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.
Thanks!! Will try as you suggested !
What else can be used instead of lemon frosting? We can’t GET THAT HERE in NL .
Are you able to find any kind of store bought frosting? If so, you could do a vanilla and add a little bit of lemon extract to give it a lemon flavor. Or you can do a homemade lemon frosting in place of the store bought. I hope that helps.
Love this cake just like it is. Thank you.
I'm so glad to hear that you like it 🙂
Can hardly wait to go to the store and pick up ingredients and try my hand for Easter, but first must make a trial run.
Has anyone made this recipe with chocolate cake and chocolate frosting? What are your this conbination?
I have actually done a version with chocolate cake and chocolate pudding. Here is the link if you are interested in checking it out. https://insidebrucrewlife.com/chocolate-smores-pudding-cake/
I made this cake today for my family. its sooo good and the kids love it! Very easy to make. Thanks for sharing
Could lemon curd be used in place of the condensed milk, or maybe a lemon or vanilla instant pudding mix? Your reply will be greatly appreciated. I hope to make this wonderful recipe asap! Thank you, Vicky P.
I think using a vanilla pudding mix would work just fine in place of the sweetened condensed milk. Just mix the box mix and milk together and pour over the cake before the pudding sets. I hope you enjoy the cake!
Unused portions should be kept refrigerated correct?
Yes, you want to refrigerate the cake when it is not being eaten. I hope you enjoy it!!!
Instead of lemon cake can I use vanilla? I made it the first time with everything you said and it was so good but way to lemony for me.. I am thinking about using vanilla cake this time and instead of an entire can of condensed milk only using a half a can.. I am hoping it’s going to be just as good.. thanks for sharing this recipe!
You can definitely use a vanilla cake instead of the lemon one. That should help cut down on the lemon flavor for you. Keep me posted on how you like it that way.
Holy cow!! This cake is delicious. My new favorite treat. Thank you so much for this recipe!
Wondering if condensed milk is necessary? (just to cut down on the sugar/sweetness)
I haven't made it without the condensed milk, but I can tell you the recipe as written is amazing. Yes, it's sweet. It's cake after all 🙂 You could leave it out if you wanted too, but the cake won't be quite as gooey and delicious. I would melt the frosting a little bit more, so it really goes down into the holes and fills them. Keep me posted on how it is if you do it without the condensed milk. I hope you enjoy it.
Is this cake suppose to be refrigerated?
Yes, this cake needs to be refrigerated. I hope you enjoy it.
This cake is excellent. You will not be disappointed.
I am so glad you enjoyed this cake 🙂
Made this last night and it was a hit! My grocery store didn't have any lemon cake mix or lemon frosting, so I made my own with some fresh lemon juice, zest and a little lemon extract. Turned out great!
I'm not crazy about canned strawberries they taste nasty to me is there something else I can use?
Do you like any other canned pie filling? You can substitute any other flavor in place of the strawberry. Raspberry, blackberry, or blueberry pie filling would be good too.
Tami L Gifford
I made this cake for a church picnic tonight. ..I wound up inable to attend so sent the cake by my daughter...anxious to hear how everyone liked it. It smelled heavenly and looked so inviting.
Tami L Gifford
This was a hit. Rave reviews! Thanks for the awesome recipe.
Yay! I am so glad to hear that 🙂
Would it still be as good if I make it 24 hours in advance?
It would be fine if you made it ahead. But I would add the diced strawberries right before serving, so they don't get too juicy.
Those deserts look so refreshing!
I will be trying them all before summer is over.
Best cake recipe I have ever followed. It was a hit for my Mother's Day dinner. So good!!
Yay! I am so glad to hear that!!!
Your ingredients you use are awesome! Thank you!
Just made this! WOW! Amazing!!!!!
What do you think about subbing lemon pie filling for the lemon frosting?
I think that would work great too! I hope you enjoy the cake!!!