Lemon poke cake is spongy and moist with rich lemon glaze filling every bite. Topped off with whipped cream, this homemade cake is beautiful, zesty, and perfect for your next party.
Table of Contents
- Lemon poke cake is spongy and moist with rich lemon glaze filling every bite. Topped off with whipped cream, this homemade cake is beautiful, zesty, and perfect for your next party.
- Why You’ll Love This Lemon Poke Cake Recipe
- Why is it Called Lemon Poke Cake?
- What is Lemon Poke Cake?
- How to Make Lemon Poke Cake
- Recipe Pro-Tips
- Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- More Cake & Lemon Recipes
If you love moist and flavorful cake, lemon poke cake will be your new favorite. The luscious, sweet, and zesty lemon glaze is poured over the hot cake, making each bite scrumptiously soft and full of bright lemon flavor.
Starting with a box cake mix cuts down on prep time and the addition of sour cream means every corner of the cake has the perfect texture. Poking the hot cake before drizzling the lemon glaze is oddly satisfying and adds additional lemon flavor to each slice.
Why You’ll Love This Lemon Poke Cake Recipe
- Lemony. Summery lemon flavor fills every morsel of this cake. Lemon poke cake is made with lemon glaze for an extra lemony flavor that soaks into each poke.
- Family-Favorite. What child doesn’t want to poke a cake over and over? Your family will love participating in making this cake and the cool and refreshing flavors will be devoured quickly at your next family meal.
- Easy, But Beautiful. There is nothing complicated about this easy lemon poke cake. The recipe uses ingredients you probably have in your panty and requires no special equipment or cake-decorating skills. Just bake, glaze, and top with beautiful whipped cream peaks.
- No Jello or Pudding. This recipe uses a homemade lemon glaze instead of using lemon jello or lemon pudding for fresh lemony zest and authentic flavor. You’ll love the deep lemon flavor from freshly squeezed juice, and avoid artificial colors and flavors.
Why is it Called Lemon Poke Cake?
This cake gets its name from the process of poking the freshly baked cake with a skewer or chipstick to prepare it for the lemon glaze.
What is Lemon Poke Cake?
Lemon poke cake is a traditional 9x13-inch cake that is poked with a skewer and enrobed with lemon glaze when it’s hot. Not only is poking the cake satisfying, but it also helps the hot cake absorb the glaze so luscious lemon flavor is in every moist bite. This simple lemon cake recipe is topped with whipped cream for a beautiful and fluffy finish.
- Cake Mix: One package of yellow or white cake mix. Yellow cake mix will have a more lemony appearance.
- Flour: White flour gives lemon cake batter just the right texture. Use additional for preparing the cake pan.
- Sugar: Granulated white sugar is best.
- Salt: Regular table salt.
- Eggs: For just the right spongey cake texture.
- Butter: Unsalted and melted.
- Milk: Whole milk is best, but 2% also works in a pinch.
- Sour Cream: For tender, moist cake.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh squeezed lemon juice is preferable
- Lemon Zest: Adds additional fresh lemon flavor.
Lemon Glaze Ingredients
- Confectioners Sugar: Confectioners sugar melts into the lemon juice and milk for a silky smooth glaze.
- Lemon Juice: For zesty lemon flavor in every little poke, freshly squeezed is best.
- Milk: Whole milk for a creamy glaze.
Whipped Cream Ingredients
- Heavy Whipping Cream: For fluffy cream peaks to top off the cake. For the best results, use extra cold whipping cream.
- Confectioners Sugar: The best sugar for whipped cream or icing.
- Vanilla Extract: Vanilla makes everything about whipped cream even better with a warm vanilla bean flavor. Use pure vanilla extract for the best flavor.
- Greek Yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt can be used in place of sour cream. Full fat, not reduced fat or “light” yogurt varieties make the best substitution.
- Cool Whip: For a quick finishing touch without whipping, use cool whip frosting instead of whipped cream.
How to Make Lemon Poke Cake
This recipe for lemon poke cake has three main components: cake, lemon glaze, and whipped cream. Read on to learn how to make it.
For the complete recipe and measurements, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Mix and Bake the Cake
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a 9x13-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter and sprinkle with all-purpose flour.
Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
Step 3: Add the eggs, melted butter, whole milk, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest to the mixing bowl. Whisk well until combined.
Step 4: Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake for 38-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Make the Lemon Glaze
Step 1: During the last few minutes of the baking time, whisk together the lemon glaze: add the confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and whole milk to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
Step 2: Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. While the cake is still piping hot, poke every inch or so of the top of the cake with a chopstick or wooden skewer.
Step 3: Pour the lemon glaze over the hot poked cake, spreading it out so it evenly coats the top.
Step 4: Let the glazed cake cool on the wire rack until at room temperature.
Top the Cake with Whipped Cream
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla extract just until stiff peaks form, or for about 1-2 minutes.
Step 2: Spread the whipped cream over the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1-2 hours, or until serving. Enjoy cool!
- Cool Cake Before Frosting. Let the glazed cake cool to room temperature before topping it with whipped cream. A hot cake will melt the whipped cream.
- Grease Pan Well. Getting butter and flour into the corners and sides of your pan will let you enjoy every slice without sticking. After buttering the pan, add in a couple of spoonfuls of flour and gently tap and rotate the pan to cover the corners and sides with flour thoroughly. Work over your sink or trash can to easily pour out the extra flour from the pan.
- Poke, Poke, Poke. Yes, really poke the cake repeatedly so the creamy lemon glaze can soak into every morsel. This may become one of your child’s favorite activities!
- Store Chilled. This cake stores best in the refrigerator to keep the whipped cream frosting fluffy and prevent melting. Keep the cake chilled until serving time and return the cake to the refrigerator right after serving, that is, if there is any left!
- Lemon-Lime: For lemon-lime cake, swap the lemon juice used in the glaze for freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Strawberry Cake: Use a strawberry cake mix in place of white or yellow cake mix. Strawberry cake has a beautiful pink hue perfect for a baby shower or gender reveal. Plus, strawberry and lemon are a flavor pairing made in heaven!
- White Chocolate: Add 3 ⁄ 4 cups of white chocolate chips or chunks to the cake batter or top the whipped cream with shreds of your favorite white chocolate bar.
- Fruit: Use sliced strawberries, whole raspberries, or small lemon slices to designate serving sizes and make cutting a breeze.
This easy lemon cake is perfect for your next family gathering, holiday, or afternoon picnic. Serve as a zesty, summery, end to a summer meal of Instant Pot Bbq Chicken, or Spicy Honey Chicken with a side of Blistered Green Beans.
Serve with mixed fruit or top the cake with lemon slices, strawberries, or sprinkle the whipped cream with blueberries. Lemon poke cake is a great dessert for large groups and is the perfect birthday cake for a citrus enthusiast.
For gluten-free lemon cake, use a gluten-free cake mix and gluten-free flour. Some gluten-free boxed cake mixes make a smaller cake, so look for one that will be equivalent to a standard 16 oz cake mix.
- Refrigeration: Leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.When serving on a hot day, return the cake to the fridge after serving to keep the whipped cream from melting.
Tools Needed to Make This Recipe
- Glass Mixing Bowls
- Measuring Spoons
- 9x13-Inch Metal Pan
- Wire Cooling Rack
- Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer
- Lemon Juicer
- Skewer or Chopstick
More Cake & Lemon Recipes
- Date Cake with Rum Toffee Sauce
- Pineapple Poke Cake
- Lemon Bars
- Meyer Lemon Curd
- Strawberry Lemonade Bars
- Vegan Coffee Cake
- Birthday Cake Cookies
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