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Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

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Yum Yum 4th of July cake with red white and blue

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake is a retro recipe from the 60’s. Vanilla or Yellow Cake is baked, poked full of holes, filled with a jello mixture, a layer of creamy vanilla pudding and topped off with Cool Whip! It’s called “Yum-Yum Cake” at this nest and it’s a favorite!

The good thing about being “old”… I mean “older”…is that you remember the original poke cake of the 1960’s!

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Can you believe they have actually been around for 50 years! It’s okay…we’ll let the younger generation think they invented the concept.  (Just like some people think they invented the web! Oooooh Girl!…no she didn’t?)

It’s one of my all time favorite cake recipes. I decided to give it a little holiday make-over for all of you. I added chopped maraschino cherries to the white cake mix , then filled the pokes with blueberry gelatin.

How To Make Traditional Poke Cake

You’ll need one white cake mix. Follow the directions on the package for the cake and prepare a 9 x 13 baking dish.

On a paper towel drain 10 -12 maraschino cherries. Chop them into small pieces.  Carefully fold the cherries into your white cake batter.

Tip: Don’t mix too much. You don’t want your white cake batter to turn pink. Just a few good folds and you’ll have them mixed in.

diced marachino cherries

Pour the cake batter into a prepared 9 x 13 pan, sprayed with baking spray,  and bake at 325° for 30 minutes.

white cake mix batter with diced cherries

TIP: Test the cake by gently pressing the center. If it springs back… it is done.  You can also test it by poking a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick is clean, it’s done.

Remove the cake from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Poke holes into the warm cake.

Tip: I used a paper straw to poke holes into my cake. You can also use the handle of a wooden spoon!

white cake poked with holes

Mix one small box of jello with 1 and 1/2 cups of hot water until gelatin has dissolved. I used Blueberry to create this Red, White, and Blue cake…but you can use any flavor you want.

Using a large spoon to drizzle the warm gelatin over the cake making sure to drizzle it down in the holes.

I know that the “new” method is to use a syringe to fill the holes. You really do not need to go to all that work! It’s okay if it goes all over the top of the cake. It doesn’t soak all the way through the entire cake. The majority is going to go down into those holes.

Once you have drizzled the top of the cake with the gelatin, place the cake in the refrigerator and allow it to set up for 30 – 45 minutes.

cake with holes and blue jello drizzle in the holes

In a medium bowl mix together 1 large package of instant vanilla pudding with 1 and 1/2 cups of cold milk. Whisk until thick. Spread on top of cake. This is one of my favorite elements of this cake…the cool pudding layer. YUM!

pudding layer on top of poke cake

Top with one 8 oz. container of Cool Whip Non-dairy topping.  You can sprinkle with coconut if you like. Our Nest isn’t full of coconut fans so I leave it off. (I love it…just not the kiddos. Kids!)

Refrigerate for 5 hours or over night.

cool whip topping on top of pudding

One of the things I LOVE about this Red, White, and Blue Poke cake is that it is served COLD!

It’s SO heavenly on a hot summer day! The cake is amazingly moist and the cool layer of creamy vanilla pudding and cool whip is dreamy!

slice of red, white, and blue poke cake

I garnished mine with a maraschino cherry and a couple fresh blueberries to keep with the patriotic look.

Great Fourth of July Recipes

It’s the perfect Memorial Day, Labor Day, or 4th of July dessert for kids… big and little! 😉  Enjoy!

Photo of Norine with her signature
Yield: 12 servings

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

This creamy dreamy poke cake is heavenly and perfect for your 4th of July celebrations or any summer night. Serve it ice cold! It's AMAZING!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • 1 Yellow or White Cake Mix
  • 1 small pkg blue jello (or other flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 Large Package of Vanilla Instant Pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups of ice cold milk
  • 1 8oz. carton of cool whip


  1. Make cake per the directions on the box.
  2. Bake in a prepared 9 x 13 pan at 325° for 30 minutes. Test to see if it is done by pressing gently on the center of the cake. If it springs back it is done.
  3. Remove cake from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Using a straw, or chop stick, poke holes all around the top of the cake while cake is still warm.
  5. Make jello using 1 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.
  6. Pour jello over warm cake and down into the holes.
  7. Place in refrigerator to cool. 30-45 minutes.
  8. Make pudding in a medium bowl using only 1 1/2 cup of cold milk. Whisk until well blended and thick.
  9. Spread on top of cake.
  10. Cover with cool whip.
  11. *Sprinkle with coconut if desired.
  12. Refrigerate for 5 hours or over night.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 square

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 79mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 2g

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The Better Baker

Friday 30th of June 2017

Yum oh yum! I want some! Terrific idea...enjoy a wonderful holiday week.

Monday 3rd of July 2017

Hi Marsha! Thanks SO much! You always brighten my day! Have a wonderful 4th with family and friends. ~Norine

Little Quiltsong

Friday 30th of June 2017

Always loved poke cake recipes, but haven't made one in a long time. Thank you for the reminder and this lovely recipe. Sounds delicious!

Monday 3rd of July 2017

Hi! You are so welcome. I made two this past weekend for our family reunion and both were huge hits! A lemon jello poke cake and then this cake only I used cherry jello instead of the blueberry. ;) Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a wonderful 4th of July! ~Norine

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