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5-Ingredient Lemon Poke Cake – I Heart Naptime


This lemon poke cake is moist, light, airy, and exactly what you want to sink your fork into when Spring comes calling! Made with 5 ingredients, this simple-to-make cake is great for Easter, backyard parties, or as a weeknight dessert!

slice of lemon cake

Best Lemon Poke Cake Recipe

I can’t tell you how many times a fast jello poke cake has arrive to my rescue when needing to make an impressive dessert with small advance detect. It comes together so easily and consists of just 5 ingredients, one of them being a boxed cake mix which means I’m already ahead of the game.

The bright lemon flavor makes this cake one of the top lemon desserts! It’s made with a lemon cake base that is poked so that the lemon jello mixture can soak through. It is then chilled and topped with your choice of homemade whipped cream or cool whip. Served chilled, it is refreshing, light, and airy!

Why Make This Lemon Poke Cake?

  • You can use whatever flavor jello you want! Lemon of course pairs well with lemon cake but so does blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, and orange. The color contrast looks pretty too.
  • As simple and fast as it is to make, it’s a great make-ahead cake too! It’s served chilled, and the longer it sits, the more the flavors obtain absorbed.
  • It’s a crowd favorite and always a hit at parties and just as great for a weekend baking project with the kids.

How to Make this Lemon Jello Poke Cake Recipe

  1. Mix the batter in a bowl and bake the cake according to package directions. Allow it to cool.
  2. Poke holes in the cake. For smaller holes use a fork or butter knife and for larger holes use the cope with of a wooden spoon.
  3. Whisk lemon Jell-O with hot water until it dissolves. Pour in cold water and stir. Wait 1 minute before pouring the jello mixture evenly all over the cake.
  4. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Top with homemade whipped cream or cool whip and keep chilled until you’re alert to slice and serve. A few slices of lemon on top is a great way to garnish it!
slice of lemon cake

Possible Variations

  • White cake mix. For a more mellow version if you want to dial down the lemon you can use a white cake mix instead. You can also make a cake from scratch if that’s on your to-do list!
  • Yellow cake mix and lemon juice. If you’re having trouble finding lemon cake, a yellow cake mix works too. Add a bit of fresh lemon juice to give it a dose of lemon flavor.
  • Using a store bought whipped topping can be done if preferred.
  • Pudding poke cakes are also a thing, so you can easily swap the jello for instant lemon pudding mix or even homemade lemon curd.
  • Swap jello flavors. As mentioned above, raspberry, strawberry, blueberry, or orange all pair well with lemon.
  • A different frosting. Leave off the whipped topping and slather it with a cream cheese frosting or lemon frosting instead.
  • You could also enjoy it plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar, or a drizzle of lemon glaze or cream cheese glaze.

Top it Off!

I like to terminate it off with a few lemon slices. You can also use candied lemon rinds or lemon zest.

Storing & Freezing

  • Store this cake in the fridge until you’re alert to serve. Then, once people have been served put it right back.
  • Freeze it without any topping. Once it has chilled and set in the fridge, wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in a freezer-friendly bag for up to 1 month. When you’re alert to enjoy it, thaw in the fridge overnight then add the whipped topping.
slice of lemon cake with fork

More Easy Lemon Desserts:

Lemon Poke Cake

This lemon poke cake is moist, light, airy, and exactly what you want to sink your fork into when Spring comes calling! Made with 5 ingredients, this simple-to-make cake is great for Easter, backyard parties, or as a weeknight dessert!

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 25 mins

Chill time:: 1 hr

Total Time: 1 hr 45 mins

  • 15 ounce box moist lemon cake mix , plus ingredients on box
  • 3 ounce box lemon jello
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2-3 cups homemade whipped cream , or cool whip

Lemon for topping, optional

  • Variations: You can use any flavor of jello for this recipe. Some of our favorites are strawberry, raspberry, blue raspberry and orange. 
  • Make ahead: This is the great make-ahead dessert. Feel free to make it the day before and let it chill in the fridge overnight.
  • Freezing: I’d recommend freezing without the whipped topping. Simply wrap with plastic wrap then place in a freezer bag or container. Store in freezer for up to 1 month. Then when alert to enjoy, thaw and top with whipped cream or cool whip.

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 111kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 169mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 0.4mg


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