Lemon Poke Cake

Deliciously, easy Lemon Poke Cake made with a cake mix, lemon gelatin, homemade lemon curd, Cool Whip and some Nilla wafers! YOU WANT THIS. Today!

Lemon Poke Cake: delicious, easy poke cake recipe with Lemon JELL-O and homemade lemon curd!

Making a poke cake is seriously one of the easiest things to bake for dessert. And they are perfect for bringing to potlucks, bbq’s, and summer picnics! Everyone loves them!

If you’re asking yourself, “what is a poke cake” let me tell you this, there are many answers to that question. Depending on who you ask!

Poke cakes are typically made using a boxed cake mix and a 13×9 baking dish. While the cake is warm out of the oven, you can do SEVERAL things:

Lemon Poke Cake: delicious, easy poke cake recipe with Lemon JELL-O and homemade lemon curd!

Growing up, my family always chose the last option. Adding gelatin. It’s a perfect spring/summer treat! Growing up with a summer birthday, this was one of my favorite cakes. I LOVE frosting, but in the summer, this light and moist gelatin cake topped with Cool Whip is just PERFECT.

Lemon desserts are quite possibly my favorite type. I would choose a lemon treat over a chocolate treat. Is that odd? Anyone else with me on this?

By adding the lemon gelatin to the cake it makes it so flavorful and moist. Light and fluffy with a lemon twist!

Lemon Poke Cake: delicious, easy poke cake recipe with Lemon JELL-O and homemade lemon curd!

But I took it a step further. I made a batch of homemade Lemon curd. Have you made this before? It’s really very easy. You can make this in advance so it’s ready to use when you’re ready to eat!

This poke cake needs to be refrigerated for about 4 hours after adding the gelatin. This gives the cake time to cool, and allows the gelatin to firm up. You can make it the night before and refrigerate overnight too! When you are ready to serve (or the day of) spread your homemade lemon curd over the top of the cake and then top it with Cool Whip. I added some crushed (and whole) Nilla Wafer cookies for a final touch to this cake!

Now, if any of you are a little worried (or hurried) to make this and want to skip the lemon curd part, I get it. Instead, you can substitute Lemon pudding. I’ve done this too. So after your cake has been poked, and your poured your gelatin on it, make up a quick batch of instant lemon pudding. Spread that over the top. Refrigerate the whole cake for 4 hours, or overnight. The gelatin will set nicely, and the top will have a delicious layer of lemon pudding. Some of which  may have seeped into the cake, and that’s totally COOL. Trust me. Top this with your Cool Whip and Nilla Wafers and you’ve still got a great Poke Cake recipe to share with family and friends! ENJOY.

Lemon Poke Cake: delicious, easy poke cake recipe with Lemon JELL-O and homemade lemon curd!

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Yield: 20 slices

Lemon Poke Cake

Lemon Poke Cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes

Delicious lemon cake topped with lemon curd and cool whip!


  • 1 yellow cake mix, with ingredients to prepare according to package
  • 1 box (3oz) lemon JELL-O gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 pint lemon curd
  • 16oz Cool Whip
  • 1/2 cup crushed Nilla Wafer cookies


  1. Prepare yellow cake mix according to package in a 13x9 baking dish. Remove from oven and poke holes all over cake. I actually use a meat thermometer for this (skewer or wooden spoon handle would work too!).
  2. Combine gelatin with boiling water. Pour over warm cake, into poked holes.
  3. Refrigerate cake with plastic wrap for 4 hours, or overnight.
  4. Before serving, spread lemon curd over top of cake. Top with Cool Whip and crushed cookies.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 4 days. ENJOY.


  • Use homemade or store bought lemon curd (found in baking aisle).
  • If you'd like, you can substitute lemon pudding for the curd. After pouring your gelatin on the cake, whisk 1 box (3.4oz) instant lemon pudding mix with 2 cup milk. Pour over cake. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Top with Cool whip and cookies.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 192 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 211mg Carbohydrates: 31g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 19g Protein: 2g
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.
Lemon Poke Cake: delicious, easy poke cake recipe with Lemon JELL-O and homemade lemon curd!

Obsessed with Lemon like me? Here are a few great desserts:


Lemon Cake with Creamy Filling and Lemon Curd


Gooey Lemon Cake Bars: an easy cake mix recipe!


Lemon Meringue Fudge

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34 comments on “Lemon Poke Cake”

  1. Love this with the lemon curd and this would be the perfect cake for any summer get together. So easy and tasty, this will happen here soon for sure. Thanks!

  2. YUM! I LOVE poke cakes! This lemon version looks like perfection…I love the Nilla wafers that you added.

  3. Can you believe I’ve never had a poke cake!! I definitely need to try this and of course love that it’s a lemon version! Yum!

  4. Laughing at myself because I was wondering what exactly a poke cake was and now I know! Thanks for the explanation. I love the little flavor explosion from the lemon curd and gelatin. I have to try this delicious cake.

  5. Looks delish and the Nilla wafers just take it to the next comfort-food level for me! pinned

  6. Yes I DO want this! I’ve actually never had a poke cake, but I have been wanting to try one. And lemon curd? That stuff is amazing! This is a must try! pinned! πŸ™‚

  7. Wow, homemade lemon curd! You DID take that extra special step. It looks totally worth it to me!

  8. I haven’t made a poke cake in forever. I think it’s time I change that ; )

  9. Mmmm, now that sounds amazing! I love lemon desserts of all kind. I’ve never made “poke cake” per se, but I’ve had tres leches cake and this sounds similar. I’ll have to try it sometime!

  10. Yes, I AM obsessed with lemon desserts just like you! This one looks fantastic!

  11. I have never made a poke cake of any sort before. I think I shall and very soon πŸ™‚ It looks fantastic!!

  12. This is my first time hearing about a poke cake! Love the idea – and the lemon curd!

  13. Pingback: Foodies Network » Lemon Poke Cake

  14. What a delicious and perfect summer poke cake. Love the lemon blast this cake has to it. Now I’m craving a poke cake again…it’s been too long since my last one!!!

  15. Pingback: Lemon Poke Cake – Shugary Sweets | terry1954

  16. This cake looks super moist and buttery! Very delicious, I really fancy a slice now!

  17. I love the idea of the gelatin!! I’m going to have to steal that idea!

  18. I have been lemon crazy lately, it’s literally alllll I think about it. Which is weird for a chocoholic!! This cake looks amazing, I’ve actually only ever made a “poke cake” once- back when I was 14- I think I need to change that stat!! And I love that you put the nilla wafers on top- I bet it’s a great crunch with alll that creamy dreamy ness going on!!

  19. I love all things lemon! This cake looks so refreshing and light, perfect!

  20. Oh how I do adore that lemon curd. <3 And man i need to get on the poke cake bandwagon! They always look so wonderful, and this lemon version is no exception! Amazing recipe once again, Miss Aimee! πŸ˜€

  21. I too like lemon! In fact I like anything citrus! I think I’ll try your recipe! Sounds too good not to!!

  22. Emily

    Hello there,

    jello typically calls for one cup boiling water, then adding a cup of cold water? Does this recipe emit adding the cold water? I added in about a half cup and poured over my warm cake with holes in it and it kind of just made the entire cake super moist / didn’t really “fill holes.” It’s currently in the fridge and I’m sure it’s still good but… messy.

    Let me know for next time!


    • Recipe is correct as written πŸ™‚

      • Frances (Elaine) Carter

        It sound like that it only uses the hot water. That why the jello will run down in the cake better. If it is colder it will be thicker and it will be harder to get in the holes

        • Frances (Elaine) Carter

          Your cake will be real wet and moist right after pouring on your jello. The jello will set up in the cake just the same as if it was in a bowl by itself. Don’t worry this will happen just take the time it is saying to wait. Don’t rush this. I’m 61 years old and I’ve been baking since I was 7. I’ve made these cakes for around 40 years and they are great. Take your time and ENJOY YOUR HARD WORK.

  23. Frances (Elaine) Carter

    I love making fast desserts like this but, I won’t use that INSTANT pudding for anything I’ll make my own or use the COOK N SERVE TYPE. That instant has such a imitating taste that I just can not put on one of my desserts I feed my family. Really it is a little more time making your own but just think your fammily will love you more for taking a little more time for them. If you don’t have time make it up the day you mke the cake. You have to leave the cake set anyway.

  24. Instead of using yellow cake mix could I use a lemon cake mix or would that make it to strong

  25. Pingback: Gooey Lemon Cake Bars recipe

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