This Strawberry Poke Cake is made with tons of real strawberries and whipped topping with a delicious sweet center. Often referred to as a strawberry delight recipe, this divine dessert dish is truly one of the easiest recipes.
The soft, pretty pink cake is poked, and delicious sweetened condensed milk is poured through the holes, making a creamy sweet taste in every bite.
Topped with more fresh strawberries and a spattering of whipped cream, this recipe is a sweet treat for any occasion.
Why you will love this Poke Cake Recipe
Looks Impressive: This easy strawberry poke cake is an incredibly delicious dessert cake and a fantastic presentation for large crowds. But the trick is that you only need premade mix and condensed milk – so it’s effortless but looks stunning.
Holiday Recipe Worthy: This is also an excellent dessert for holidays. Try as is or change to Red Velvet as a Valentine’s Day Cake (because of its sweet and pink) and July 4th, where strawberries are super popular.
- Strawberry cake mix box – If you have never had strawberry cake, you are in for a delicious cake surprise. This is hands down one of the best-boxed cake mixes on the market. Follow the box instructions to make.
- Sweetened condensed milk – This ingredient comes in a can and is found in the baking aisle.
- Unsweetened frozen whole strawberries – Frozen strawberries, once thawed, give you the right amount of softness for a cake and provide some essential extra strawberry juice.
- Whipped topping – Cool Whip topping is a perfect lightweight choice for the top cake layer.
- 1M Frosting Tip
- 18″ pastry bags
- 9 x 13 pan
Box Cake Mix: While this poke cake recipe is all about a strawberry flavor, do not be afraid to mix it up. Yellow cake mix, white cake mix, or even chocolate cake mix is still an excellent base for this dessert.
Poke with: To make this version of a strawberry delight recipe requires sweetened condensed milk. But you can make a poke cake with jello (there are SO many kinds) or pour flavored pudding mix down the poked holes as well. Pudding options will always depend on the type of cake you attempt to make, but the most common is vanilla pudding.
Topping options: Much of this depends on the kind of rich, delicious bite you want, but whipped topping (either canned or freshly homemade), caramel or chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, cream cheese frosting. Try crushed graham crackers, OREO cookies, or buttery cookie crumbs to add a crunch.
How to make Strawberry Poke Cake without Jello
- To get started on your strawberry poke cake recipe, bake cake according to package directions and let it stand 10 minutes once you remove it from the oven.
- Using a wooden spoon handle, poke holes into the warm baked cake.
- Pour sweetened condensed milk mixture onto the top of the moist cake, focusing on filling all the holes. The sweetened condensed milk will soak into the cake.
- Let stand until the entire cake is room temperature.
- Pour thawed strawberries over the cake, including the juice from the bag. Extra strawberry juice makes this cake extra moist and sweet.
- Top strawberry mixture with whipped topping (see note on pipping whipped cream) and serve.
- If not ready to serve, refrigerate the baking dish, covered, until ready to serve. If you do not want to use a piping bag, a can of whipped topping works excellent.
Fresh Strawberries vs. Frozen Strawberries
I use frozen but thawed-out strawberries. Frozen strawberries tend to be softer and are perfect for poke cakes.
You could likely use fresh strawberries if you softened them with sugar (like layered strawberry angel food cake recipe); however, that would make the cake super sweet. Additionally, if you use fresh, you will not have the same amount of juice that frozen strawberries tend to bring to the table.
Our opinion is that frozen strawberries work best for poke cake.
Cool Whip Topping
If the presentation is everything to you, decorating with a piping bag and frosting tip can help you turn your cool whip into a gorgeous design to serve! However, if you want to use a knife and spread it on top before serving, there is nothing wrong with that either.
Keep in mind that cool whip is susceptible to weather and melting. After all, it is dairy, so make sure the poke cake is kept cold before it’s time to serve.
You can also easily replace Cool whipped topping with frosting-like cream cheese if you prefer or serve as is with extra strawberries and a dusting of powdered sugar. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to serving desserts.
Sweetened vs. Unsweetened Strawberries
I used unsweetened strawberries, which was a nice contrast to the sweet cake and sweetened condensed milk. I also used unsweetened strawberries and the lightly sweetened cool whip for the top.
I think if you sweeten the berries, like the way you do for Strawberry shortcake, the cake will be VERY sweet.
Doesn’t poke cake usually have jello or pudding in it?
Poke cake recipes are a refreshing dessert recipe that allows the inside to carry a ton of flavor. Pudding mixture or jello mixtures are quite popular to pour in over sweetened condensed milk.
And while strawberry jello and strawberry cake are a pretty display and taste great, much like a Leches cake, the creamy taste of the condensed milk and cake is the perfect dessert match. That is why it’s often called a Strawberry Delight!
What can you use to poke a cake?
Aside from a wooden handle, a fork can also do the job. Just poke much closer and more often than the large deep holes that a handle provides. Here is an example of a poke cake that uses a fork. As long as the liquid can get inside the cake, it works!
How to freeze a poke cake.
I am not a huge fan of freezing cake personally, but if you want to freeze any cake leftovers, follow the method I use for most bread recipes.
- Cool the cake completely. There cannot be any heat left, so be patient until you have a chilled cake.
- Wrap in plastic wrap twice and then wrap one more time in aluminum foil.
- Add cake to an airtight container or freezer bag, label, and place in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- A perfect party dessert favorite, if you love strawberries, try this strawberry pretzel jello salad recipe.
- Strawberries are absolutly a breakfast food.
- Remember those little strawberry candies your grandparents used to carry around in their pocket? These candied strawberries will bring you back to your childhood.
- Nothing easier than a Cheesecake stuffed and dipped strawberry. Add them inside a Smash Heart!
- This dump cake recipe is a moms dream.
- Strawberries and Oreo Cookies? Yes, please. This old fashioned ice box cake recipe pairs them.
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