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Lemon Pudding Poke Cake is delightfully light and refreshing! Made easy by starting with a box cake mix, adding creamy pudding, and topping with homemade whipped cream icing filled with lemon Oreo cookies. This is a lemon lover’s dream!

It’s the perfect cake for your special occasion, Mother’s day gathering, a spring or summer BBQ, potluck, or just because you love cake!

A slice of lemon cake topped with whipped icing on a white plate.

What is a Lemon Poke Cake?

Poke cakes are typically made in a 9 x 13 baking dish and most often made with a cake mix. While the cake is warm or in this case slightly cooled. You poke holes into the cake to allow one of these glorious “things” to make that cake moist and delicious!

  • sweetened condensed milk
  • a gelatin or jello mixture (Jello Poke Cake)
  • or in this case a pudding mixture

I almost get giddy when I think about this fluffy cake. I don’t know about you, but I am one of those lemon lovers I speak of!

This dessert packs an ever so slight punch of pucker power, while it is light, and fluffy with beautiful bits of crunch on top! Hear those ANGELS SINGING HEAVENLY TUNES? I DO! It’s definitely a family favorite!

Because of all these things – Lemon Poke Cakes are the perfect dessert for spring and summer! Something Cool and Refreshing is just what you need on a warm day!

a casserole dish filled with lemon poke cake

Ingredient Notes

  • Lemon cake and the rest of the cake ingredients required on the box (eggs, water, oil) – You can also use white cake mix or yellow cake mix, however, you will need to add in lemon extract or lemon juice and a little lemon zest – if you want more of a lemon flavor in the cake.
  • Instant lemon pudding mix – Make sure it is instant and not cook and serve.
  • Milk – I prefer whole milk, but a 2 % milk will work as well.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – This is the base for the fluffy whipped cream topping.
  • Powdered Sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar. This will sweeten the whipped cream without it becoming graining.
  • Lemon Oreo Cookies or Lemon Sandwich Cookies – You will use the cookie and the filling for the crumbles that will be combined in the whipped cream and some for the topping.
Image of lemon pudding poke cake ingredient

How to Making Lemon Pudding Poke Cake 

Step 1. | Prepare and bake the lemon cake mix according to box instructions. I prefer buying a cake mix with pudding in the mix and it usually requires eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Any cake mix that will fit in a 9 x 13 dish will work. You can also use a white or yellow mix in a pinch.

Step 2. Remove from the oven when done and poke holes with the handle of a wooden spoon or a straw. Let the cake cool slightly or almost cool.

Step 3. Beat together the pudding mix and milk with the whisk attachment or electric hand mixer for 2 minutes.

Step 4. Pour lemon pudding over the cooled cake, making sure the pudding gets into the holes. 

Tips

  • At this point, you can refrigerate like this and prepare to top later or you may make the topping and refrigerate completely prepared. If I am serving the next day, I will prepare the topping before serving so that the cookies still have a little crunch. It is delicious either way.

TIP: At this point, you can refrigerate like this and prepare to top later or you may make the topping and refrigerate completely prepared. If I am serving the next day, I will prepare the topping before serving so that the cookies still have a little crunch. It is delicious either way.

Step 5.   With a stand or hand mixer, beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla until medium peaks form. 

TIP: Medium Peaks are somewhere between soft and firm or stiff. They will hold up but slightly curl at the top. It really isn’t a precise science when it comes to this one. If you beat them to the firm stage it will still be good. The middle of the road holds up well but is still silky and smooth. 

Step 6.  Crush lemon Oreo cookies in a blender, or food processor, or place them in a Ziplock bag and crush with a rolling pin or can food item (anything heavy with work). Keep a few crumbs out for the top if you like. Then fold the rest into the whipped cream.

Step 7.  Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake.

Step 8. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until serving.

a single slice of lemon poke cake on a white plate

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use whipped topping instead of homemade whipped cream?

You sure can. Just replace with 12 ounces of ready-made thawed frozen whipped topping (Cool Whip).

What else can I use other than a wooden spoon to poke holes?

It’s harder these days to find a wooden spoon with a round handle. You can also use a large smoothie straw to poke holes, chopsticks, or anything with a round handle.

Variations and Substitutions for Lemon Poke Cake:

This Easy Lemon Poke Cake Recipe is a fabulous recipe as is, but if you want to change it up the combinations are endless!

  • Change out cake mix flavors, switch out the cookies, and use different instant puddings to change up the flavor combinations. As many as you can dream up!
  • Use a butter pecan cake, with a vanilla pudding, and use pecan shortbread cookies for a Butter Pecan Poke Cake.
  • Chocolate Cake, Oreo Pudding, and Oreo Cookies make for a delicious Oreo Pudding Poke Cake!
  • Use canned lemon pie filling or lemon curd in place of the instant lemon pudding. This will change up that creamy pudding texture, but you will get a little more pucker power in the middle of this lemon dessert.

Storage

Storage:

Since the cake has a dairy element, it needs to be covered with foil or plastic wrap or placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freeze:

It also freezes well in an airtight container. I would suggest making the topping when ready to serve it you are making this ahead to freeze.

If you have it leftover and need to freeze it can be frozen as is. Just note the topping will not be as crunchy as when it is fresh.

a casserole dish filled with lemon poke cake with one slice removed

4 Delicious Poke Cake Recipes

Love Cakes with Whipped Icings? Try our Carrot Cake with Whipped Cream Icing, Chocolate Cake with Whipped Oreo Icing, or Mini Almond Cakes with Fresh Blueberry Whipped Icing!

Hungry for more easy, home-cooked, delicious recipes?

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A slice of lemon cake topped with whipped icing on a white plate.
Recipe
4.85 from 38 votes

(click stars to rate)

Lemon Pudding Poke Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 15
Author: Nikki Lee
Lemon Pudding Poke Cake is delightfully light and refreshing! Made easy by starting with a box cake mix, adding creamy pudding, and topping with homemade whipped cream icing filled with lemon Oreo cookies. This is a lemon lover’s dream!

Ingredients 

  • 1 box lemon cake mix & all ingredients listed on box to make cake, (eggs, oil, water)
  • 3.4 ounce box instant lemon pudding mix, (1 small box)
  • 2 cups milk

Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 12 lemon Oreo cookies, finely crushed, (reserve some to garnish if desired)

Instructions

  • Prepare and bake lemon cake according to directions on the box for a 9 x 13 cake (typically 28 to 35 minutes). Remove the cake oven and poke holes into the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon or straw. Let cake cool slightly or almost cooled.
  • Beat together lemon pudding mix and two cups of milk with wire whisk for two minutes. Pour into the holes of the cake. 
  • Beat heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar until soft to medium peaks form. 
  • Crush lemon Oreos in blender, food processor or with rolling pin. Fold crushed cookies into whipped cream. 
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve. 
  • Garnish with crushed lemon cookies, lemon zest or sliced lemons.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 11 serving Calories: 331kcal (17%) Carbohydrates: 43g (14%) Protein: 4g (8%) Fat: 16g (25%) Saturated Fat: 9g (56%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 43mg (14%) Sodium: 345mg (15%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 23g (26%)

Nutritional Disclaimer

Soulfully Made is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

©️Soulfully Made

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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Lemon is my absolute favorite so decided to make this. It was amazing! Thank you for another great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    The lemon flavor is such brighter than I had imagined! Everyone scarfed them up and didn’t leave a crumb for me to take home and eat later. Guess I will have to make another one!

    1. This one goes fast with my bunch too! We are lemon fans! I am so glad your family enjoyed it!

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for such a great recipe, I making it for the 4th – I know everyone will love it!

  4. 5 stars
    I love lemon cake of any kind, so this is right up my alley! I’ll be making this for the 4th!

  5. 5 stars
    We are lemon fanatics and I can’t wait to give this recipe a try. It’s perfect for our summer gatherings!

  6. 5 stars
    Your lemon pudding poke cake was out-of-this-world good! Soft, moist and delicious. All the flavors worked perfectly together!

    1. I need to use a sugar free cake mix for this and its a yellow cake. Haven’t seen a lemon sugar free cake mix yet.

      Can you give me an idea of how much lemon and lemon zest to add to it?

      thanks,
      Karen

      1. I would start with the juice and zest of 1 lemon and see if you would like to add more. Usually, a nice-sized lemon will do the trick.