How to Make Jello Cake

Jello cake is a classic and never goes out of style! Here’s everything you need to know for how to make poke cake of any flavor and for any holiday.

If there is one cake I remember from my childhood, it is poke cake. I remember eating it in the summer as a picnic dessert. It’s light and fruity so you can literally eat it and eat it without realizing just how much you’ve eaten til much of the cake is gone!

cherry Jello Poke Cake on a plate

What is Jello cake?

Jello cake became popular in the 1970’s when everyone was eating all kids of Jello and pudding desserts. It is known to make cakes moister by adding in Jello. Plus, it also makes the cakes look so pretty since you can use any color you’d like!

The great thing? You can use ANY color or flavor of Jello. This makes it an ideal cake for any holiday or special occasion. You can even use two or three colors for a tye-dye effect.

cake mix and ingredients in a bowl

How do you make jello cake?

Most start with a box cake mix. Bake the cake as directed, then poke holes in the top of the baked cake. Mix Jello and pour it over the cake before it sets. Boom. Done!

  • Prepare. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. and coat a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  • Mix. Combine cake mix, eggs, water, oil and almond extract until smooth
  • Bake. Spread evenly into baking dish, bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Make Jello. Combine gelatin and boiling water and stir about 2 minutes until dissolved, add cold water.
  • Poke. Using a wooden skewer or large fork, poke holes into cake about every ½ inch.
  • Pour. Carefully pour gelatin over the cake
  • Chill. Place in refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight
jello pouring over poke cake

Poke Cake Frosting

There are many different options for adding a creamy frosting to a Jello poke cake.

We used a marshmallow whipped frosting that is light and sweet to pair with the fruit cake.

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, starting with ¼ cup powdered sugar and mix with a hand mixer until fluffy. You may need to add more powdered sugar depending on how thick you want the frosting.
  • Spread over cake.

Other Ideas on Frosting for Poke Cake

  • Cool Whip
  • Whipped Cream
  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Vanilla Pudding mixed with Whipped Cream
  • Vanilla Buttercream
marshmallow fluff frosting in a bowl with mixer

Jello Cake Cupcakes

Can you make cupcakes with this same recipe? Yes! Make the cake and bake the batter in cupcake liners as you would regular cupcakes. Then poke holes (be generous so the gelatin soaks in!) in the cupcakes and spoon gelatin evenly over the cupcakes. Allow to set for at least 3 hours.

Do you have to refrigerate poke cake?

It is important to refrigerate poke cakes because of the pudding and/or Jello inside and also the frosting. Make sure the cake is sealed well to prevent it from drying out.

Jello Poke Cake with cherry on a plate

How long is Jello cake good for?

This cake is best eaten within 3 days. Store the cake in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze poke Cake?

Yes! You can freeze gelatin poke cake. It’s important to double wrap any leftover cake. Wrap in plastic wrap first, then again in foil, or place it in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 2 months.

Jello Poke Cake with whipped frosting
Jello Poke Cake with whipped frosting

How to Make Jello Cake

4.67 from 3 votes
Jello cake is a classic and never goes out of style! Here's everything you need to know for how to make Jello cake of any flavor and for any holiday.
Servings 15
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours

Ingredients
 

For the Cake:

  • 1 box white cake mix (15 or 15.25 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil (or canola)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3.4 ounces cherry gelatin (1 small box) (any flavor will work)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water

For the Frosting:

  • 8 ounces whipped topping (thawed)
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  • ¼ – ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Optional Toppings:

  • additional whipped topping
  • fresh cherries
  • cherry pie filling
  • sliced almonds

Instructions
 

Make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. and coat a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Combine cake mix, eggs, water, oil and almond extract until smooth.
  • Spread evenly into baking dish, bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Combine gelatin and boiling water and stir about 2 minutes until dissolved, add cold water.
  • Using a wooden skewer or large fork, poke holes into cake about every ½ inch.
  • Carefully pour gelatin over the cake.
  • Place in refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight.

Make the frosting:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, starting with ¼ cup powdered sugar and mix with a hand mixer until fluffy. You may need to add more powdered sugar depending on how thick you want the frosting.
  • Spread over cake.
  • Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  • Store leftovers in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap.
  • Serve with fresh cherries, canned cherries or sliced almonds.

Notes

The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information.**

Nutrition

Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 319mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 119IU | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Calories 303
Keyword easy box cake mix, easy cake recipe, easy fruit cake

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you use to poke holes in a cake?

We use a large meat fork or the pointy end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in poke cake. If you are pouring Jello on top, it should soak in easily with even just a regular fork. If you are making pudding poke cake, the holes will need to be bigger so the pudding can sink in.

How long does Jello cake take to set?

This cake will take at least 3 hours to cool and set.

Does Jello make the cake soggy?

No. It makes the cake moist, but the Jello sets up so that the cake is not soggy.

About Julie Clark

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5 stars
When my Daughter’s where much younger (they are in their 50’s now) they always insisted this cake for their birthdays. It is super easy to make and very yummy to eat. They always picked out their favorite flavors. Would highly recomend this cake for all occasions.