Strawberry Poke Cake

STRAWBERRY POKE CAKE

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This strawberry poke cake is a refreshing twist on traditional poke cakes made with strawberry jello. Using fresh strawberries instead of jello brings an incredible, natural sweetness to every bite. We made a tender and fluffy cake using a white cake mix and lightened it up with applesauce rather than oil or butter. The fresh strawberry juice drizzled over it adds an extra burst of flavor that is also infused into the cake. Topped with fluffy whipped cream and garnished with juicy strawberries, this cake is as beautiful as it is delicious. It’s the perfect way to enjoy a classic dessert with a fresh twist!

Why You Will Love This Poke Cake

  • We’ve given the classic poke cake a healthier twist using fresh strawberries instead of jello.
  • There is no vegetable oil needed! We used applesauce instead to lighten it up.
  • This strawberry poke cake is easy to make! We kept it simple by using a boxed white cake mix. 
  • This cake is light, fluffy, delicious, and bursting with strawberry flavor!
  • The infusion of fresh strawberry juices throughout the cake ensures every bite is moist and flavorful.
  • The whipped cream and fresh strawberries on top give it a beautiful presentation!

What Is Strawberry Poke Cake?

Strawberry poke cake gets its name from the process of poking holes into a baked sheet cake and filling them with a flavorful liquid, typically strawberry jello, to infuse the cake with a delicious taste. However, we’ve put our twist on the classic recipe by using the natural juices from fresh strawberries instead of jello. It adds an incredibly fresh flavor to the cake and is a healthier option. To further enhance the cake, we topped it with fresh diced strawberries, rather than using canned strawberry pie filling.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients for strawberry poke cake
  • Boxed Cake Mix: We used one box of white cake mix for this recipe. You can use regular or sugar-free cake mix.
  • Applesauce: Instead of adding vegetable oil to the cake mix, we used unsweetened applesauce instead. You can’t taste the applesauce, it just makes the cake light and fluffy while being a healthier alternative.
  • Water: Add water to the cake mix so it comes together.
  • Eggs: Add three eggs to the cake mix. Add the whole eggs, not just the egg whites.
  • Vanilla Extract: A splash of vanilla extract adds flavor to the cake.
  • Strawberries: Use two pounds of fresh strawberries for this recipe. Hull and dice the strawberries. The strawberries will be mashed to release the juices to pour into the holes of the cake. Then, the mashed strawberries will go on top of the cake.
  • Sugar: Add sugar or a sugar-free sweetener to the strawberries for sweetness.
  • Whipped Topping: Top this poke cake with your favorite whipped cream topping.

How To Make Strawberry Poke Cake

Step 1: Add the cake mix, unsweetened applesauce, water, eggs, and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Use a hand mixer on medium speed or mix vigorously by hand for 2 minutes to combine the cake batter.

Cake mix ingredients in bowl

Step 2: Lightly spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with coconut oil or canola oil. Then, pour the cake batter into the dish.

Cake batter in baking dish

Step 3: Bake the cake in the oven at 350°F for 28-33 minutes.

Baked cake in baking dish

Step 4: Wash and hull the strawberries.

Fresh and chopped strawberries

Then, cut all the strawberries into small pieces and add them to a large bowl with sugar or your sweetener of choice. As an option, save a few strawberries to decorate the top of the cake.

Chopped strawberries in bowl with sugar

Step 5: Thoroughly mash the strawberries with a potato masher to release the juices.

Mashed fresh strawberries

Place the mashed strawberries in a strainer with a bowl underneath. After that, use a spoon to push down the strawberries to release the juices into a bowl. Don’t discard the mashed strawberries, instead place them in another bowl and refrigerate them until you are ready to serve.

Mashed strawberries with juices

Step 6: Once the cake is done, let it cool for about 15-20 minutes. After that, poke holes about one inch apart all over the cake. The handle of a wooden spoon or a large straw is the perfect size.

Holes poked in the cake

Step 7: Pour the reserved strawberry juice over the holes in the cake, ensuring it seeps into the holes.

Strawberry juices poured over cake

Next, cover the cake with foil and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours, or until ready to serve.

Strawberry juice over poke cake

Step 8: When ready to serve, add the mashed strawberries on top of the cake.

Mashed strawberries on cake

Then, evenly spread the whipped topping.

Poke cake topped with whipped cream

As an option, garnish with additional sliced strawberries.

Assembled strawberry poke cake

Serving Suggestions

This strawberry poke cake is perfect for any occasion! It’s the perfect light and delicious dessert! Also, it’s wonderful for potlucks, barbecues, and picnics. Chill the cake for at least 3-4 hours, or until you are ready to serve. When ready to enjoy this cake, add the mashed strawberries, whipped cream, and optional additional sliced strawberries to the top of the cake. Then, slice the cake and enjoy! Some other topping ideas are shaved chocolate, chocolate syrup, shredded coconut flakes, chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, sprinkles, or fresh berries.

Expert Tips

  • How To Tell If The Cake Is Cooked: The cake is cooked when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Whipped Topping Options: Top this cake with your whipped cream of choice. Some options are sugar-free Cool Whip, CocoWhip, TruWhip, or homemade whipped cream. Or, instead of whipped cream, you could top with frosting.
  • Poke Holes: It’s helpful to use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake. Another option is to use a large straw. Don’t make the holes too large. However, make them large enough for the strawberry juice to seep through. Also, ensure you poke the holes far enough apart.
  • Mash The strawberries: Ensure that you thoroughly mash the strawberries with a potato masher to release as much strawberry juice from them as possible. It is important because you will pour the juices from the strawberries into the poked holes in the cake. You should have about 1 cup of strawberry juice from mashing the fresh strawberries.
  • Chill The Cake: Allow the cake to chill in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 hours before serving.

Storage Instructions

Store leftovers of this strawberry poke cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Variations

  • Use A Different Cake Mix: If you don’t want to use a white cake mix, use yellow cake mix instead. Or, use a sugar-free yellow cake mix.
  • Make The Cake Gluten-Free: To make this poke cake gluten-free, use a gluten-free cake mix. Since we didn’t use jello, the rest of the ingredients are already gluten-free.
  • Make With Jello: If you prefer, you can make this strawberry poke cake with strawberry jello. Add one package of strawberry-flavored gelatin, such as strawberry Jell-O, to a heat-safe bowl. Then, pour one cup of boiling water over the gelatin and whisk until fully dissolved. Let it sit for about 20 minutes to get to room temperature or add a few ice cubes to cool it down. After that, pour the strawberry gelatin mixture over the cake.
  • Cake Mix Tip: If you don’t want to lighten up the cake mix using applesauce, follow the recipe on the box using oil.
  • Add Pudding: You could add a layer of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry pudding for extra indulgence.
  • Make The Cake From Scratch: If you want, instead of using a boxed cake mix, you can make the cake from scratch.
  • Make Cupcakes Instead: If you don’t want to make a cake with this recipe, make cupcakes instead. Pour the batter into a muffin pan lined with cupcake liners and bake for 14-19 minutes or until fully cooked. It would make about 23 cupcakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Frozen Strawberries Instead?

No, don’t use frozen strawberries for this recipe since you can’t easily slice them and press the juices out of them.

How Far Apart Should I Poke The Holes?

You should poke the holes about 1 inch apart for this strawberry poke cake recipe.

Can I Make Poke Cake Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can make this poke cake ahead of time. It is best to make it a few hours ahead of time since it needs to chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours anyway.

How Long Is Poke Cake Good For In The Fridge?

This strawberry poke cake is good for up to three days in the fridge when stored in an airtight container.

Can You Freeze Strawberry Poke Cake?

Yes, you can freeze strawberry poke cake in a freezer-safe container. However, freeze it without any mashed or sliced strawberries on top. Also, defrost the cake in the refrigerator overnight before serving it.

More Recipes To Try Next!

If you try this recipe please be sure to leave us a comment and star rating ★★★★★ letting us know how it turns out for you.

STRAWBERRY POKE CAKE

Recipe by Shawna
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

18

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

150

kcal

This strawberry poke cake is a refreshing twist on traditional poke cakes made with strawberry jello. We have lightened it up by using fresh strawberries.

Cook Mode

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Ingredients

  • 1 box of white cake mix, yellow cake mix, or Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix

  • 1/3 CUP unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 CUP water

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries

  • 2 teaspoons sugar or sugar substitute

  • 8-9 oz tub of your favorite whipped topping (such as Coco Whip, TruWhip, Cool Whip, or homemade whipped cream)

Directions

  • Add the cake mix, unsweetened applesauce, water, eggs, and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Use a hand mixer on medium speed or mix vigorously by hand for 2 minutes until the cake batter is combined.
  • Lightly spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with coconut oil or canola oil. Then, pour the cake batter into the dish.
  • Bake the cake in the oven at 350°F for 28-33 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Wash and hull the strawberries. Then, cut all the strawberries into small pieces and add them to a large bowl with two teaspoons of sugar or your sweetener of choice. As an option, save a few strawberries to slice and decorate the top of the cake.
  • Thoroughly mash the strawberries with a potato masher to release the juices. Place the mashed strawberries in a strainer with a bowl underneath. Then, use a spoon to push down the strawberries to release the juices into a bowl. Repeat this process and squeeze as much strawberry juice out of the strawberries as you can, you should have about 1 cup of strawberry juice. Don’t discard the mashed strawberries, instead place them in another bowl and refrigerate them until you are ready to serve.
  • Once the cake is done, let it cool for 15-20 minutes. After that, poke holes about one inch apart all over the cake. The handle of a wooden spoon or a large straw is the perfect size.
  • Pour the reserved strawberry juice over the holes in the cake, ensuring it seeps into the holes. Then, cover the cake with foil and refrigerate it for 3-4 hours, or until ready to serve.
  • When ready to serve, add the reserved mashed strawberries on top of the cake. Then, spread the whipped topping evenly over the cake. As an option, garnish with additional sliced strawberries or add the mashed reserved strawberries on top of the whipped cream instead of putting them on the cake. Then, slice the cake, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • The WW points are based on using a sugar-free cake mix and sugar-free Cool Whip.
  • WW Points™: 4 points per serving
  • To see your WW Points™ in the WW app for this recipe click here! Or, please manually add the ingredients to the recipe builder.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently. It could vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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Nutrition Facts

18 servings per container


  • Amount Per ServingCalories150
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 4.9g 7%
    • Saturated Fat 3.1g 15%
  • Cholesterol 31mg 11%
  • Sodium 184mg 8%
  • Potassium 94mg 3%
  • Total Carbohydrate 26.4g 9%
    • Dietary Fiber 1.6g 4%
    • Sugars 10.6g
  • Protein 2g 4%

    * The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

    2 Comments

    1. Brenda Allen-Blake

      I’ve been making this for about 6 years now.. my daughter’s favorite.. I use yellow cake box mix and frozen strawberries that i buy at the store..i let the strawberries thaw out and pour over the cake when done after i poke it thoroughly with holes.. i then put extra creamy cool whip on top and cut fresh strawberries to put on top.. refrigerate over night… and enjoy

      • That is so fantastic! I absolutely love poke cake with fresh or frozen strawberries, as well. The way you make it sounds delicious! Thank you for your feedback and ideas!

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