Lemon Cake

This Lemon Cake is the ultimate poke cake for the summer weather. With Lemon cake mix, jello, and pudding, this cake is a triple shot of bright, sweet lemon flavor, and we gild the lily with a hefty dose of whipped cream on top. Oh, it’s so good and so easy!

slice of lemon cake on a plate.

Lemon is one of the most classic and beloved summer flavors out there. That bright, sweet, tangy flavor is synonymous with summer fun, and this delicious poke cake puts that on full display. We love to serve this triple punch of lemony goodness when family and friends come over. Sometimes, we make it just for us!

slice of lemon cake on a plate.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s an easy recipe that’s ready in no time.
  • It uses simple ingredients.
  • Its bright lemon flavor is perfect for the summer.
  • EVERYONE loves it!


bowls of cool whip, milk, cake mix, gelatin, oil, eggs, water on a counter.

This recipe uses simple ingredients you can find in just a couple of aisles at your local grocery store. Like any good poke cake, there’s nothing fancy about it!

  • Lemon boxed cake mix (plus the ingredients called for on the box)
  • Lemon Jello
  • Lemon instant pudding
  • Milk
  • Hot water
  • Cold water
  • Cool Whip
  • Fresh lemons (optional, for garnish)

See the recipe card at the end of the post for exact quantities.

🔪 How to Make Lemon Cake

Making this cake is super easy. It only takes a few minutes and a few simple steps, and you’ll be all done!

Step 1: Prep

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Step 2: Make the Cake

Mix and bake the cake according to the box directions. Cool the cake.

holes being poked into a baked cake.

Step 3: Poke Holes in the Cake

Use a straw or the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake, going about halfway down.

pudding being mixed in a mixing bowl.

Step 4: Make the Jello

Whisk the lemon Jello and 1 cup of hot water together until dissolved in a medium bowl. Then, whisk in 1/2 cup of cold water.

Step 5: Pour and Chill

Pour the lemon Jello into the holes in your lemon cake. Then, cover the pan with foil and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Step 6: Make the Topping

Whisk the pudding mix and milk in a large bowl. Then, add the Cool Whip and mix until combined.

frosted cake in a glass baking dish.

Step 7: Frost

Frost the chilled cake evenly with the Cool Whip mixture. Slice and serve garnished with a lemon slice.


Do you want to change up this recipe and make it your own? Here are some ways that you can do that!

  • You can use vanilla, butter, or yellow cake in place of lemon cake.
  • Try mixing blueberries into your lemon cake for a pop of berry flavor.
  • Use berry Jello for a lemon berry poke cake.

If you think the citrus flavor of this lemon poke cake sounds good, we think you’ll enjoy our key lime poke cake.

🥄 Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • 9×13 baking dish
  • Foil

🥫 Storage

Refrigerate this poke cake for up to 5 days covered tightly with foil.

Serve With

Serve this poke cake with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee or tea and some fresh fruit and dark chocolate. It’s a delicious dessert after any summer meal of hamburgers, hot dogs, grilled meats, and the like, as well.

slice of lemon cake on a plate.

💭 Tips

  • Be sure you only poke your holes about halfway through the cake so the cake holds together when you slice it.
  • Keep your holes about an inch apart to ensure the cake stays together when it’s sliced.
  • Be sure the lemon Jello is fully dissolved before adding the cold water to ensure it sets properly.

⁉️ FAQ

Do you have questions about this recipe? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

What is a poke cake?

A poke cake is a dessert made with a cake that has holes poked all over it and soaked with a Jello mix or pudding, then topped with Cool Whip.

Why did my poke cake fall apart?

If you poke holes in the cake too deep or close together, the cake will fall apart when you slice it.

Why was my poke cake soggy?

If you pour too much Jello or pudding over the cake, it will absorb too much liquid and become soggy.

🍽 More Recipes

Do you enjoy lemon? Then try these delicious recipes:

🧾Recipe Card

Want to make this recipe? Print the recipe card below, or pin this recipe, so you can find it later.

slice of lemon cake on a plate.

Lemon Cake

This lemon cake is a rich, sweet, and zingy poke cake made with lemon cake mix, jello, and pudding and topped with Cool Whip.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 16 Servings
Calories: 164kcal


  • 9×13 baking dish
  • large bowl
  • straw or wooden spoon
  • Aluminum foil


  • 13.75 ounces Lemon boxed cake mix plus ingredients on the back- oil, water, eggs
  • 3 ounce box lemon gelatin
  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 3 ounces lemon instant pudding
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 8 ounces. cool whip
  • Optional: Fresh lemons for garnish


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Grease a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix and ingredients according to the box directions.
  • Pour into your 9×13 inch pan and bake according to box directions.
  • After baking, allow the cake to cool, then use a straw, the end of a wooden spoon, or other round utensil to poke holes halfway down into the cake.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon jello mix and 1 cup hot water, until dissolved. Whisk in ½ cup cold water.
  • Pour the jello mixture into the holes of your lemon cake.
  • Cover the pan with foil and move to the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours, or over night.
  • To frost, in a large bowl, whisk together pudding and milk. Note that the milk amount used is different from what is suggested on the pudding box.
  • Add cool whip and whisk to combine.
  • Use a spatula to frost the cake evenly.


Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and proportion sizes.


Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 164kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 249mg | Potassium: 62mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 1mg

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