Looking for a cool and refreshing dessert to serve this summer? Pockets of lemon frosting and a fluffy strawberry mousse adds a fun and delicious flavor to this Lemon Strawberry Poke Cake. The sweet and moist texture makes this poke cake recipe a crowd favorite.
About This Recipe
Do you have a favorite kind of dessert that you make during the summer? For me, it's poke cakes. There is just something about those chilly cakes that I adore.
Every once in a while I challenge myself to create something from the ingredients we have on hand. Since we had a lemon cake mix and a can of strawberry pie filling in our pantry, I decided to make a lemon strawberry cake.
We all loved this lemon poke cake recipe because it is simple to make, can be made ahead of time, and is cool and refreshing to eat on a hot summer day. Plus, poke cakes are so versatile because you can use different flavors of cake, frosting, or fruit.
What is a Poke Cake?
A poke cake is a baked cake that has been poked with a fork or wooden spoon handle while it is warm. The holes are then filled with sweetened condensed milk, instant pudding, or Jello. These liquids cool in the cake and create a dense and moist texture that is irresistible.
This lemon poke cake with strawberries comes together quickly with just 6 ingredients. See the full ingredient list below.
- Lemon Cake Mix - using a box mix makes this cake easy to make in minutes
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - absorbs into the cake to make it dense and delicious like a tres leches cake.
- Lemon Frosting - adds a pocket of lemon flavor to the cake
- Cool Whip - thawed ahead of time in the refrigerator. 3 cups of this Homemade Whipped Cream can be used instead.
- Strawberry Pie Filling - use a fork to break apart the bigger chunks of strawberries. You can also use 1 ½ cups of our homemade Strawberry Pie Filling in place of the canned filling.
- Fresh Strawberries - diced into bite sized pieces for the fruit topping
How to Make
This easy lemon cake with strawberry topping starts with a box cake mix. The layers of toppings make it rich and delicious.
Step One: Bake the Lemon Cake
- Mix together the box cake mix and ingredients from the back of the box and pour into a 9x13 pan.
- Bake for 28 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool 5 minutes.
- Poke holes in the top of the warm lemon cake with the handle of a wooden spoon.
Step Two: Fill the Cake
- Pour an entire can of sweetened condensed milk on top of the warm cake. The milk will soak into the cake creating a creamy and decadent chilly cake.
- Heat a can of lemon frosting in the microwave for 30-60 seconds.
- Pour the melted lemon frosting over the top of the cake. The frosting will settle into the holes and create creamy little pockets of frosting that just goes so well with all the strawberries.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until completely chilled.
Step Three: Frost Cake
- Mix together a container of Cool Whip and a can of strawberry pie filling.
- Spread the fluffy strawberry mousse frosting over the top of the chilled lemon poke cake.
- Sprinkle fresh diced strawberries all over the top.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
More Poke Cakes
- Strawberry Fudge Cake
- Chocolate Coconut Poke Cake
- Berry Pudding Cake
- Orange Creamsicle Cake
- Strawberry Cheesecake Poke Cake
- S'mores Cake
Other Lemon Recipes
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*The post for Lemon Strawberry Poke Cake was first published April 26, 2017. The post was updated and republished July 5, 2021.
What brand of box cake did you use?
I used a Pillsbury lemon cake mix for this one. I hope you enjoy it!
I I just made this cake and have not finished it yet but wondering if I could use some caramelized strawberries on top because I like them a little sweet
Sure, I think that sounds amazing! I hope you enjoy the cake!
I wanted to substitute the lemon frosting for lemon pudding. How much pudding would I need?
You would use 1 box instant pudding and 2 cups of milk. If you click this link, you can see another poke cake I did with pudding. https://insidebrucrewlife.com/white-chocolate-berry-pudding-cake/
Has anyone tried this with round cake pans and stacked the cake with frosting & strawberries in the middle? Would it be too heavy with the condensed milk and lemon frosting?
I would not recommend doing this particular cake as a layer cake because of the extra moisture from the milk. If you are wanting it as a layer cake, I would skip the sweetened condensed milk and just do layer of the frosting and berries. I hope that helps and you enjoy the cake.
I make this cake every year for our 4th of July party. Everybody loves it and asks if I plan to make it again. The only thing I do is add a little lemon juice to the cake mix because I love the contrast in flavors.
Made this yesterday for my birthday. Wanted to try something different and that I've had pinned for a while. I used raspberry pie filling that i had on hand. Also the store does not have lemon frosting so i got vanilla frosting and added lemon zest and lemon juice from half of the lemon. It's sitting in the fridge until tonight. Im so excited to try it
Too bad the ingredients all in a can or box...nothing is fresh or healthy... ..not even real whipped cream.... microwave it also? Common people how lazy one gotta be?
Too bad you are not giving this recipe a try. It's amazing! I like to bake from scratch and make healthy food, but sometimes I get busy and need a few shortcuts. You can call that lazy, but I call it smart after eating this awesome cake.
Too bad you didn't run spell check or check your grammar before posting. Common people aren't lazy, they work for a living and don't always have time to bake from scratch yet want to provide nice meals and treats for their family. You could have easily not selected this recipe based on ingredients and moved on, but no, you had to be a troll. So COME ON and stop being a troll. This recipe is amazing and a time-saver for those of us wanting something quick and delicious.
Thanks for posting it Jocelyn!
You know you can change it up to make it yours. Do your own “healthy cake and make your own “healthy” whipped cream and lemon frosting. Just because you don’t like her ingredients is no cause for you to criticize. Do it your way or don’t do it at all. Good grief!
I made this cake my own. I made my own lemon cake, lemon cream cheese frosting, and strawberry whipped cream. I still followed the recipe here for how to build it. This is an awesome recipe. Creativity in the kitchen is up to the chef cooking not the one who created the original recipe. Not every recipe is for every persons tastes. If you want healthy though, maybe cake isn’t the place to look.
First time making this cake was last year. And oh my god it was a hit. Now once again I am being requested to make this cake for a friends daughter who is turning 6. Loved it and thank you
Hi... this recipe sounds amazing and it sounds very simple, I just have one question… Can I just use regular strawberry frosting instead of making the Cool Whip strawberry frosting that you suggest? Thank you, your input would be most valuable. I would like to try this recipe today!:-)
You sure can. Just know that you will have double the frosting on top of the cake because you melt a can of lemon frosting and pour that in the holes before adding the strawberry Whip frosting. I hope you enjoy the cake!!!
Thank you so much! I’ll update you on how it turns out!
So is it ok to let the cake cool for a hour after sweetened condensed milk and lemon frosting has been added, and then apply cool whip & strawberry pie filling mixture? Then when it’s ready to serve add the strawberries.
Yes, I always let the cake cool completely after adding the condensed milk and lemon frosting. That way it doesn't melt the Cool Whip pie filling mixture. I hope you enjoy the cake!
Ok awesome. I was just making sure cause the instructions said cool for a hour and refrigerate so I was wondering if I had to cool it longer before adding the mousse. Thanks Jocelyn!!