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Triple Lemon Poke Cake

If you’re crazy about lemon flavor, this cake is going to blow you away! It’s lemon on lemon on lemon. And best of all, it’s simple to make. It starts with a boxed mix. 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

How to Doctor a Lemon Cake Mix

I’ve spent a lot of time on this site talking about how to doctor a white (or yellow) cake mix. 

Until today, I haven’t really talked about doctoring other flavors, like a simple lemon cake. 

I love lemon cake, but I usually use mine to make a Strawberry Lemonade Cake or a Luscious Lemon Blueberry Bars. Rarely do I just make a plain boxed lemon cake. 

Today’s post comes from Catherine’s Plates and it puts a whole new spin on a simple box of lemon cake mix.

What is a Poke Cake? 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

If you’re a child of the 60s or 70s, no doubt you watched your mother or grandmother make a traditional poke cake. 

Take a regular cake. Bake it in a 9×13-inch pan. Then poke holes in it and pour something (like gelatin mix or pudding) on top, to fill the holes. 

These poke cakes are a lot of fun and can add bright contrasting colors. You could, for instance, start with a white cake mix and use strawberry gelatin. Voila! A red and white cake. 

Or, you could start with a white cake and use an orange gelatin. Creamsicle poke cake! 

Lemon Dessert Lovers, Unite!

Today I happened to have a lemon cake mix and lemon gelatin handy. So, when I found this recipe from Catherine’s Plates, I knew I had a winner. 

Instead of a contrast of colors and flavors, I knew this recipe would offer me the one thing I loved more than just about anything—loads and loads of lemon. 

Lemon on Lemon on Lemon! 

This is the best triple lemon poke cake recipe you’re going to find, I promise!

Triple Lemon Poke Cake Ingredients

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

You will find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick peek at what you’ll need. These are simple ingredients you might already have on hand in your kitchen. 

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE: 

  • lemon box cake mix
  • room temperature eggs
  • water (or milk, your preference)
  • vegetable oil

Note: It doesn’t matter which brand of cake mix you use–Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker, or Pillsbury. Just follow the directions on the box.

FOR THE FILLING

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking
  • lemon jello (dry powder)
  • boiling water
  • ice cold water

FOR THE TOPPING

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking
  • instant lemon pudding
  • cold milk
  • whipped topping, thawed
  • lemon slices for garnish

How to Make Triple Lemon Poke Cake

This came together so easily! I can’t believe I haven’t made it before! Let’s make this easy lemon cake recipe.

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prepare your 9 x 13-inch pan by spraying with non-stick baking spray. (I use Baker’s Joy.) 

In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) combine the lemon cake mix, eggs, water, and oil. Mix well. 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Pour cake batter into prepared dish. Tap out any bubbles.

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch. 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Remove baked cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack. 

Once cake is cooled, poke holes in it. I used a dowel but you can use whatever you happen to have on hand. (Some people use the handle of a wooden spoon.) 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Place gelatin powder in a heat-safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Add boiling water and mix well. Add cold water and continue to mix.

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Pour gelatin mixture over the cake, getting as much of it into the holes as possible. 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Now it’s time to refrigerate your cake for several hours. You can’t skip this step because the gelatin needs time to set up. Cover and place in fridge for a few hours (3-4, minimum). 

Once the cake is ready, it’s time to add the topping. To make the pudding, place the powder into a bowl and add milk. Whisk until it’s thick and smooth. 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Spoon this luscious pudding mix over the top of the cake. Work it down into any remaining holes. Spread it out as evenly as possible. (Next time I might add a bit of confectioners’ sugar to give the pudding a thick consistency, more like frosting.)

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

You can garnish with berries, lemon slices, or anything you like! Just be sure to refrigerate the cake until time to serve. (For best results, leave it in the fridge even longer to set up.)

Cut and serve. Enjoy! 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

Store leftovers in refrigerator covered in plastic wrap. Cake will stay fresh 4 – 5 days. 

Triple Lemon Poke Cake from Out of the Box Baking

What to Expect from this Easy Lemon Poke Cake Recipe

It’s light, it’s bright, it’s tart, it’s sweet. . .this lemon on lemon on lemon cake is delicious through and through.

I think this would be perfect in the summertime but would also be lovely in the spring.

No matter when you serve it, the moist lemon cake, the creamy pudding topping and that lovely section in-between will sweep you away!

This is one of those lemon desserts you will make again and again!

Variations on this Recipe

Blueberry: I love blueberries with lemon. You can take a cup of blueberries and toss them into your lemon batter before baking. Then, go ahead and garnish the cake with blueberries once it’s done. 

Coconut: I don’t know about you but I’m crazy about coconut and lemon together! Citrus and coconut provide a lovely balance of flavors. The citrus and the sweetness of the coconut? It’s the perfect complement! 

Strawberry: If you like, make this cake as instructed but top of strawberry cream (Sonic brand) pudding on top. You’ll have a strawberry lemonade poke cake! 

Lemon Curd: If you don’t want to make the gelatin layer you can use a full jar of lemon curd directly on top of the warm poked cake in its place. It will work like a lemon glaze and will be absorbed into the cake.

Lemon syrup: You can use sweetened lemon syrup in place of the gelatin layer if you like.

Fresh lemons: Garnish with lemon twists to make this cake even more beautiful. Candied lemons are another option. Zested lemons in the cake batter would be great to pump up the flavor, too.

Lemon Frosting: If you like, you can use a layer of lemon frosting in place of the pudding mix. Just be sure to add the Jello layer first.

Cool Whip: If you like, you can add a layer of cool whip on top of this cake after the pudding is set. Afterwards, you can garnish with lemon twists or berries. (Fresh fruit is always a good idea, especially in the summertime.)

Other Lemon Favorites from Out of the Box Baking

Lemon Lush (Lemon Oreo Dessert): I took this one to our family Easter gathering. It’s perfect for the spring and summer due to its light flavors.

Lemon Pound Cake Cookies: I love the bright flavor and the light texture of these delicious cookies. You’re sure to love them, too. 

Lemon Blueberry Coffee Cake: If you love delicious coffee cake and you’re also a fan of blueberries, I’ve got an amazing recipe for you. This easy bundt cake is the best of both worlds, a luscious blueberry coffee cake made with rich sour cream!

Luscious Lemon Bars: They’re tart, sweet, crisp and creamy. These luscious lemon bars are all of the above. . .and then some!


Learn more about doctored cake mixes, the theme of this blog. 

For the master list of all doctored cake mix recipes on this site, visit Doctored Cake Mix Recipes, Master List. 


That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious lemon poke cake recipe. It’s sure to satisfy any lemon lover.

See this recipe at

Full Plate Thursday 

Weekend Potluck

The Lazy Gastronome

Busy Monday


About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Triple Lemon Poke Cake

Triple Lemon Poke Cake

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 40 minutes

If you’re crazy about lemon flavor, this cake is going to blow you away! It’s lemon on lemon on lemon. And best of all, it’s simple to make. It starts with a boxed mix.

Ingredients

  • FOR THE CAKE:
  • 1 (15.25 oz) box lemon cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup water (or milk, your preference)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 1 (3 oz) box lemon jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup ice cold water
  • FOR THE TOPPING
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant lemon pudding
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 8 oz whipped topping, thawed
  • lemon slices for garnish

Instructions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Prepare your 9 x 13-inch pan by spraying with non-stick baking spray. (I use Baker’s Joy.)
  2. In a mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) combine the lemon cake mix, eggs, water, and oil. Mix well.
  3. Pour into prepared dish.
  4. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake springs back to the touch.
  5. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  6. Once cake is cooled, poke holes in it. I used a dowel but you can use whatever you happen to have on hand. (Some people use the handle of a mixing spoon.)
  7. Place gelatin powder in a heat-safe bowl or glass measuring cup. Add boiling water and mix well. Add cold water and continue to mix. Pour gelatin mixture over the cake, getting as much of it into the holes as possible.
  8. Now it’s time to refrigerate your cake for several hours. You can’t skip this step because the gelatin needs time to set up. Cover and place in fridge for a few hours (3-4, minimum).
  9. Once the cake is ready, it’s time to add the topping. To make the pudding, place the powder into a bowl and add milk. Whisk until it’s thick and smooth.
  10. Spoon this luscious pudding over the top of the cake. Work it down into any remaining holes. Spread it out as evenly as possible.
  11. You can garnish with berries, lemon slices, or anything you like! Just be sure to refrigerate the cake until time to serve.
  12. Cut and serve. Enjoy!
  13. Store leftovers in refrigerator covered in plastic wrap. Cake will stay fresh 4 - 5 days.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 283Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 312mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 4g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

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