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4th of July Poke Cake

Celebrate Independence Day with this cool and refreshing 4th of July Poke Cake. I love poke cakes because they are so fun and versatile. You can easily change the colors for different holidays or birthdays.

This cake is easy to make and it starts with a white cake mix. I like to make poke cakes the night before. It's a simple make ahead dessert and the longer it chills in the refrigerator the better it tastes.

Slice of 4th of July Poke Cake on white plate.

Show your patriotism with this fun and festive 4th of July dessert. This Poke Cake is the perfect chilled dessert to help you celebrate. You can get creative and decorate with sprinkles or top with blueberries and strawberries.

We love making red, white and blue desserts and a couple of our favorites include this 4th of July Fruit Pizza which is so impressive to make for guests. And if you need an individual size dessert these Patriotic Brownie Bites are perfect.

This poke cake can easily be adapted for any holiday or special event. Just change the colors of the gelatin and the cake flavor to fit what you need.

Ingredients

See printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

  • White Cake Mix - Prepare as directed on cake mix box.
  • Strawberry Gelatin and Berry Blue Gelatin- Adds the red and blue color to the cake.
  • Boiling Water - Used to dissolve the strawberry and berry blue gelatin.
  • Cream Cheese - Used to make the red and blue frosting.
  • Powdered Sugar - Sweetener for the cream cheese frosting.
  • Whipped Topping - Can use Cool whip or homemade whipped topping.
  • Red, White and Blue Sprinkles - Fun patriotic colors to sprinkle on top of the cake.

How To Make 4th of July Poke Cake

Bake Cake: Bake the cake according to package instructions in a 13x9 pan.Then allow to cool.

Cake with holes poked next to red and blue gelatin in bowls.
Cake with red and blue Gelatin poured in holes.

Poke Holes: Poke holes in the top of the cake with a wide straw, fork or the handle of a wooden spoon.

Add Gelatin: Prepare the strawberry and berry blue gelatin separately. Spoon a row of blue, then a row of red and alternate so you get a colorful mix of red and blue in the cake.

Cream Cheese Layers: Make red cream cheese and blue cream cheese then spread a layer or each over cake.

Poke cake with whipped topping in glass dish.

Topping: Top with whipped topping and red, white and blue sprinkles.

Refrigerate: Place in the refrigerate and allow to chill for 4 hours before serving.

How To Store

Store the cake in airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. I don't recommend freezing this cake.

Poke Cake Tips

  • To avoid too many crumbles poke the holes in the cake while it's slightly warm.
  • Place cake in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours before serving to allow liquid that has been poured on top to soak in. 
  • Don't poke the holes all the way through the cake or the gelatin may pool around the edges of the pan causing it to get soggy. Poke the holes about two-thirds of the way through. 
  • I prefer to spoon the gelatin into the holes instead of pouring it. A food syringe also works great to fill the holes easily.

Recipe FAQs

Can I make this poke cake ahead of time?

Yes you can. This cake is perfect for making a day ahead. Prepare it the day before you plan on serving it and refrigerate the cake overnight. Wait to add the whipped topping and sprinkles until right before you are ready to serve.

What is poke cake made of?

The basic poke cake is made of cake mix, gelatin and Cool whip. You can change the flavor combos by using different cake flavors and gelatin colors.

Slice of poke cake on white plate on wooden counter.

Here are a few more poke cake recipes you might like to try!

I hope you enjoy this 4th of July Poke Cake! If you try this recipe, please come back and rate it and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from you!

Slice of 4th of July Poke Cake on white plate.

4th of July Poke Cake

Author: Judy Wilson
Celebrate Independence Day with this cool and refreshing 4th of July Poke Cake. This cake is easy to make and it starts with a white cake mix. 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 276 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 package white cake mix, prepared to package instructions
  • 3 ounce package strawberry gelatin (Prepare with 1 cup boiling water then divide)
  • 3 ounce package berry blue gelatin (Prepare with 1 cup boiling water then divide)
  • 2 cups boiling water (for gelatin)
  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • ½ cup powdered sugar (divided)
  • 8 ounces whipped topping (thawed)
  • Red, white and blue sprinkles

Instructions
 

  • Follow directions on cake mix box for making cake. Bake the cake according to package instructions in a 13x9 pan. Then allow to cool.
  • Poke holes in the top of the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon or wide straw.
  • In one bowl add the blue gelatin and in another bowl add the red gelatin. Pour one cup of boiling water into each bowl and stir until dissolved. Then spoon half of each color gelatin over the cake (reserve the other half), making sure to spoon into the holes. The best way to do this is a row of blue, then a row of red and alternate so you get a colorful mix of red and blue in the cake.
  • Next, in two separate bowls, mix together 8 ounces cream cheese, ¼ cup powdered sugar and the remaining gelatin. Red in one bowl and blue in the other. To adjust the color, feel free to add red or blue food coloring to reach the shade you desire. Gel food coloring work best.
  • Spread the red cream cheese mixture over the cake then spread a layer of the blue cream cheese mixture.
  • Top with whipped topping and red, white and blue sprinkles.
  • Chill for 4 hours before serving.

Notes

Don't poke the holes all the way through the cake or the gelatin may pool around the edges of the pan causing it to get soggy. Poke the holes about two-thirds of the way through. 
I prefer to spoon the gelatin into the holes instead of pouring it. A food syringe also works great to fill the holes easily.
Store the cake in airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. I don't recommend freezing this cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 276kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 0.4mgSodium: 381mgPotassium: 47mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 40gVitamin A: 14IUCalcium: 110mgIron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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