Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake

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

In all honesty I don’t know when the first “poke cake” came into fruition…but I know when I had my first bite of one. It’s when…wait for it…”Yum Yum Cake” became the new hot dessert at the Church Pot Luck.

Some cute cooking granny came up with the idea of kicking up a boxed cake mix by poking holes in it and drizzling warm gelatin into the holes. Then she added vanilla pudding, a swirl of cool whip and chilled it. If there was a Nobel Peace Prize for cake back in the 60’s…this creamy moist cold cake would have won…hands down!

It’s still one of my all time favorite cake recipes. I decided to give it a little 4th of July make-over for all of you. I added chopped maraschino cherries to the white cake mix , then I filled my pokes with blueberry gelatin.

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.

Pour the cake batter into your prepared 9 x 13 pan and bake at 325° for 30 minutes.

Test the cake by gently pressing the center. If it springs back… it is done. Remove 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.

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 ladel 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.

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.

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.

One of the things I LOVE about this cake is that it is served COLD! It’s SO heavenly on a hot summer day! The cake is amazingly moist and the cold layer of creamy vanilla pudding and cool whip is dreamy!

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

It’s the perfect 4th of July dessert for kids… big and little! 😉  Enjoy!

I’m sharing this recipe over at one of my favorite “link parties”…where food bloggers join up to share all our favorite recipes…The Weekend Potluck. 

I’m also sharing it on Meal Plan Monday. Click HERE to hop on over there!








Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake
Red, White, and Blue Poke Cake
Norine Rogers

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!

  • 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.

Prep Time: 30 minutes - Cook Time: 30 minutes ; Yield: 12 servings
Serving Size: 1 square


  1. Little Quiltsong | 30th Jun 17

    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!

    • | 3rd Jul 17

      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!

  2. The Better Baker | 30th Jun 17

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

    • | 3rd Jul 17

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

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