Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

I love that this simple approach to making a cake creates such a moist and flavorful dessert. This Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake recipe is no exception.

I think you’re going to want to use this poke cake idea on repeat!


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From the stories I’ve heard, my husband’s grandmother made the most delicious poke cakes.

This wasn’t a dessert recipe our family made, but in recent years, I’ve been able to try a few different ones.

With my love of strawberry desserts, I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this particular kind of poke cake, and I was right!

Slice of Strawberry Poke Cake Sitting on a White Plate

Why this Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake is just Perfect!

  • It’s the perfect summer dessert! Everyone loves the flavors of this strawberry shortcake poke cake. It’s a sweet dessert, without being too heavy or rich.
  • It’s a great way to take advantage of strawberry season! Let’s face it – fresh berries are expensive when they’re not in season! So when they are, I’m all about using them in everything. In this delicious cake, strawberries are the star.
  • It’s an easy recipe to make ahead of time! If you have a potluck or summer gathering this weekend, but have the time to make a dessert NOW, then this is the recipe for you. You can make the entire cake, complete with whipped topping, several days ahead of time. Just add the sauce and sliced strawberries to the top of the cake when it’s time to serve.
  • It looks amazing – so, so pretty! This strawberry poke cake comes together quickly and uses simple ingredients, but it looks fancy and elegant. It’s perfect to bring to a special occasion or family gatherings.

Ingredients Needed for this Easy Strawberry Poke Cake Recipe

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake Ingredients Sitting Out on a Marble Counter Top
  • One Box of White Cake Mix – My recipe calls for a white cake mix (thank you, Betty Crocker!), but there are other cake mixes that would work just as well. If you have a box of yellow cake mix or vanilla cake mix on hand, use that. It will taste just as good!
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Half and Half – You’ll use this to serve as your liquid in the box cake mix. I like using half and half because it has just the right level of richness to it. You could always use skim milk or even whole milk if you want to cut calories somewhat. Or you could even swap to almond milk if you need to avoid dairy.
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vegetable Oil – It adds moistness! You could always swap with melted butter, for the same effect. Whatever you have on hand will work just fine.
  • 4 Eggs – Four of them, to be exact. If you let them come to room temperature before adding them to the boxed cake mix, your mixture will be more cohesive and homogeneous. 
  • 1 Cup of Strawberry Syrup – This is what you’ll be pouring into the poked holes. In most grocery stores, you’ll find strawberry syrup with the ice cream toppings or with the pancake syrups.
  • One Regular-Size Container of Whipped Topping – One 8 ounce container of Cool Whip will cover your cake with a thin layer. If you want a creamier topping, just get the bigger container of whipped cream. If you’d rather make your own, simply whip heavy cream with a little sugar and a splash of vanilla with an electric mixer.
  • 1/4 Cup of Strawberry Jam – This will serve as the base of your strawberry sauce topping. You can use both strawberry jelly and strawberry preserves just as well, but one has no fruit pieces in it and one has a lot of them! I find that the strawberry jam has the perfect balance.
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar – Just a bit of extra sweetness to add to the strawberry sauce! You can sweeten with an equal amount of honey as well.
  • 3 Cups of Fresh Strawberries – Let those fresh berries shine! Hull whole strawberries and then slice them. Be sure to slice them thinly, so the cake doesn’t become unruly to eat.
Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake Ingredients Sitting Out on a Marble Counter Top

How To Make A Delicious Strawberry Poke Cake

  1. Mix together your cake batter in an large bowl, using either a whisk or an electric mixer. 
  2. Pour the mixture into a baking pan, and bake. After the cake comes out of the oven, let it cool for a good 20 minutes.
  3. Use the end of a wooden spoon or a wooden skewer to poke holes into the top of the cooled cake. Keep the holes 1 inch apart from each other.
  4. Pour the strawberry syrup into the holes. 
  5. Let the cake finish cooling completely, and then spread the whipped cream across the top.
  6. While the cake is cooling, you can make your strawberry sauce. Mix the jam and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add the sliced strawberries, and then stir to coat.
  7. Keep the sauce and cake separate until you’re ready to serve. Then, add spoonful of the sauced strawberries across the top of the coke cake, and enjoy!

Top Tips For Perfect Poke Cake

  • To get a fluffy cake, you’ll need to whip your cake batter a bit and get some air into those eggs. Start your mixer on low speed for 30 seconds or so, to get the ingredients incorporated and avoid a big mess. Then, crank your mixer up to medium speed and let it beat for a full 2 minutes.
  • Don’t feel that you need to poke your holes all the way through the cake. It’s best if you poke only about two-thirds of the way down. The strawberry syrup is heavy and will naturally want to soak down, so stopping the holes partway through will help keep more of the syrup in the middle of the cake, rather than it being concentrated at the bottom.
  • Add a splash of lemon juice to the strawberry sauce mixture. The slight tartness is a perfect compliment to the sweet strawberry flavor.
Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake Sliced and Sitting on Marble Counter Top

How To Store Leftover Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

After you’ve added the strawberry sauce topping, you need to know that the leftover cake will still taste delicious – but it will start to fade somewhat in appearance.

This is because the sauce will start to mix somewhat into the whipped cream topping. It will taste great, though!

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake Served with Fresh Strawberries

Leftover strawberry poke cake can be stored in an airtight container and placed within the fridge, to be enjoyed for several days afterwards.

Variations On This Delicious Dessert

I’m all for quick dessert recipes using ingredients you already have on hand. Let’s face it, sometimes we just don’t have time for a run to the grocery store!

This easy poke cake is perfect because there are many ingredients that you can substitute out, depending on what’s in your pantry.

I already mentioned you can use many different flavors of boxed cake mix, but here are some other swaps you can do!

  • Use canned strawberry pie filling instead of the fresh strawberry sauce.
  • Switch out the whipped topping for cream cheese frosting. Or do you have one tub of whipped topping, but want a little thicker frosting? Mixing one tub of whipped cream and one tub of cream cheese frosting is a perfect solution!
  • Can’t find strawberry syrup? You can make a similar sweet strawberry filling by using strawberry Jello. Just make sure you put the cake in the fridge with enough time for the Jello mixture to set before serving.
Sliced Strawberry Cake Being Served on White Plates
Slice of Strawberry Poke Cake Sitting on a White Plate

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake Recipe

This sweet and simple poke cake idea is a favorite summer dessert in our house!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10


  • 1 Baking Dish
  • 1 Oven
  • 1 Mixing Spoon or Chopstick (Something to use to poke the holes in the cake!)


  • 1 Box White Cake Mix
  • 1 1/4 Cups Half and Half
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Strawberry Syrup Ice Cream or Pancake Syrup
  • 8 Ounces Whipped Topping Thawed
  • 1/4 Cup Strawberry Jam
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Cups Fresh Strawberries Hulled, Thinly Sliced


  • Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F and greasing a 9×13 pan.
  • Prepare the cake batter by mixing together the cake mix, half and half, vegetable oil, and eggs.
  • Pour mixture into greased pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes.
  • Use the end of a mixing spoon or chopstick to make holes into the top of the cake. Space the holes about 1 inch apart, but you only need to press into the cake about 2/3 of the way.
  • Pour the strawberry syrup into the holes. The holes don’t need to be filled up as the syrup will soak into the cake, but make sure you get all of the holes. Allow the cake to completely cool before spreading the whipped topping on top of the cake.
  • Prepare the strawberry sauce by mixing the jam and sugar together. After it is mixed, combine with the strawberries until fully covered.  Store the sauce and cake separately until ready to serve. Enjoy!
Keyword Poke Cake Recipe, Strawberry Dessert, Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

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