I love poke cakes! And, we love this new one, Super Easy Lemon Poke Cake: Only 3 ingredients!
For years my family has enjoyed a poke cake that we call “The Butterfinger Cake” which is actually a Butterfinger Poke Cake.
What is a Poke Cake?
Recently, I found out that these cakes are called a “Poke cake”. It’s funny, because I didn’t know this, so for all those years we called that cake the “Butterfinger cake”.
However, in the last few years or maybe many more these cakes have been called poke cakes, because you “poke” holes in the cake to allow the sweet sauce or whatever you pour on top to soak in. YUM!
As you will see, this cake has A LOT OF HOLES poked in the top of it. My daughter, Kaitlyn, came in the kitchen about the time I was fixing to poke the holes into the cake top and she wanted to poke the holes, LOL, and she poked a bunch.
I got tickled, because I don’t poke that many holes, but she sweetly informed me that the more holes that you poke into the cake the more sweetened condensed milk or sauce will soak into the cake. So, here we are, LOL.
What is in a Lemon Poke Cake: (scroll down for printable recipe)
- White cake mix or a lemon cake mix (eggs, water and vegetable oil) -either cake mix will work, it just depends on how much lemon flavor that you would like.
- Lemon Pie Filling or lemon pudding (see below for explanation on which one to choose)
- Cool whip
- Lemon to zest (optional)
Lemon Pudding vs Lemon Pie Filling??
Either one of these will work in this recipe. The biggest difference between lemon pudding and lemon pie filling is that the Lemon pie filling is SO MUCH more tart and lemony! So, it depends on if you want a little lemon flavor (Lemon pudding) or A LOT of lemon flavor (Lemon pie filling).
Lemon Pie Filling – a lot of lemon flavor and tart, but sweet. (my family’s favorite!!)
Lemon pudding – a light lemon flavor
Is Off Brand OK?
Remember! That it is ok to buy an off brand of any of the ingredients! Sometimes, for the blog, I’ll buy name brand, but most of the time I don’t buy name brand. Why? Because, I have found out that the off brand USUALLY tastes as good as the name brand.
So, just because a recipe calls for a certain brand, remember that you can choose to buy a different brand! (that’s all a mouth full, LOL)
How do I make a Lemon Poke Cake? (scroll down for printable recipe)
- Prepare cake box mix as directed on box. Let the cake cool completely. This is important, because the first time that I made this cake I didn’t let it cool completely. My cake was a little warm, but I was in a hurry to make it and I did not think that it would matter.
Well, I found out different, lol, because I went ahead and added the cool whip.
My topping of cool whip started sliding off the cake and I hurried and place the entire cake into the refrigerator to stop my cool whip from melting, LOL.
So, definitely let the cake completely cool to room temperature before adding the lemon pie filling and cool whip to the top of the cake.
2. After the cake has completely cooled, poke holes in the top of the cake – my white cake actually was yellow due to the fact that I added farm eggs which are really yellow. So, if you want a truly white cake then only add egg whites and no yolks.
3. Spread on the Lemon Pie filling or the prepared Lemon pudding (follow directions on box).
4. Carefully spread on the cool whip
5. Optional: zest a lemon on top of the cool whip
How Many Holes Should You Poke In A Poke Cake?
Take a straw and poke holes into the cake. In the many years that I have made “poke” cakes I have used different utensils to poke holes. I have tried the end of wooden spoons and forks, but my youngest daughter, Kaitlyn, came up with the straw idea.
She LOVES the Butterfinger Poke Cake. Every year on her birthday she will ask for this cake and usually she wants to make it, I know she wants to make her own birthday cake, LOL.
Well, she found that using a straw was the best way to poke holes into the cake. I was starting to poke the holes into this red velvet cake and she came into the kitchen and started poking the holes for me.
I was surprised, because I didn’t plan on poking as many holes as she did, LOL, she poked A LOT OF HOLES, she said that this helped the sweetened condensed milk to soak MORE into the cake. So, she was teaching me and giving me some great advice!
Can I make my own Whipped Cream?
Yes, you can make your own homemade whipped topping. The ingredients are heavy whipping cream and a little sugar. Beat with mixer until you form peaks and then spread on the cake.
Place cake into the refrigerator for a couple of hours before serving. Remember that this cake is best eaten cold as told again by my kiddos, lol. However, the first piece was eaten warm, because they could not wait until the cake chilled, lol.
But, later after they had eaten more chilled cake, they said they did like this cake better cold. Needless to say, I will not have any leftovers to freeze which is wonderful to me, because I love to cook for my family and I enjoy it when they eat it all. LOL
If I have leftovers, either I cooked too much which I sometimes do, because I have 6 people in my family or they didn’t love what I cooked, lol. Leftovers are meal prepped for my husband. Sometimes, but most of the time, he will take his lunch to work.
- A straw works great to poke holes
- The more holes the better (my kids say, lol)
- Best eaten cold (my kids say, lol)
- Make sure the cake is completely cool before adding cool whip, because it will melt to the sides, LOL (I found this out, because I was in a hurry)
- You can add crushed cookies to the top of the cool whip. Crush up your favorite cookie and sprinkle on top of the cool whip
- If you have any leftovers, you can place them in the freezer.
- You can also use any cake mix, instead of the red velvet cake mix. For example, try a german chocolate cake mix or a strawberry cake mix. The options are endless with all the different cake mixes and cookies.
Try a Different Cake Mix!
- German chocolate cake
- Strawberry cake
- White cake
- Chocolate cake
- Carrot cake
- Yellow cake
- Butter pecan
- Funfetti cake
- Lemon cake
- Orange supreme cake
- Banana supreme cake
- Cherry chip cake
- White cake mix or Lemon cake mix
- Oil, eggs and water for cake mix
- Lemon pie filling 22 oz can or a box of lemon pudding (milk for pudding)
- 8 oz cool whip
- 1 Lemon to zest (optional)
- Prepare box cake mix as directed and bake
- Let cake completely cool
- Using a straw poke holes in the top of the cake (see picture in post)
- Spread lemon pie filling OR lemon pudding over cooled cake
- Then, spread cool whip
- Zest lemon over top of cool whip (optional)
Be sure to check out our other dessert recipes
- Red Velvet Poke Cake: 4 ingredients
- Maple Pecan Cream Pie
- Turtle Cheesecake
- Butterfinger Caramel Cake
- Lemon Pie Bars With Lemon Glaze
- Granny Eppler’s Peach Cobbler
- Easy Key Lime Pie
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
We would love to see what you bake using all of our recipes! Be sure to tag us @TheLazyKKitchen on Instagram!
Perfect Cake For Your Next Party or Event:
- New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve
- Valentine’s Day for your sweetheart
- Memorial Day
- 4th of July
- Thanksgiving’s Day
- Wedding Showers
- Baby Showers
- Bridal Showers
- Anniversary parties
- Graduation parties
- Kid’s birthday parties
- Birthday parties