Patriotic Poke Cake

Elevate your patriotic celebrations with this eye-catching Patriotic Poke Cake! Bursting with vibrant swirls of red, white, and blue, each slice is a delicious blend of flavors and colors. With layers of moist cake, creamy cheesecake pudding, and fluffy whipped cream, this dessert is sure to be the star of your dessert table. Whether you’re celebrating Independence Day, Memorial Day, or any summer gathering, this cake is the perfect sweet treat to honor the red, white, and blue.


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • Ingredients listed on the cake mix box (eggs, water, oil)
  • 2 (3.4 oz) boxes instant cheesecake pudding
  • 3 ½ cups milk
  • 2 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Blue and red food coloring
  • Sprinkles for garnish


1. Preheat and Prepare

  • Get ready: Preheat your oven to the temperature specified on the cake mix box. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with baking spray and set aside.

2. Mix the Cake Batter

  • Prepare the batter: Follow the directions on the cake mix box to prepare the cake batter. Divide the batter into three equal portions. Leave one portion white, add red food coloring to the second portion, and blue food coloring to the third. Stir until the colors are fully blended.

3. Layer and Bake

  • Create colorful layers: Drop small amounts of each colored batter into the prepared baking dish, alternating colors. Layer the batter until all portions are used. Tap the dish on the counter to flatten the surface and swirl the colors slightly with a toothpick.
  • Bake it: Bake the cake according to the box directions. Once baked, let it cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes.

4. Poke and Pour

  • Make holes: Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely.
  • Prepare the pudding: In a bowl, whisk together the instant pudding mix and milk until dissolved. Pour the pudding over the cooled cake, ensuring the holes are filled. Spread any remaining pudding over the top and refrigerate until set.

5. Whip the Cream and Garnish

  • Make whipped cream: In a chilled bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the pudding layer.
  • Add sprinkles: Garnish with sprinkles before serving.

6. Serve and Enjoy

  • Delightful dessert: Slice and serve this delightful and patriotic dessert at your celebration. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for later enjoyment.

Serving and Storage Tips:

Serving Suggestions

  • Festive Presentation: Serve slices of Patriotic Poke Cake on decorative plates or platters to enhance the festive atmosphere of your celebration. Consider adding additional red, white, and blue decorations or flags for an extra patriotic touch.
  • Accompaniments: Pair each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for a decadent treat. Fresh berries, such as strawberries and blueberries, can also be served alongside for added color and flavor contrast.
  • Make Ahead: Prepare the cake a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator overnight. This allows the flavors to meld together and makes for easier serving on the day of your event.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigeration: Store any leftover Patriotic Poke Cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness. It will keep well for 2-3 days, though the texture may soften slightly over time.
  • Freezing: While the cake can be frozen, it is best enjoyed fresh due to the creamy pudding and whipped cream layers. If freezing, wrap individual slices tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
  • Avoid Room Temperature: Due to the dairy-based layers of pudding and whipped cream, it’s important to avoid leaving the cake at room temperature for extended periods, especially in warm weather, to prevent spoilage.

Presentation Tips

  • Garnish Before Serving: Add a final flourish of sprinkles or edible glitter over the whipped cream layer just before serving to enhance the visual appeal of the cake and add a touch of whimsy.
  • Fresh Berries: Arrange a few fresh berries, such as raspberries and blueberries, on top of each slice or around the base of the cake for an elegant and patriotic garnish.
  • Serve Chilled: For the best texture and flavor, serve the cake chilled directly from the refrigerator. This helps maintain the integrity of the layers and ensures a refreshing dessert experience.

With these serving and storage tips, you can enjoy your Patriotic Poke Cake to the fullest, whether you’re celebrating Independence Day, Memorial Day, or any other patriotic occasion. It’s a delightful dessert that’s sure to impress your guests and leave a lasting impression!


1. Berry Blast: Add a layer of fresh mixed berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, between the cake and pudding layers for a burst of fruity flavor and vibrant color.

2. Lemon-Lime Twist: Infuse the cake batter with lemon zest and lime zest for a citrusy kick. Replace the vanilla pudding with lemon or lime-flavored pudding for a refreshing variation.

3. Chocolate Indulgence: Swap the white cake mix for chocolate cake mix and use chocolate pudding instead of cheesecake pudding. Top with chocolate shavings or cocoa powder for a rich and decadent twist.

4. Coconut Dream: Mix shredded coconut into the cake batter and coconut milk into the pudding mixture for a tropical-inspired flavor profile. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes for an extra touch of sweetness and texture.

5. Oreo Delight: Crush Oreo cookies and fold them into the cake batter for a cookies and cream-inspired variation. Use vanilla pudding and top with crushed Oreo crumbs and whipped cream for an indulgent treat.

6. Nutty Crunch: Fold chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, into the cake batter for added texture and flavor. Use butterscotch or caramel-flavored pudding for a rich and nutty twist.

7. Strawberry Shortcake: Layer sliced strawberries between the cake and pudding layers for a classic strawberry shortcake-inspired variation. Top with whipped cream and additional strawberries for a picture-perfect presentation.

8. Peanut Butter Bliss: Swirl creamy peanut butter into the cake batter and use peanut butter-flavored pudding for a decadent peanut butter lover’s delight. Drizzle with melted chocolate for an irresistible finishing touch.

9. Minty Fresh: Add a few drops of peppermint extract to the cake batter for a refreshing mint flavor. Use vanilla pudding tinted with green food coloring for a festive touch. Garnish with chocolate shavings or mint leaves for an elegant presentation.

10. Tropical Paradise: Replace the white cake mix with pineapple-flavored cake mix and add crushed pineapple to the batter for a taste of the tropics. Use coconut-flavored pudding and garnish with sliced kiwi, mango, and pineapple for a colorful and refreshing dessert.


1. Can I use homemade cake batter instead of a cake mix? Yes, you can use your favorite homemade cake recipe as a substitute for the cake mix. Ensure the batter is divided and colored as directed in the recipe.

2. Can I use instant vanilla pudding instead of cheesecake pudding? Yes, instant vanilla pudding can be used as a substitute for cheesecake pudding if preferred. It will still provide a creamy and delicious layer for the cake.

3. Can I use whipped topping instead of homemade whipped cream? Yes, you can use store-bought whipped topping as a convenient alternative to homemade whipped cream. Simply spread it over the pudding layer as directed.

4. How far in advance can I make this cake? You can make the Patriotic Poke Cake up to 24 hours in advance of serving. Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve for the best texture and flavor.

5. Can I use gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring? Yes, gel food coloring can be used instead of liquid food coloring for vibrant colors. Start with a small amount and adjust as needed to achieve the desired color intensity.

6. Can I use non-dairy milk for the pudding layer? Yes, you can use non-dairy milk, such as almond milk or coconut milk, as a substitute for dairy milk in the pudding layer. Ensure it is unsweetened and unflavored for best results.

7. How should I store leftovers? Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Individual slices can also be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before freezing for longer storage.

8. Can I make this cake gluten-free? Yes, you can use a gluten-free cake mix and pudding mix to make this cake gluten-free. Be sure to check all labels for gluten-containing ingredients and cross-contamination risks.

With its colorful layers and irresistible flavors, this Patriotic Poke Cake is the ultimate dessert for any patriotic occasion. Whether you’re hosting a Fourth of July barbecue or a Memorial Day picnic, this cake will impress your guests and leave them coming back for more. So grab your red, white, and blue ingredients and get ready to celebrate in sweet style with this deliciously festive cake!