Extra creamy and colourful Easter poke cake made with vanilla pudding and whipped cream. This easy recipe takes minutes to make and is sure to impress on your Easter table.
Easter is a time for family gatherings and lots of food preparation. I want to make your life easier with a quick, fuss-free and delicious dessert! This Easter Poke Cake is super quick and easy to whip up, so you can spend more time enjoying time with your loved ones!
If you love a dessert that’s easy to make, but also tastes amazing – this recipe is the one for you! It takes only minutes to whip up and even beginner bakers can make this wonderful Easter homemade cake. Guaranteed to become a new family favorite cake!
This Easter Poke Cake has colourful marbled layers of soft sponge, is filled with silky smooth vanilla pudding and topped with whipped cream. The filling and cream keep it extra soft and moist, so you can also make it ahead.
What is poke cake?
Poke Cake is a simple, yet delicious cake that’s guaranteed to make you come back for more. It’s made like a sheet cake, typically in a rectangular shape. After baking, holes are poked into the cake, and a filling is poured on top. The filling seeps into the holes, making an extra creamy and moist cake.
The name ‘poke cake’ comes from the process of poking holes into the cake sponge. This allows the filling to seep into the cake, infusing every bite with creamy, flavourful deliciousness.
There are many different recipes for poke cake, using various cake bases, like vanilla or chocolate. Fillings can be anything from sweetened condensed milk, to flavoured jello, fruit sauces or puddings. This makes poke cake a very versatile cake that can be easily adaped to personal taste.
Poke cakes can be made for any occasion like gatherings, holidays, parties and other celebrations. They provide a quick, easy and fuss free dessert, that hides layers of deliciousness inside. So if you’re hosting any get-together, I urge you to give this cake a go!
Why this recipe is amazing
- Easy to make: This Easter poke cake is as delicious as it is easy to make. Even with minimal baking experience, this recipe is guaranteed to make a delicious cake. With only a few minimal ingredients and simple steps to follow, you will make a perfect dessert for everyone to enjoy.
- Colourful and fun: This Easter cake is really fun and visually appealing. The cake batter is coloured in three different colours, which are then marbled together. This created a beautiful effect, that’s guaranteed to be a hit with the kids!
- Moist and creamy: The cake base is already moist and soft, but the filling adds a new layer of creaminess. Poking holes into the cake base, then adding filling makes the sponge absorb all that creaminess. So you will have amazing flavours with each bite!
- Perfect for Easter: This Easter poke cake is ideal for Easter gathering or celebrations. It’s bright and colourful, flavourful and delicious, but also easy to make. This simple cake will definitely be a hit with people of all ages, and it can be easily shared!
- Great for beginners: Even if you’re not a confident baker, this recipe is very forgiving. With minimal ingredients, a little bit of measuring and straightforward steps, this Easter cake is pretty much failproof!
All ingredients needed in this Easter Poke Cake recipe can be easily found in grocery shops, or you may already have them. Here’s what’s needed:
- Cake Mix – Since we will be colouring the cake batter, I recommend using a white cake mix. This type of mix provides the perfect canvas for vibrant colours. However, you can also use yellow cake mix if it’s the only one you have on hand.
- Buttermilk - Used to enrich the cake batter by adding moisture and creaminess. You can replace buttermilk with Greek yogurt, sour cream or heavy cream.
- Vegetable oil – Adds moisture and makes the cake extra soft. I recommend using a neutral vegetable oil like sunflower or canola.
- Eggs – The ‘glue’ that holds the cake together. I recommend using large eggs at room temperature for best results.
- Food colouring - Added to the batter to create beautiful coloured cake. I recommend using gel food colouring, as it yields really vibrant and beautiful colours. I like using pink, purple and blue or green food coloring.
- Pudding – You can use any type of pudding or custard you like, but I recommend vanilla flavour. I like using fresh vanilla custard, but you can also use Jell-O vanilla instant pudding or Custard powder.
- Whipped cream – You can use either heavy whipping cream or Cool Whip. Prepare it as per packaging instructions. You can also use chocolate frosting or cream cheese frosting.
- Vanilla – Used to flavour the cream topping. I recommend using vanilla bean paste for the most natural and intense flavour. You can also use vanilla extract.
- Sprinkles – Bring extra colour to this joyful Easter Poke Cake, making it extra festive. You can use any types of sprinkles, edible glitter, pearls or Mini chocolate eggs.
How to make Easter Poke Cake
1. In a large mixing bowl prepare the cake batter, then divide it equally between three smaller bowls, then colour them with food colouring. Drop spoonfuls of alternating colourful batter into a baking dish sprayed with non-stick spray or lined.
2. Bake until a skewer comes clean, then cool down for a few minutes. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke multiple holes into the cake.
3. Pour the vanilla pudding on top of the cake, pushing it into the holes. Chill in the fridge to set.
4. Whip up the cream to stiff peaks. Spread it evenly with a spatula over the cooled cake. Chill for a few hours before serving and decorate with sprinkles.
This colorful Easter Poke Cake it can be customised with different flavours and additions to fit your taste. Here are some of my favourite flavour variations:
- Different boxed cake mix: chocolate, lemon, strawberry, spice or red velvet
- Additional flavourings: lemon or orange extract, lemon or orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder
- Additions: dried fruit (raisins, cranberries), nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds), coconut flakes, chocolate chips or nibs
- lemon pudding or curd
- chocolate pudding
- fruit jelly
- fruit puree
- dulce de leche
Topping – add on top of whipped cream
- Easter chocolate eggs like Cadbury eggs
- chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almond flakes)
- fresh fruit (raspberries, blueberries, strawberry slices)
- chocolate chips, shavings or nibs
- coconut flakes
- cereal (especially colourful cereals like Fruit Loops)
- peanut chips
- sauces and drizzles (chocolate, peanut, caramel, fruit)
Success Tips & Tricks
- Food colouring: Use gel food colouring for vibrant colours. Start with a few drops of food colouring, then add more if needed. The colours work especially well on a white cake mix base.
- Cake pan: Make sure you either line the pan with parchment paper or grease it with non-stick spray. This way the cake won’t stick to the bottom.
- Marbling the colours: When marbling the colours, don’t overdo it. Use a skewer or the tip of a knife to go through the batter once and marble the colours. If you overmix them, the colours won’t be very distinct after baking.
- Baking time: Make sure you follow the packaging instructions for best results. Check to see if it’s done 5 minutes before by using a skewer or toothpick.
- Poke holes: Use the end of a wooden spoon or thin spatula to poke multiple holes into the hot cake. Do not poke all the way, only about 1-inch deep. Make sure the holes are evenly spaced about 1 ½ inches away from each other.
- Adding pudding: Pour the filling on top of the holes whilst the cake is still warm. This will keep the Easter cake extra moist. Add any remaining pudding on top of the cake for extra creaminess.
- Chilling the cake: It’s important to chill the cake well for at least 1 hour after adding the pudding, so it has time to set well. This way you get even layers when you cut through the Easter Cake.
- Frosting: Add plenty of whipped cream on top of the pudding layer, then use a spatula to level it evenly. Also chill the cake well after adding the whipped cream, for about 1 hour.
- Sprinkles: Add the sprinkles on before serving, so they stay crunchy. If added too much in advance, the colours of the sprinkles can start to bleed on top of the frosting, creating a messy look.
Storing & Freezing
Room temperature: I do not recommend keeping this cake at room temperature. This Easter Poke Cake contains dairy products, which make it highly perishable at room temperature.
Fridge: Place the cake in an airtight container or cover the tray with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer: This recipe also freezes well. Store in an airtight container, then freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, leave in the fridge overnight.
You can make this cake 2-3 days in advance and it will keep fresh and moist in the fridge. I recommend decorating with sprinkles right before serving. You can also make in advance and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Poke Cake can come out soggy for a number of reasons. This can happen if the cake base is under-baked, so make sure you check it’s ready with a skewer. It can also happen if the pudding is too liquid, so make sure it’s quite set before adding it on the cake.
Yes, this Easter poke cake is ideal to make ahead of time. Prepare it 2-3 days in advance and store it in the fridge or freeze it for up to 3 months. I recommend adding the sprinkles on before serving.
Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a thin spatula. The poked holes shouldn’t be too big, roughly ½ inch in width.
Usually a 3.4-ounce package of pudding will suffice for this cake. If using fresh pudding, you will need about 2 cups.
Poke cakes are typically single layered like a sheet cake. Since the cake is quite soft and moist due to the pudding filling, it may be too delicate to support extra layers. However, you can try experimenting with it if you use a thicker filling.
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Easter Poke Cake with Vanilla Pudding
For the Cake
- 1 white cake mix
- 1 cup buttermilk*
- ½ cup vegetable oil*
- 3 large eggs
- gel food colouring
For the filling
- 1 box vanilla pudding
- 2 cups milk, cold*
For the frosting
- 8 ounces heavy whipping cream*
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract*
- sprinkles or Easter eggs
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and grease or line a 9x13 inches (22 x 32cm) rectangular cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the white cake mix, buttermilk, vegetable oil and eggs. Mix using an electric mixer until just about combined.
- Divide batter evenly between three smaller bowls. Add a few drops of food colouring into each bowl, then mix with a spatula or whisk to combine.
- Using three large spoons, add spoonfuls of each colourful batter into the greased cake pan.Alternate each colour to create a marbled effect. Once all the batter has been added, use a long skewer or tip of a knife to gently swirl the colours. Do not combine them too much, a slight marbled effect is enough.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke multiple holes into the hot cake about 1 ½ inch apart from each other.
- Let the cake cooldown for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the filling as indicated on the packaging. It needs to be runny, so don’t allow it to set before using.
- Pour the vanilla pudding or custard over the cake, ensuring all the holes are filled. Tap the baking pan on the work surface a few times to force the pudding to seep into the cake. Spread the remaining pudding on top of the cake.
- Chill for 30-40 minutes or until completely cold before frosting.
- Start whipping the cream and vanilla extract until soft peaks, then gradually add in the powdered sugar. Continue whipping until medium-stiff peaks.
- Spread the whipped cream or Cool Whip on top of the cold cake, levelling it with a spatula.
- Decorate with sprinkles, Easter eggs or chocolate carrots. Enjoy.
- I recommend using a kitchen scale in grams for more accuracy. The cups used for the conversion are standard US customary cups (1 cup flour = 136g). There are many different types of cups across the globe, which is why I strongly recommend using grams instead.
- Nutritional information is indicative only and is calculated per slice (this cake yields 16 slices).
- Buttermilk can be replaced with sour cream, Greek yogurt or heavy cream.
- Vegetable oil - use either sunflower or canola oil.
- Vanilla pudding - liquid quantity might differ depending on the brand you buy. Please follow packaging instructions.
- Cool Whip can also be used instead of whipping cream.
- Vanilla extract can be replaced with vanilla bean paste.