 1 package 3-ounce package blueberry gelatin (use a vegan version, if desired)
  • 2 cups boiling water, for gelatin

For the icing (optional – you could use prepared icing instead)

  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (use dairy-free or vegan, if desired)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 tbsp milk (use non-dairy milk, if desired)
  • 8 ounces whipped topping, thawed (use a vegan option if desired)

Instructions

  1. Bake cake in a 13x9 pan according to package instructions. Allow to cool.
  2. Using a fork, poke holes in the top of the cake.
  3. Mix together the blue and red gelatin each with 1 cup of boiling water until dissolved, and then spoon each color gelatin over the cake, making sure to pour over the holes. 
  4. The best way to do this is if you're using more than one color is a row of blue, then a row of red, and alternate so you get a colorful mix of red and blue in the cake. It's good to spoon over each row 2-3 times for good coverage.
  5. Next, mix together cream cheese and powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk. Mix in the whipped topping.
  6. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cake.
  7. Chill for 4 hours before serving.

Notes

  • If you’re using more than one color of Jello, add your Jello in rows and alternate the colors so you get a colorful mix of colors in the cake. It’s good to spoon over each row 2-3 times for good coverage.
  • After preparing it, you can cut the patriotic poke cake and serve it on pretty white dishes with color-coordinated napkins.
  • Slice up 1-quart strawberries and 2 cups of blueberries and arrange them on the top of the cake like a flag for Canada Day or the 4th of July.
  • Add whipped cream and a cherry on top for more colorful fun.
  • Make it gluten-free simply by using a gluten-free cake mix!
  • Skip the cream cheese whipped icing and use a dairy-free icing if you don't want dairy! 

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 573Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 418mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 1gSugar: 40gProtein: 10g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily via Nutrifox.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Have you ever tried to make a poke cake with Jello? How did it turn out?

5 Secrets to be a Better Cook!

FREE Bonus!

shannon pixie photo and signature