Easy Lemon Poke Cake

4.67 from 3 votes

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This lemon poke cake is the perfect easy recipe for lemon lovers. We start with a prepared lemon boxed cake mix and lemon gelatin, then top with a perfectly light and sweet lemon glaze. This cake is served cold and is great for sharing!

If you love lemon desserts, this recipe is a must try. And it’s so easy you can even let the kids help! Top with lemon slices for a beautiful summer cake. 

Lemon Cake slices on plates
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Want more dessert ideas? Try these lemon curd cookies, strawberry poke cake, or orange creamsicle cupcakes next! And for a no bake lemon treat, you will love this easy lemon pie!

This Lemon Poke Cake Recipe Is

  • Moist lemon cake
  • Great for a special occasion or bake sale
  • Made with boxed cake mix
  • Simple ingredients
  • Versatile

Ingredients Needed

This easy cake is the perfect dessert any time of year, but especially in the warmer months. 

Lemon Cake ingredients

Here’s what you need:

Lemon box cake mix – If you want extra flavor and a bright yellow color, use your favorite lemon cake mix. For lighter flavoring, it’s ok to use yellow cake or white cake mix instead. 

Vegetable Oil – according to the box instructions. This is used to prepare the cake batter. 

Eggs – According to the package instructions for the cake.

Lemon gelatin – The mixture that pours over the cake with the holes is prepared lemon gelatin. It adds flavor and moisture to this jello poke cake.

Water – You will use water for the cake mix and to prepare the gelatin. 

Fresh lemon juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds a light citrus taste in the icing. And if you use fresh lemons, you can also grate some zest as well.

Powdered sugar – Add confectioner’s sugar to the lemon juice as the base of the icing. 

Heavy cream – Use cream in the lemon glaze to add richness and achieve the desired consistency.

How to Make Lemon Poke Cake

Full steps on how to make this lemon poke cake are in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post. Below is a quick visual walk through of the steps.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together cake mix, water, oil, and eggs, mixing until there are no lumps.

cake mix ingredients in mixing bowl with whisk

Pour into the pan, and bake cake in the preheated oven according to box directions.

When finished, let the cake cool in the pan. 

baked Lemon Cake in pan

Meanwhile, whisk together lemon jello mix and boiling water in a small bowl and set aside.

dissolved lemon gelatin with boiling water in sauce pan

Take a fork and poke holes in the cake. Then, slowly pour jello over top of the lemon cake.

Cover tightly with foil, and move to the refrigerator to chill overnight.

Before serving, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and heavy cream and some fresh lemon zest if desired.

whisk icing ingredients together in bowl

Frost the top of the lemon cake. Then top with slices of lemon and serve!

pour icing glaze over cake in pan

Recipe Variations

  • For a creamy lemon poke cake, try using instant lemon pudding mix instead of the lemon Jell-O. NOTE: If you use instant pudding, poke larger holes in the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon before adding the pudding layer.
  • Make lemon cupcakes instead of using a cake pan. Follow the cupcake instructions on the box and then continue the recipe steps.
  • Sprinkle a little lemon zest on top of the cake or add it to the icing.
  • Add some blueberries to the cake mix and some additional fresh berries on top of the cake for blueberry lemon cake. 
  • For a milder lemon flavor, you can substitute the lemon cake with yellow cake mix instead.

Storing Cake

Refrigerate – Leftover cake should be refrigerated in an airtight container. You can enjoy it for up to 4 days. 

Freezing – You can also freeze this lemon jello cake in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw the cake in the fridge the night before and enjoy.

Print the Recipe Card

Lemon Poke Cake

4.67 from 3 votes
This easy lemon poke cake is a delicious dessert any time of year, but especially in the warmer months. Perfect for lemon lovers!
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 8 hours 50 minutes
Yield: 12 slices


  • 15.25 oz lemon cake mix, this recipe uses Betty Crocker Delights
  • 3 oz. package of lemon gelatin mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice, from a fresh lemon
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13 inch pan with non-stick spray.
  • Then, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together cake mix, water, oil, and eggs until there are no lumps.
  • Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake according to box directions.
  • When done, allow the cake to cool in the pan.
  • Combine lemon jello mix and boiling water. Set aside.
  • Poke holes on top the cake using a fork. Then, slowly pour jello mixture over the top of the lemon cake.
  • Cover tightly with foil, and move to the refrigerator to chill overnight.
  • Before serving, whisk together powdered sugar, lemon juice, and heavy cream for the icing. Pour on top of the lemon cake and garnish with fresh lemon slices.


Refrigerate leftover cake in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 342kcal, Carbohydrates: 56g, Protein: 3g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 312mg, Potassium: 38mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 41g, Vitamin A: 96IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 84mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to andreaupdyke@gmail.com.

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4.67 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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1 Comment

  1. I intend to make this cake very soon. In the ingredient list, water is listed only once and that is to make the Jello to pour over the cake. The amount of water for the cake batter is not given. Please give the amount needed. Thank You.