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Lemon Poke Cake

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close up side shot of lemon poke cake on a white plate with a fork
This sweet, tart lemon poke cake is the perfect dessert to serve your family and friends! 
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Table of Contents
  1. Lemon Poke Cake Ingredients
  2. How To Make This Lemon Poke Cake Recipe
  3. How To Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

An easy homemade dessert, this lemon poke cake recipe doesn’t disappoint. The sweet citrusy treat boasts a deliciously moist cake infused with creamy lemon pudding that’s sure to be one of your new family favorites.

close up side shot of lemon poke cake on a white plate with a fork

Lemon Poke Cake Ingredients

You’ll need:

For the Cake

  • 1 box of yellow cake mix
  • 1 (3.4-ounce) box lemon pudding
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs

For the Pudding Topping

  • 2 (3.4-ounce) boxes of lemon pudding
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CAKE MIX: We used yellow cake mix in this recipe, but there are plenty of different flavors that would work just as well. White cake mix or lemon cake mix would be ideal choices for this easy lemon cake.

LEMON: If you stick with white or yellow cake mix and want to increase the lemon flavor, you can add a couple of drops of lemon extract or a little lemon zest.

TOPPING: In place of lemon pudding for the topping, you could use lemon pie filling or lemon curd.

How To Make This Lemon Poke Cake Recipe

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the boxed cake mix and pudding mix into a large mixing bowl.

lemon poke cake process shot of ingredients being mixed together in a bowl

STEP TWO: Add the water, oil, and eggs, and mix until it’s just combined.

STEP THREE: Pour the cake batter into the cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.

STEP FOUR: When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly.

STEP FIVE: Poke 12 holes in the baked cake using the handle of a wooden spoon.

PRO TIP:

It’s best to make the holes in the cake while it is still slightly warm because as it cools, the crust on top of the cake will crumble more easily.

STEP SIX: Mix the lemon pudding, milk, and powdered sugar. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.

lemon poke cake process shot of ingredients being mixed together

STEP SEVEN: Pour half of the pudding mix over the top of the cake, making sure it sinks into all of the holes.

PRO TIP:

When you’re pouring the pudding into the holes, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make sure the pudding fills the holes completely.

lemon poke cake process shot of mixture being poured into holes in cake

STEP EIGHT: Continue mixing the remaining pudding until it thickens completely and then spread over the top of the entire cake.

STEP NINE: Place in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours until completely set and chilled.

PRO TIP:

Make sure you don’t skip this step. It’s important to give the pudding time to set and soak into the cake before serving it.

How To Serve

Add a dollop of whipped cream or Cool Whip on top of this luscious lemon poke cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. This cake is lovely and fresh, perfect for a light dessert on a warm evening.

If you love easy poke cakes, you will also want to try our better than sex cake and mocha poke cake recipes (try this Turtle poke cake, too!).

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: Tightly cover your lemon pudding poke cake then place in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

IN THE FREEZER: This easy recipe freezes well and will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. Wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap before freezing.

lemon poke cake in a pan with a slice taken off of it

This easy lemon poke cake takes only 10 minutes to prep and it bakes in half an hour, making it a great option for last-minute gatherings or a special occasion. Even though it doesn’t take long to make, it offers a big, bold, incredible burst of lemon flavor you’ll really enjoy.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a poke cake?

Poke cake recipes create an easy cake that you poke holes into while it’s still hot after baking. The holes are then filled with a liquid or filling — like condensed milk, pureed fruit, chocolate cream, or pudding. It makes a moist and delicious cake.

What do you use to poke holes in poke cake?

The end of a wooden spoon or a wooden skewer is the best size to poke holes in the cake.

Can I freeze this poke cake?

This lemon poke cake freezes well and will last in the freezer for up to three months.

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close up side shot of lemon poke cake on a white plate with a fork

Lemon Poke Cake

5 from 4 votes
This sweet, tart lemon poke cake is the perfect dessert to serve your family and friends! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3.4 ounces lemon pudding (1 box)
  • 1 cup water
  • cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs

Pudding Topping

  • 6.8 ounces lemon pudding (2 boxes)
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the boxed cake mix and pudding mix into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add water, oil, and eggs. Mix until just combined.
  • Pour into a cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • When the cake is finished, remove it from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Poke 12 holes in the cake using the handle of a large wooden spoon.
  • Mix the lemon pudding, milk, and powdered sugar. Stir until all ingredients are well combined.
  • Pour half of the pudding over the top of the cake, making sure it sinks into all of the holes.
  • Mix the remaining pudding until it thickens completely then spread over the top of the cake.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours until completely set and chilled.

Video

Notes

  • It’s best to make the holes in the cake while it is still slightly warm because as it cools, the crust on top of the cake will crumble more easily.
  • When you’re pouring the cream into the holes, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make sure the pudding fills the holes completely.
  • Oven temperatures vary and may need to be recalibrated periodically to ensure they are accurate. Make sure to check your cake at the lower end of the recommended baking time.
  • Make sure you don’t skip the chilling step. It’s important to give the pudding time to set and soak into the cake before serving it.

Nutrition

Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 51mg | Sodium: 484mg | Potassium: 159mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 62g | Vitamin A: 191IU | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Lyn says

    Why couldn’t a lemon cake mix be used? Wouldn’t there be more of a lemon taste to it? As for the lemon pudding that is a very rare here in Montreal, have looked everywhere and even checked with Amazon, it can’t be found. They have it at Amazon U.S. but refuse to send it to Canada. So I went out and bought Dr. Oetker lemon pie filling and contacted them to see if instead of using water in the recipe, I use milk and they were great, sent me complete instructions on how to use it in recipes that require lemon pudding. Reason I am so interested is because I came across a recipe for lemon fudge and that is the only ingredient I was having trouble finding. So now that I have all the makings for it, I am going to attempt it. I will also try it for the lemon dump cake. Should be a very interesting experience. What do you think? Would like to hear your feedback on this. Thank you for your attention to my wild idea. Where there is a will, there is a way.
    Lyn

    • Layne Kangas says

      Hi, Lyn – you could substitute a lemon cake mix instead if you’d like. We’ve always enjoyed it with the recipe shared but you’re welcome to experiment for your own tastes. 🙂

      • Mary Wetmore says

        If I use lemon pie filling for the topping, do I still add the confectioners sugar and other ingredients listed for the topping? I want to make this for Thanksgiving , so I would be greatly appreciate it if you could answer quickly. Thank you so much.