Better Than Presents… Rainbow Birthday Poke Cake



Okay, so this is NOT my realm of desserts.

Cakes intimidate the you-know-what right out of me. I don’t know what it is; they’re just big and bulky and scream “CRUMB COAT!! CRUMB COAT!!” and look at me all menacing-like with their uneven edges and lack of interesting decoration. 

(Note to others: when cakes begin talking to you, it’s probably a good idea to speak with a medical professional and never return to this blog)

But my sweet little friend Ashton always makes poke cakes and they always look AHMAZZZZZING. I mean, I don’t even like carrot cake, yet she had me pawing at my monitor over her Better Than Easter Poke Cake. HELLOOOOOOOOOO, go in my mouth like yesterday.

Turns out, you don’t need a degree in cake decorating to make a delicious, show-stopping cake. There’s not one square of fondant on this bad boy, and frankly, this cake will point and laugh at your pretentious crumb coat. This cake is like your awesome best friend, except unlike your awesome best friend, you can eat it.

(K, I’m serious. Leave now while you still can).

Here’s the rocket science behind this amazing creation: bake a cake–any cake! Let it cool. Then, take out your anger on it by stabbing it a bunch with a spoon. Then make it feel better by smothering it with sweetened condensed milk. Then blanket your sweet best friend cake in Cool Whip and any other desired toppings, put it in the fridge to get acquainted with its new awesomeness, then EAT!

So easy, so delicious.

I have a feeling we’ll be best friends forever.

DSC_0524ABetter Than Presents… Rainbow Birthday Poke Cake *from Ashton’s gorgeous Rainbow Poke Cake recipe 🙂 

5.0 from 2 reviews
Better Than Presents... Rainbow Birthday Poke Cake
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
Happy Birthday to your face! This cake is AWWWEEESOME.
  • 1 box white cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • Wilton Gel food coloring in No-Taste Red, Kelly Green, Lemon Yellow, Violet and Blue
  • 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 oz) tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • About 15 Birthday Cake Golden Oreos, lightly chopped
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13x9 inch pan liberally with cooking spray. Prepare your cake batter according to package directions (or use a homemade version if desired). Evenly distribute the batter among five small bowls.
  2. Tint each bowl with a different gel food color until you've reached your desired shade. I only used red, yellow, green, blue, and purple, but feel free to experiment with different shades (pastels, primary colors), or add in orange if you'd like.
  3. In any order you choose, drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into the pan, layering the colors on top of one another. Don't swirl the colors; it'll muddle them! Once all the batter is layered in the pan, bake the cake according to package directions or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely.
  4. Once cooled, poke holes all over the surface of the cake (roughly 25-30) with a wooden spoon handle. Immediately pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the surface of the cake, trying to fill the holes with the milk.
  5. Spread the Cool Whip over the surface of the cake and top evenly with the lightly crushed Oreos and the sprinkles. Refrigerate the cake (to set) for about 4 hours-overnight; overnight is best. Store leftovers in the fridge.


DSC_0521AThis cake is the bomb diggity! At first, I was apprehensive about this cake only because I hate when things are soggy and I was worried the condensed milk would make the cake a little too wet. However, once it sets up in the fridge (I kept mine in overnight), it seemed to seep into the cake and give it a little extra boost. The result was a perfectly light cake with nice, moist crumbs in fun colors. What’s not to love?! And the birthday cake-flavored Golden Oreos on top of the Cool Whip is just, well, the icing on the cake. No wonder Ashton’s obsessed with these cakes!

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

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  1. You-Are-Awesome!

  2. This sounds SO amazing! I love making cakes, but I’ve never made a poke cake. Might be time to change that (even if I know no one with a birthday for like… months)

  3. I’ve never made a poke cake either and it sounds both easy and good!

    And this cake looks insane. Like something the Lost Boys ate during their dinner in the movie Hook. I’m sure my kid would have a blast eating this.

  4. I want to call this Grateful Dead cake.

  5. Okay, enough is enough. I’ve been saving and “liking” all of your amazing rainbow creations for months and months. This cake finally pushed me over the edge and I just ordered some Wilton Gel colors from Amazon. I’m dying to make this. 🙂

  6. so purdy! I used to use the font on your first watermark (with the hearts) on my watermarks. So cute =)

  7. Cakes don’t talk to me, they yell at me for making them look so ugly. This rainbow poke cake sounds like a tres leche cake, one of my favorites! And since you made it rainbow I have to make it.

  8. OMG Hayley. Am I dreaming? This is the happiest cake I’ve ever seen! I’ve never made a poke cake before! I need to get on it with you gals.

  9. Hayley,

    You are blessing the world with your wonderful personality! Thank you for helping me make my neighbors laugh with your wonderful recipes:) they now think I have a screw loose, in a good way:)

  10. This is the coolest poke cake I’ve seen to date! So pretty and festive. And I love the Golden Oreos and rainbow sprinkles you added on top. My birthday was last month, but can you make this for me next year? Pretty please. 🙂

  11. I love the rainbowness of your cake! It’s kind of adorable!

    I’ve never made a poke cake, but I would certainly be willing to try just based on your description of stabbing it repeatedly with a spoon. That part sounds like fun!

  12. Love all the colors in this one. SO awesome!

  13. This looks AWESOME Hayley!

  14. Love it, as always Hayley. I heart rainbows!

  15. Teehee I hope you aren’t desirous of eating your actual friends, just cake friends. 😉 Hayley this cake is AWESOME and simple cakes are def. the way to go. Who on earth wants to deal with a crumb coat? NO ONE that’s who.

  16. I’ve never made a poke cake either! Yours looks delicious – I need to think of a yummy flavor too now! 🙂

  17. I’ve got to get with it on the poke cakes…this looks so freaking good!!


  19. Better than cake is one of the first cakes I made when I was young. I haven’t made one in years and when I saw Ashton’s with the golden oreos I died and again I just die and the sprinkles!? Why do we live on opposite sides of cali??! I want a bite.. okay I lied I want half of this cake! LOL

  20. This looks so delicious and sounds pretty easy to make.

  21. Can you frost with regular frosting instead of cool whip?

  22. This looks awesome! Can’t wait to make it!!

  23. Cheryl Rektor says:

    Used sugar free cake mix and cool whip lite to cut calories. Half the amount of cookies to lighten a bit more and it was a hit

  24. I am making this right now and it looks so cool. But, silly me, didn’t read how long it has to set. I only have about3.5 hours. Will it still be ok to serve or should I just make it a ‘normal’ cake instead of a poke cake? Thanks for the idea!!!!

    • Hey Mindy! Hopefully I got to this in time, but it should be okay! You could try the poke cake and just keep it in the fridge until the last possible second, OR just frost it with the Cool Whip and omit the scmilk. Let me know how it turned out either way!

  25. I am now not positive where you’re getting your info,
    but great topic. I must spend a while learning more or understanding
    more. Thank you for excellent info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  26. I love it when i come across food porn on the internet! You naughty little Poke Cake! Nom..Nom..Noms! I cant wait to make it!

  27. I could only find white cake mix with pudding in it will it be a big difference?


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