Fresh summer strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, and whipped cream transform a basic vanilla cake into a heavenly Strawberry Poke Cake. There is no Jello or pudding required for this amazing summer dessert recipe and it is so easy to make.
What is a poke cake?
Simply put, it's a cake that get's poked. As soon as it comes out of the oven, you poke holes in the top and then cover it with some kind of liquid so that it can soak into the cake.
Often times, poke cakes are made with Jello or pudding, but this recipe is just a simple mixture of sweetened condensed milk and ripe fresh strawberries.
Why this recipe is so great:
- Use store bought cake mix. Of course you can make your own homemade vanilla cake for this recipe, but sometimes taking a shortcut is the best way. Especially when you use a Trader Joe's cake mix. If you know what I'm talking about, you'll agree.
- Easy topping! Just two ingredients mix together to create the sweet strawberries and cream topping.
- Every bite is amazing. The beauty of a poke cake is that the sweet strawberry topping drizzles down into the holes and the liquid gets absorbed into every bite, making each morsel moist and flavorful.
- Vanilla cake: I used a Trader Joe's vanilla cake mix that also called for eggs, melted butter, and milk.
- Strawberries: Fresh, juicy, deep red Oregon strawberries are the best in the world.
- Sweetened condensed milk: Nothing special here. Use it straight from the can.
How to make Strawberry Poke Cake:
Full ingredient list and detailed step by step instructions are listed in the recipe card below, but here is a summary.
- Bake cake and mix topping: Bake the cake according to the mix instructions. While the cake is baking, combine the mashed strawberries with the sweetened condense milk.
- Poke holes: As soon as the golden brown vanilla cake comes out of the oven, poke holes all the way to the bottom of the pan.
- Add topping: While the cake is still hot, pour the topping onto the cake. Feel free to add more holes once the topping is on to get it to sink in.
- Refrigerate: At least two hours in the refrigerator will allow the topping to absorb into the cake.
Cooking tips for best results:
- Poking the cake: When you pour that perfect mixture over your hot cake, you may need to continue poking it to get all that goodness to soak in. You can use a chop stick or wooden spoon handle.
- Strawberries: Fresh are best when they're in season but you can easily use frozen and thawed strawberries. The smaller you mash them, the more they will sink into the holes. Instead of mashing, you can also consider running through the blender.
Other great strawberry dessert recipes:
- Strawberry Pretzel Jello
- Fresh Strawberry Pie
- Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Classic Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
- Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Old Fashioned Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe
- Strawberry Marshmallows
- Strawberry Lemonade Baked Donuts
- Coconut Berry Icebox Cake Recipe
If you’ve made this or any other recipe on my site, let me know in the comment section how it turned out. I love hearing from my readers!
Strawberry Poke Cake
Cake (*see note below):
- 16 ounces vanilla cake mix (sized for an 8x8 pan - I use Trader Joe's)
- 2 large eggs (slightly beaten)
- ½ cup butter (melted)
- 1 cup whole milk (cold)
Strawberries and Cream Topping:
- 1 pint fresh strawberries (stems removed)
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- whipped cream (for serving)
- Mix cake ingredients according to instructions. Bake cake in 8x8 pan in preheated oven.
- While cake is baking, mash strawberries in a bowl with a fork, masher, or pastry blender. The smaller you make the chunks, the more they will soak into the cake.
- Mix mashed strawberries with entire can of sweetened condensed milk. Stir to combine.
- When cake is done baking, remove from oven and use chop sticks or a thin spoon handle to poke holes all over the top. While the cake is still hot, pour the sweet strawberry mixture over the top and continue to poke holes as necessary to get as much of the liquid as possible into the cake.
- Allow cake to cool completely in the refrigerator, at least 2 hours.
- Top with fresh whipped cream and additional strawberries.