Strawberry Jello Poke Cake

With the 4th of July this week, I thought I would share with you a recipe that is popular with my inlaws. Not only does it look festive for the holiday, but it is SO EASY to make. I have seen the recipe here and there all over the blogging world, but I first tasted it when I married into my husband’s family.

I added a little almond extract to the whipped topping, but you could easily leave that out. I just think almond extract adds a little something special :) Lets also talk about whipped topping for a minute. As I have posted recipes, I have come to find that both sides of the fence are very opinionated… those sides being real whipped cream and cool whip. I am here to tell you that if you prefer one or the other, the two are actually completely interchangeable with one another. If you see a recipe that calls for whipped topping, you can choose whichever you want based on personal preference. My family tends to lean the cool whip route purely because it just saves an extra step, but there are times that I will take the extra time to whip up my own batch. So feel free to choose whichever you want when you see that called for in one of my recipes :)

This cake is simple, fast and super yummy! It also looks beautiful when you cut into it. If you are in need of a festive, quick and tasty treat this holiday (or any time really) give this recipe a try!

Strawberry Jello Poke Cake …This recipe is easy, fast, beautiful and SO yummy!

4.7 from 17 reviews
Strawberry Jello Poke Cake
This recipe is easy, fast, beautiful and SO yummy!
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1 box white cake mix, and ingredients it calls for
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 (3 oz) packet Strawberry Jello
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip, thawed (or whipped topping)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • Sliced Strawberries
  1. Bake cake according to box directions in a 9x13 pan.
  2. When cake is done, let cool for about 15 minutes.
  3. While cake is cooling, boil water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat on stove top.
  4. Add jello packet to boiling water and stir until jello is completely dissolved then stir in cold water.
  5. Using a fork, poke holes into cake. Pour jello evenly over the top of cake.
  6. Cover cake and place in fridge for 3 hours.
  7. Combine Cool Whip, powdered sugar and almond extract in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Spread evenly over the top of cake. Arrange sliced strawberries over the whipped topping as desired.
  8. Store covered in fridge for at least on hour and until ready to serve.

(recipe adapted from Kraft)

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #chefintraining and/or #chefintrainingblog. I would love to see how these recipes take shape in your kitchens.

Filed under: cake, dessert

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  1. Mir

    That's really gorgeous! Love how easy it is, too! I wish my in-laws gave me recipes like this!

  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I know you love your almond extract and do do I! Love to add it to whateverI can! The colors on this cake are so bright and cheery, Nikki! Pinned :)

  3. Lovada Timothy

    I have a question about the boiling water part. When you add the jello then the cold water, after they are mixed do you pour them on the cake then even if it is still warm, or does it need to cool down before you pour it on the cake? Don't want to mess up. :)

    1. Lisa

      Just add the jello mixture right need to let it cool down..... Just made this today for work tomorrow !!

  4. Michell

    I use a box of vanilla instant pudding in my frosting for a little extra something. It makes the frosting richer.

    1. Donna

      Due you make the instand jello and add cool whip to pudding, or just mix dry pudding into cool whip?

    2. Bridget Brooks


      That's what I do too. It makes it do much better even!!

  5. Ashton

    This looks AWESOME! And I love the idea of putting almond extract in the whipped topping! I bet that is seriously delicious!

  6. Vicky


    OMG! This brought back so many happy memories for me. I remember Grandma letting me do the pokes and pour the Jello....I'm making it for the 4th and adding the blueberries. Thank you, Vicky

  7. Angela

    I love your recipe's. But some of the ingredients I havnt heard of. Ie; cool whip. And the jello. Can I get these in the UK ? X

    1. Agnes Martin

      We call it jelly in the Uk and I haven't come across Cool Whip our supermarkets. This is a ready made whip in a tub. I would just whip some cream. Dream topping might work.

  8. Angela

    Where do I buy cool whip ? Is it dream topping ? X

    1. Chef in Training

      Its in the freezer section near the ice cream. You can sub out sweetened whipped cream for it if you prefer that as well :)

    2. Molly

      Yes, you can use dream whip in place of Cool Whip. Cool Whip is already made up. And Jello is a flavored gelatin. Not sure what you would have in the UK that is similar.

  9. Lisa


    Be sure to add bigger holes (instead of a fork I use a straw).....and poke SEVERAL holes in the cooled cake. Works great !! Easy & delicious recipe.

  10. Stacy


    I love this cake! When I make it I first put a layer of vanilla pudding on before the cool whip. So yummy!

  11. Suzanne Piercy


    This cake is delicious in so many flavors. Any flavor Jell-o comes in. I love the lime also!

  12. Lisa Sorge

    I leave out the 1 cup of cold water to make the Jell-O favoring a little stronger. You can also substitute sugar free Jell-O and lite cool whip to make it a dessert that has fewer calories and is a good dessert choice for diabetics. I've also used raspberry Jell-O with raspberries or orange Jell-O and mandarin oranges for a change of pace.

  13. Jessie Malone


    Recipe sounds wonderful. It is very much like one I have used previously but alas, I lost my recipe. It had a couple of other items
    in it but this one sounds easier and SO good! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Cassandra


    Awesome! My husband loves strawberries. Great way to satisfy his strawberry "needs" without a lot of crazy work! :)

  15. Lori Mattingly

    can I use regular frosting on a jello poke cake

  16. Jennie

    Hi, does it make a big difference if I don't add the almond extract?

    1. Betty

      Cool whip doesn't really need sugar or extract. Real whipped cream does need those things. I personally do not like almond extract and always use vanilla when almond is called for. ☺

  17. Betty


    Never did this poking with a fork. Always heard it was done with the handle of a wooden spoon. Want to make one for next Monday. Have the ingredients on hand. Will either serve with whipped topping, real whipped cream, or a scoop of ice cream.

    1. Melanie

      Yes I also learned by using the end of a wooden spoon. I add almond extract to a lot of things. I add a small amount into the cake batter, I love it in BBQ sauce.....!!!

  18. Nancy

    sooooooo YUMMY!!!!!Thank you for sharing

  19. Mary

    My sis makes this too, but she buys frozen strawberries, lets them thaw and while in a colander and used that juice instead of the cold water. She then puts the leftover strawberries right in the whip cream and spreads that over the cake....sooooo delicious

  20. Marina

    Can I use vanilla extract instead of almond?

  21. Kayla

    Use Coolwhip mixed with vanilla pudding for icing! so yummy :)

    1. Danielle

      So you don't do anything to the pudding mix? Can it be instant?

    2. Chef in Training

      yes i use instant :)

  22. Ann Robinson

    Your cake in the picture has the Jello applied a different way besides the fork method. Care to share?

    1. Chef in Training

      its the fork method :)

  23. Shawn@ I Wash You Dry

    I love poke cake! We have one of these at lots of our summer parties. This is probably a perfect recipe for it. :)

  24. Carol

    what if I use a yellow cake mix, will it be any different ?

  25. Marylin

    It would also be good for our Canada Day. Don't forget your Canadian fans !!!

    1. Chef in Training

      It would be perfect for that! Happy Canada Day this week!

  26. joy

    Do you add dry pudding? How would you make it with it? ?

  27. Nana Kaye

    I've been making this every 4th of July, veteran's day, etc. Or anytime I can find an excuse! I tint coconut blue and sprinkle it on top of the Cool whip, for a red white and blue affect. It's a gorgeous, festive, moist cake!

  28. carol thacker

    Add a few blueberries on top...

  29. Kimberly


    My mother has been making this cake for well over 20 some years. We adjusted this a little bit when it comes to the Jell-o… we use the larger 6 oz package or two 3 oz packaged boxes (any flavor, we tend to love Raspeberry) and we use one and a half cups water to boil it, then we add in ½ cup very cold water to let the temp go down bit. We also had out cake sit in the fridge for about 40 mins before added the Jell-O. Anyway, but cutting the water down in half and using more Jell-o mix.. the flavor really shines. And if you make sure your cake is cold and then add the Jell-o and water not as hot… the top of your cake is less likely to bust up and it helps set the cake a bit quicker. NEVER COOL-WHIP it until your close to serving it.

    1. Pat Shull

      I have made this many times with canned cherry pie filling and raspberry jello yummy and easy

  30. jon Faust

    do you add the dry pudding to the coll whip, or do you mix the pudding up according to box directions then fold in to cool whip?

  31. Caty

    Can I make this a day in advance? This looks super yummy, can't wait to try this recipe!

  32. sheila


    this cake is very good i never made this with any kind of flavoring it is good a lot of time people like ice cream with it

  33. Debbie

    Can you bake the cake the day before and do the jello mixture and cool whip the next day? Will it affect the taste or texture of the cake?

  34. Nicole

    I make this but I call it jello cake. And I use ice cream frosting.

  35. Dominique

    Hi Nikki,

    I'm so sorry if someone has asked this question already. Is it possible to sub the White cake with Vanilla and instead of jello sub it with puree strawberries. Also I use a bundt pan will that change anything?... Your cake looks amazing!

  36. Mary Lou Crapio

    .How do you get the cake out of the pan after the jello has cooled? to make layer cake.

  37. April West

    I forgot the cold water! Is my cake still gonna be good?

  38. tracy

    This is my go to cake for any functions I also like to spread a thin layer of strawberry jam when strawberries are not right for the winter season its adds that extra yum.

  39. Kasey

    You can also mix cool whip and marshmallow fluff along with almond extract for the topping. Amazing!

  40. Debbie


    I use the end of a wooden spoon to poke the holes in cake or a plastic straw. After I pour the jello over the cake I then cover the top of the cake with thinly sliced strawberries before I frost the cake with Cool Whip

  41. Janean

    We make this but use cream cheese powdered sugar and cool whip for the frosting. After that is beat together well we add mashed strawberries and then put on top of cake.

  42. Pamela Karl


    I made this cake a couple of weeks ago after looking at several different recipes. My husband loves it and said it was the best cake he had ever eaten. Now I'm making it to go with our Memorial Day lunch. Super easy and tastes so good. We prefer it over the old fashioned strawberry shortcake recipe. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe.

  43. KAREN



  44. Shirley Anne Hannah


    This was a real hit. I all so made a raspberry poke cake and had raspberries on top instead of strawberries! Delicious.

  45. J Brown

    I've made this cake using a Lemon Cake mix with lemon Jello. Very refreshing when the temps outside are in triple digits. The almonds sound like a great addition to the Strawberry cake.

  46. Char meier

    Look like some yummy and easy recipes

  47. Brittany M

    This may be a weird question, but how long will it stay good after making? I want to make it for a potluck I'm going to on Friday, today (Monday).

  48. Theresa


    What if u don't have almond extract would vanilla extract work with the topping

    1. Chef in Training

      yes definitely :)

  49. Dena


    I am doing the cherry chip poke hole with cherry jello and maraschino cherries on top Yummy

  50. Anita


    Easy breezy! I did the 6 oz Raspberry Jello pkt.
    2 cups water to boil. 1/2 cup of cold water after the boiling.
    My white cake I let stay in fridge over an hour. Then added
    the jello over it. Poked holes were already done!
    Set for 3 hours, then on top had sliced strawberries.
    Then I added the Cool Whip with the powdered sugar
    and vanilla extract. Very yummy indeed!

  51. Karen

    My husbands aunt makes this for the 4th of July, but she makes a three layer cake. She does a berry blue jello poke cake on bottom and a plain white cake in the middle and a strawberry poke cake on top and then covers in whipped topping. On top she puts strawberries and blueberries .