This strawberry jello cake recipe is the ultimate summer dessert! Packed full of sweet strawberries and cool cream with a fun red and white swirl inside this delicious cake! This dessert is perfect for cookouts, picnics, summer parties and other family gatherings.
For The Cake
- Box White cake mix– yellow box mix can work also
- Oil – vegetable oil, avocado oil, use your favorite baking oil
- Egg Whites
- Strawberry gelatin mix– like Jell-O
- Whipped topping like Cool Whip
- Strawberries – Fresh berries for the top of the cake.
For The Strawberry Sauce
- Strawberries – Fresh or frozen work for the sauce depending on what you have on hand
- Granulated sugar – basic white sugar
- Lemon juice
How To Make Strawberry Jello Poke Cake
Making a poke cake isn’t very hard, but it does require adding a few layers. Luckily with a poke cake you don’t have to be as neat and precise as you would for a layer cake or even cupcakes. Try to spread your payers evenly so every slice gets a bite of everything. Once the layers are all on there, the cake will look (and taste) delicious once chilled!
If you love strawberry desserts, you HAVE to try Strawberry Shortcake cupcakes! Creamy, sweet and just the right amount of strawberry deliciousness!
- 1. Bake The Cake– Start by mixing the boxed cake mix into a batter in a large bowl. Bake the cake according to the package directions in a 9 x 12 inch pan. Allow the cake to cool for at least 15 minutes before adding toppings, or until the cake is mostly cool to the touch.
- 2. Start The Strawberry Sauce – While the cake is baking, combine strawberry, sugar and lemon and place ingredients in a saucepan. You can use fresh or frozen strawberries for this step but know if you choose frozen the strawberries need to cook an extra few minutes.
- 3. Cook The Strawberry Sauce – Cook the strawberry sauce until it’s thick and sweet. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This is sauce is the same type of sauce you would use to add to cheesecake or pour over ice cream.
- 4. Poke Holes In The Cake – Use the end of a wooden spoon or something similar. Poke rows of holes in the cake that are about an inch apart. It doesn’t matter exactly how many holes you have, but you do want the holes to be spaced out a little so the cake doesn’t become oversaturated with jello in any one place.
- 5. Make The Jello– Prepare the jello mixture by first dissolving it in hot water, then adding cold water to it to cool it down. We want the strawberry jello mix to be not warm to the touch when we pour it on the cake. Once finished you’ll carefully pour the jello over the cake by pouring it in each of the holes you made in the cake.
- 6. Add The Strawberry Sauce- Next layer the strawberry sauce over the top of the entire cake. At this point, chill the cake for at least 4 hours to set or overnight. Adding the whipped topping before the cake is chilled can cause the cake to be too watery.
- 7. Top With Whipped Topping– Add a layer of whipped topping over top of the entire cake, spreading it as evenly as you can.
- 8. Decorate With Strawberries And Chill – Decorate the top of the cake with more slices of fresh strawberry. Place the cake in the fridge until you are ready to eat! Once the cake is chilled, cut into it and enjoy!
Why Is This Called A Poke Cake?
A poke cake is made by taking a mostly cooled cake and using a spoon handle or some other tool to poke holes all over the cake. You then create some kind of filling that you add to the holes before frosting. In the case of this cake, we are filling the holes with strawberry jello. Poke cake recipes can use jello, vanilla pudding or other flavors of pudding, pastry cream, sweet condensed milk, caramel, or just pureed fruit to fill the holes in the cake.
When you slice into a poke cake, you get these fun layers all throughout the cake. This adds a ton of flavor to a regular ol’ boxed cake mix.
Do I Have To Add The Strawberry Sauce?
The strawberry sauce gives this poke cake just a little something special. It really takes the “boxed cake” flavor out of this cake and brings it up a level.
But you can make this cake without the strawberry sauce and this strawberry jello cake will still be delicious.
Can I Use Another Jello Flavor?
Really you can substitute any flavor of jello you like in this cake. Just keep in mind that the jello does add flavor and color to the cake.
I recommend picking a red jello to go with the strawberry. Flavors like raspberry, strawberry banana and cherry jello are delicious and still give the cake the beautiful red and white swirl.
I have seen people use a mix of red and blue jello for a poke cake for holidays like Memorial Day or Fourth of July. I’ve found that making a cake like this can be hit or miss. If you poke the holes too close together the blue jello and the red jello can sometimes run together, and the red color tends to take over the cake. I would also leave off the strawberry sauce for a red and blue cake.
Can You Freeze Strawberry Jello Cake?
You can freeze your strawberry jello cake but these tricks will help so your cake is still tasty. First off when you are ready to freeze the cake, stop after you add the strawberry sauce and freeze the cake then. This allows all of the layers to set really well without it getting watery later when you defrost the cake. Wrap the cake tightly is plastic wrap before putting the strawberry poke cake into the freezer.
When you are ready to enjoy the cake, place it in the fridge for 24 hours before you want to eat the cake. This will allow the cake to defrost so it isn’t too hard when you go to take a bite.
Once the cake has defrosted, add the cool whip and fresh strawberries and your cake is ready to eat!
How Long Does Jello Cake Last In The Fridge?
I mean, this cake is so good it won’t last long! Strawberry jello cake is best if eaten within 2-3 days. Make sure when you store it that you refrigerate it and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or an airtight container.
Other Recipes You Will Love
- Easy Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts- These strawberry pop tarts are such a TREAT fresh from the oven or air fryer!
- Whipped Strawberry Milk– Creamy and decadent strawberry flavored whipped cream on top of hot or iced milk. So easy to make and so delicious! You’ll feel like you walked out of a fancy coffee shop.
- Raspberry Cupcakes– Moist fresh raspberry cupcakes topped with a cream cheese frosting and fresh raspberries for decoration!
Strawberry Jello Cake (Poke Cake!)
For The Cake
- 1 Boxed White cake mix
- 1/2 Cup Oil
- 3 Egg Whites
- 1 Cup Water
- 3.3 Ounces Strawberry gelatin mix like Jell-O, 1 box
- 10 Ounces Whipped topping like Cool Whip
- 16 Ounces Strawberries One pint
- 7 Ounces Fresh or frozen strawberries About a cup
- 1/2 Cup Granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Baking The Cake
- Grease a 9×13 inch pan. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions, mixing in the egg whites (or whole eggs), oil and water as listed on the package. I've listed the most common egg, oil and water amounts in the ingredients but use the amounts listed on your package.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for a metal pan and 325 degrees for a glass pan. Pour the batter into a 9×13 pan and bake according to the package directions, usually 28-35 minutes.
- Let the cake cool for at least 15-20 minutes or until cool to the touch.
Make The Strawberry Sauce
- In a medium sauce pan add 7 ounces strawberries (1 cup), sugar and lemon juice. Cook until the sauce begins to thicken, about 6 minutes.
- Once the cake is cool, poke holes in the cake in rows for the Jell-O, about 9-10 rows down the longer side of the pan. Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a similar tool to poke holes in even lines all the way down the cake.
Add Jello And Strawberry Sauce Layers
- Prepare the jello in a pourable container. Add 1 cup of boiling water to the mix and stir until the gelatin dissolves. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and continue stirring for a minute.
- Carefully pour the prepared Jell-O evenly over top of the cake. Pour evenly so all of the holes are filled with Jell-O.
- Spread the strawberry sauce evenly over the top of the entire cake. Chill the entire cake for at least 4 hours (or overnight) so the jello and the strawberry sauce both have plenty of time to set.
Decorate The Cake
- Top the cake with the whipped topping and decorate with sliced strawberries. Place in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy!
- The cake mix flavor can be swapped out easily for other flavors such as yellow cake, strawberry cake or even cherry chip. Chocolate or other darker-colored cakes don’t typically work as well because it’s then harder to see the red jello in the cake. Follow the directions on your box of cake mix to know how much water, oil and eggs to add to your cake and how long to bake it.
- For the strawberry sauce you can use fresh or frozen strawberries. If you choose frozen strawberries you will need to cook the sauce for an extra few minutes.
- When the strawberry sauce is thick enough that it can coat the back of a spoon, the sauce has cooked enough.
- You can use any flavor of gelatin you want. Keep in mind using strawberry enhances the strawberry flavor. Using other flavors may give your cake a different combination of flavors. (Try raspberry, it’s delicious too!)
- When you are chilling your cake, make sure the cake is sitting flat. If your cake leans, the liquid in the cake will also lean to one side.