This easy Raspberry Lemon Poke Cake is made with a lemon cake mix and soaked with sweetened condensed milk. A light lemon topping and raspberry preserves make this refreshing lemon dessert a crowd favorite at summer picnics.
Nothing says summer like a cool, refreshing poke cake. There are so many varieties and flavors that you can make using a simple box mix. Some of our favorites are this orange poke cake and this strawberry cheesecake poke cake.
Over time I have come to really like lemon desserts. So the other day I decided to make a lemon poke cake with a sweet lemon raspberry topping. It got rave reviews from friends we shared it with.
Why Make This
Poke cakes are an easy dessert to make for any event. They can be made using any flavor of box cake mix and are easy to customize with your favorite toppings.
This raspberry lemon cake starts with a lemon cake mix. All you need are a few ingredients to make a semi-homemade dessert that everyone will rave about.
- Easy dessert to make ahead of time.
- Sweetened condensed milk makes it moist and delicious.
- Great dessert for picnics and barbecues.
A fluffy lemon mousse topping and raspberry preserves give this lemon cake a sweet and tart flavor. It's such a refreshing treat to enjoy on a hot day.
This lemon poke cake recipe comes together quickly using a few simple ingredients. You will need a few extra pantry ingredients for the box cake mix.
- Lemon Cake Mix - A box mix is an easy way to get this cake done in minutes. Substitute milk and lemon juice for the liquid called for on the back of the box. You can also use a yellow cake mix if that is what you have on hand.
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - Pour the whole can over the warm cake. It will absorb in and become dense and delicious.
- Raspberry Preserves - Adds a delicious and unexpected flavor to the lemon cake. Seedless or regular is fine.
- Cream Cheese - Thickens the topping and gives it more of a no bake cheesecake mousse texture.
- Lemon Curd - One store bought jar or ¾ cup this easy lemon curd adds a light lemon flavor to the topping.
- Cool Whip - Thaw one container ahead of time in the refrigerator. You can also use 3 cups of this homemade whipped topping, if you prefer that instead.
- Lemons & Raspberries - Give the top of the lemon cake a pretty and finished look.
How to Make
This easy lemon cake starts with a box cake mix. A layer of raspberry and lemon topping makes it sweet and delicious.
- Make the cake. Prepare the cake batter using the directions on the back of the box cake mix. Use lemon juice and milk instead of the water that is called for. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
- Poke holes. Let the cake cool 5 minutes on the counter, then use a dinner fork to slowly poke holes all over the top.
- Cover with sweetened condensed milk. Open the can and slowly drizzle the entire can of milk over the top of the hot cake. Use a spatula to gently push it into the holes. Spread warm raspberry preserves over the top of the milk soaked cake. Refrigerate for a few hours to chill completely.
- Add the toppings. Beat the room temperature cream cheese and lemon curd in a small bowl until creamy, then fold in a container of whipped cream. Spread evenly on top of the cake.
- Chill and serve. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Add a fresh raspberry and lemon slice to each square.
Store the lemon raspberry poke cake in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
You can freeze the unfrosted cake. Wrap the cooled cake tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then place in a freezer safe bag or container. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then add the toppings before serving.
Tips and Tricks
- Pour the condensed milk over the cake while it is still hot. The liquid will soak into the cake leaving it moist and gooey.
- Keep a poke cake in the refrigerator when you are not actively eating it.
- Change up the topping by using other preserves, strawberry pie filling, or blueberry honey sauce.
- Make sure to thaw the Cool Whip ahead of time, so it is easy to spread over the finished cake.
Why is it called a poke cake?
You use a dinner fork or a wooden spoon handle to "poke" holes in the cake before adding your favorite toppings.
Does a poke cake need to be refrigerated?
Yes, these cakes are best when kept in a refrigerator. They are ok to be out 1-2 hours if you are serving them at a party or picnic.
Other Poke Cakes
- Lemon Strawberry Cake
- Chocolate Coconut Cake
- White Chocolate Pudding Cake
- Coconut Fudge Cake
- Strawberry Coconut Cake
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*This raspberry lemon cake was first published April 2016. The post was updated and republished May 2022.