Cool and refreshing Vanilla Lime Poke Cake starts with a white cake, has a layer of lime-infused vanilla pudding and homemade whipped cream frosting.
One of my favorite memories of summer is Jello poke cake. Those bright red fruity streaks running through cool white cake…there’s nothing like it!
Poke cakes are perfect for many occasions, whether summer or another season, and this vanilla lime poke cake is sure to become a crowd pleaser.
Why you’ll love this cake:
- easy boxed cake mix recipe
- traditional pudding poke cake with a lime twist
- vanilla paired with lime creates a cool citrus flavor
- homemade whipped cream to top it all off
- a great make ahead cake
Tips for Making Vanilla Lime Poke Cake
- This semi-homemade cake recipe uses a box cake mix. If you want a homemade cake, try this almond cake recipe and use vanilla extract in place of almond.
- A hand mixer works just fine for the cake mix, but a stand mixer is great for making homemade whipped cream. This is because it takes a couple of minutes of mixing.
- If your cake mix is a different amount of ounces, that’s ok. Just make sure it is a cake mix made for a 9×13 baking pan.
- Plan ahead. You’ll want to bake the cake and let it cool before adding the toppings.
- Use key limes or regular limes for the vanilla pudding.
- I used heavy cream in the pudding layer for extra richness. You can just use all milk if you’d like.
- For the frosting you can make your own whipped cream as I mention below. Or if you need a shortcut, substitute with Cool Whip.
- Homemade whipped cream works best when the heavy cream is VERY cold. You can even refrigerate the bowl to help it stay cold while you make it.
- Carefully spread the whipped cream over the pudding layer so the two layers stay separate and don’t mix.
How far in advance can you make this cake?
This cake is best served within one day after making it. If you choose to use Cool Whip, you could probably make it two days in advance. Store the cake covered in the refrigerator until you serve it.
Vanilla Lime Poke Cake
- 1 box white cake mix (16.25 ounces – I used Betty Crocker White Cake Mix)
- 1 ¼ cup water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 box vanilla instant pudding (3.4 ounces)
- ¼ cup lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 2 cups heavy cream (very cold)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- sliced limes
- lime zest
- Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
- Spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix cake mix, water, vegetable oil and eggs. Mix until well combined or there is no more dry flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Pour your cake batter into the baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The sides of the cake will be slightly separating from the baking dish and the center of the cake should spring back when you touch it.
- Once cake is baked, set aside until completely cool. This will take 1-2 hours.
- Once the cake is cool, use a straw or the end of a wooden spoon and poke some holes throughout the cake. This will help the vanilla/lime pudding to get more into the cake.
- In a large mixing bowl, add dry vanilla pudding, lime juice, milk, heavy cream and lime zest. Whisk together quickly until it is completely combined and smooth.
- Pour the pudding mixture on top of the cake and use a spatula to spread evenly. Place the cake in the fridge while you make the whipped cream.
- Making the whipped cream is easiest with a stand mixer or a hand mixer. Place the heavy cream, salt, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in the mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
- Gently spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake so the cream and pudding don’t mix together. Apply gentle pressure but don’t push down too much.
- Decorate as you'd like with slices of lime and lime zest.
- Keep in the refrigerator until you serve.
Other Poke Cake Recipes to Love
Poke cakes are perfect for any season! Here you’ll find everything from pumpkin poke cakes to tiramisu to tropical jello poke cakes.