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New name for old recipe: poke cake or sheet cake

This week's recipes include lemon lime sheet cake and strawberry poke cake
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

As the popularity of jelly salads waned on the potluck tables, the Jell-O company decided to attempt to increase sales in 1969 with the slogan, “Jell-O could fill any void.”

The company came up with the idea of poking holes in a baked cake, then adding the prepared flavoured Jell-O into the holes, chilling and then adding icing or whipped cream.

Thus what is now known as a “Poke Cake” was born, traditionally using a white cake mix. Since then Poke Cakes may contain Jell-O, milk puddings, condensed milk or even runny icing.

But years before, cooks were already preparing Poke Cakes, simply calling them sheet cakes. 

This week’s recipes feature a sheet cake with a filling, made often in our family. The Poke Cake recipe comes from a Jell-O recipe brochure.

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Lemon Lime Sheet Cake

1 pkg. lemon cake mix
1 small pkg. lime Jell-O
3/4 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
1 envelope Dream Whip topping mix
1 small pkg. lemon or vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/2 cups cold milk

Dissolve Jell-O in 3/4 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir to fully dissolve. Set aside in refrigerator.

Prepare cake mix following directions on the box. Pour into a greased 9x13 inch pan. Bake according to instructions. Cool for 20-25 minutes.

Poke deep holes in the cake about 1 inch apart. Pour Jell-O into the holes and refrigerate.

To prepare topping, chill a bowl. Blend the Dream Whip mix and pudding with the cold milk. Whip until stiff, about 8 minutes. Immediately frost the cake and return to the refrigerator to thoroughly chill. Serve chilled. Leftovers should be stored in refrigerator.

• • •

Strawberry Poke Cake

1 white or lemon cake mix
1 small package strawberry Jell-O
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 tub Cool Whip

Prepare and bake the cake following instructions on the package. Cool about 15 minutes.

Prepare Jell-O with boiling and cold water and stir until all crystals are dissolved.

Carefully, using a meat fork, poke holes in baked and chilled cake, about 1/2 inch apart.

Pour Jell-O over holes until all Jell-O is used.

Chill 3-4 hours. Top with Cool Whip and refrigerate until ready to serve. Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

Joyce Walter can be reached at