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Lemon Pudding Poke Cake: A Burst of Sunshine

Lemon Pudding Poke Cake couldn’t be easier to make. It’s a luscious lemon semi-homemade cake infused with creamy lemon pudding, topped with whipped cream and crushed cookies!

Even though you can serve this poke cake any time of year, the bright lemon makes this Poke Cake with Lemon perfect for Spring or Summer. Just like my Lemon Icebox Pie, Lemon Snowflake Cookies, and this amazing Blueberry Lemon Pie are.

This recipe was updated from 2019 to improve my reader’s experience. No changes were made to the recipe.

White pan of cake with whipped topping and lemon cookes crushed on top surrounded by whole cookies and empty white plates topped with forks all on a green napkin.

Lemon Pudding Poke Cake recipe couldn’t be easier to make. This make-ahead easy pudding cake recipe is the perfect recipe for sharing. It makes a generously sized dessert that everyone will love.

You know how I LOVE chocolate right? Well, Lemon may be a close tie. I just love how lemon brightens up any dish whether it’s in a dessert or savory dish. It just reminds me of summer and a burst of sunshine just like this Pudding Poke Cake!

Why you’ll love this Lemon Poke Cake Recipe

  • Make ahead dessert makes it perfect for entertaining.
  • Poke cake with lemon will feed a crowd. A generous 9×13 pan easily feeds 12 to 16 people.
  • Semi- homemade makes the ingredient simple and short.

This Cake with Lemon Pudding checked off this list plus one more very important requirement for the barbeque that I initially took this dessert too…

Nut allergy safe!

Another requirement is that the house we were going to has a child with a serious nut allergy. I’ve become educated on how to make food “safe” for this child. You see, even though the food doesn’t have nuts in it, it still might be dangerous.

You have to look at the label of every single ingredient that you put in a dish.

The nutritional label will sometimes list allergy-specific ingredients in bold or will have a “Contains” statement that will list allergen ingredients such as gluten, wheat, tree nuts, etc.

Another very important detail is if the ingredient was processed in a facility that processes products with nuts. That makes it off-limits to people with nut allergies too.

Lastly, monitor your own working space. If I’ve recently used nuts in my own kitchen, I make sure all surfaces and utensils are CLEAN (counters, cutting boards, and gadgets)!

Pin this amazing recipe!

3/4 view of a slice of lemon cake topped with whipped topped and crumbled cookies

A few items you make need to make a Lemon Poke Cake Recipe:

  • 9×13 Baking Dish – I’ve got this one and love it. It comes with a lid that makes taking and refrigerating my treats a lot easier.
  • Silicone Spatulas – This pretty set has a flat side and a curved side to take on your toughest job. I love that they are all one piece and can withstand 500°F! Throw out those old chipped ones and treat yourself!
  • Electric Stand Mixer – I used this mixer for doing everything in this recipe. It is my workhorse and I even have the attachments to make pasta and grind meat and nuts with too.

Ingredients for Lemon Poke Cake with Pudding

  • Lemon cake mix – You can also use a white or yellow cake mix.
  • Instant lemon pudding – Not cook and serve.
  • Heavy whipping cream – You can substitute with ready-made whipped topping.
  • Vanilla extract – I prefer pure but use what you have.
  • Powdered sugar – Also known as confectioners sugar.
  • Lemon sandwich cookies – You’ll use the cooking and their filling.
  • Milk – Any variety will work

How do you make a Lemon Poke Cake?

  1. Bake your cake according to package directions and let it cool.
  2. Mix the lemon pudding and milk together until it starts to thicken.
  3. Poke holes into the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon and pour the pudding miture over the top of the cake.
  4. Make the whipped cream and crush some sandwich cookies. Mix some of the crushed cookies in with the whipped topping and leave some for a garnish.
  5. Top the cake with the whipped topping mixture and let it chill for at least one hour.
  6. Garnish with more crushed cookies and serve.

Please note, that the recipe card has more complete instructions. This is intended as an overview.

What is a pudding poke cake?

A pudding poke cake is a baked cake that you poke holes in so that you can infuse other flavors. In this case, lemon pudding. There are other poke cake recipes that call for flavored jello, juice, or sweetened condensed milk to name just a few. It’s a great technique for adding moisture and flavor to any cake.

Baked cake with holes punched into the top in a white baking dish

This Kentucky Butter Cake is infused with a buttery sugar glaze that will have you licking the plate!

Pro Tips to simplify this Lemon Poke Cake recipe:

  • Poke holes approximately 1-inch appart. That will assure that the entire cake is infused with the pudding. Any closer could make the cake soggy.
  • Use ready-made whipped topping instead of homemade. Personally, I love whipping my own but no one will complain that you didn’t.
  • Use canned lemon pie filling or lemon curd instead of the instant pie filling. Note, however, the consistency will not be the same and I don’t believe will saturate the cake as well. Again, no one will complain!
  • Get the kiddos involved. Let them sprinkle the cookies on top and give them the half cookies to garnish the tops of the pieces of cake before serving.

How to store Pudding Poke Cakes

Since this cake has dairy as an ingredient, it’s best to store this cake covered in the refrigerator. Chilling this cake also keeps this cake from becoming soggy.

This cake also freezes well in an airtight container. While it can be frozen with the topping, I prefer making and serving the topping when I need it. The cookies keep their texture better as well.

Slice of yellow lemon cake topped with white whipped topping, crushed cookies and a half cookie on a white plate. A white baking dish and whole cookies sits behind it.

Poke Cake FAQ’s

Do I have to use a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake?

No, you don’t. Anything with a round handle will work. Chopsticks work well too.

Can I use Cook and Serve pudding instead of instant?

Yes, you can. However, instant is thinner so it soaks into the cake quicker and evenly.

Can I use cake mix with pudding in the mix?

Yes, you can. You can use any cake mix with this recipe.

If you enjoyed this recipe, here are a few more I think you’ll like

Everyone absolutely loved this Luscious Lemon Pudding Poke Cake. It’s like a burst of sunshine in every pan.

If you like this recipe, we would appreciate your comment and a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!

Side view of a lemon cake topped with whipped topping and crumbled cookies.

Lemon Pudding Poke Cake

Author: Julie Menghini
Lemon Pudding Poke Cake is a semi-homemade dessert that is sweet, creamy, and luscious. It's an easy make-ahead recipe that will delight any lemon lover.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Chill Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword: Cake with Lemon Pudding, Lemon Poke Cake
Servings: 12


  • 1 box lemon Cake Mix Pudding in the mix is fine but not necessary
  • 3.4 oz instant lemon pudding 1 small box
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream *
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract Can also use lemon extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 17 lemon filled sandwich cookies 15 for the cake and 5 for the topping


  • Cook the cake in a 9×13 baking dish according to the package directions. Cool the cake on a baking rack.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, combine instant pudding with the 2 cups of milk. Beat for 2 minutes. The pudding will start to thicken slightly but will still be pourable.
  • Using the end of a wooden spoon or another round-ended gadget. Poke holes into the cooled cake approximately 1-inch apart. Pour the lemon pudding mixture over the top of the cake.
  • Crush the lemon cream filled cookies in a gallon-sized zip lock bag. Pound the cookies with a rolling pin until crushed.
  • Whip the heavy cream, and vanilla extract together until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the powdered sugar and mix until blended. Fold in the crushed cookies into the whipped cream. Top the cake with the cream cookie mix.
  • Refrigerate for at least one hour. Garnish with remaining cookie crumbs and serve.
  • Store covered in the refrigerator.



*You can replace the whipped cream topping with store bought whipped cream for convenience.  I really like the homemade myself.
Recipe adapted from Soulfully Made.


Calories: 440kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 5gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 50mgSodium: 446mgPotassium: 135mgFiber: 1gSugar: 31gVitamin A: 649IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 172mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. My calculations are intended as a guide only.

Tried this recipe?Let me know how it was!
Recipe Rating


Monday 11th of April 2022

A smashing recipe, turned out so great when I tested it for Easter, definitely making again!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Thank you, Kathi! It's a great easy recipe for Easter.

Lynn @ Fresh April Flours

Monday 11th of April 2022

So simple and perfect lemon flavor!

Julie Menghini

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

Lemon is such a delicious flavor and one of our favorites!

Lemon Burst Poke Cake @

Monday 10th of August 2020

Should it be refrigerated before serving?

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 11th of August 2020

Yes, for 1 hour.

Soulfully Made

Wednesday 31st of July 2019

This is one of my favorite desserts! Lemony and light and fluffy goodness!

Julie Menghini

Monday 5th of August 2019

Thank you! We really loved this burst of sunshine cake!

Sandra Shaffer

Monday 29th of July 2019

Poke cakes are always a hit and lemon flavor is just the right combo for a spring and summer gathering! I'm making this for a work potluck. What a treat!!

Julie Menghini

Tuesday 30th of July 2019

Thank you, Sandra!