If you loved those strawberry shortcake crunch ice cream bars as a kid, you’ll LOVE this Strawberry Crunch Poke Cake! A moist and soft strawberry poke cake with a fluffy whipped cream frosting and a strawberry crunch topping!
Surprise, another poke cake recipe!
I know I just posted one, but I couldn’t help it – this one was too good not to post immediately. Like, STAT.
I didn’t realize, but I was apparently inspired by childhood ice cream treats because my last big baking day, I did not one, but two ice cream-inspired desserts. Stay tuned for the next one because like this one, it is equally delicious and game changing!
This cake reminds me of those quintessential childhood strawberry shortcake crunch ice cream bars – you know the ones with the crunchy strawberry shortcake topping on the outside of the ice cream bar? This has that same crunchy element but on top of the cake! The crunch adds a delightful texture to this cake since the cake is very moist – almost like a tres leches cake.
The Poke Cake
The cake itself is a white cake that you bake up with the usual ingredients: cake mix, eggs, oil, water. Bake it and let it cool completely, then poke holes all over the top with a fork and pour over your strawberry gelatin mixture. The mixture is just strawberry gelatin, boiling water to dissolve it, and some cold water to help bring it to temp. Cover the cake and let it set for a little bit, preferably overnight, in the fridge to really allow that strawberry gelatin mixture time to seep into the cake and transform it into a magical poke cake!
The frosting is to-die for – a mixture of cream cheese and whipped cream to offset some of the sweetness with an edge of tanginess from the cream cheese. Just beat together some cream cheese to whip it up, then whip some heavy cream, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold the two together and spread it over the cake! Easy!
The topping is quite possibly, and no offense to the rest of the cake, the best part and is the nostalgic piece for me! It consists of coarsely crushed Golden Oreos, melted butter, and more strawberry gelatin powder mixed together until it gets all combined and perfect. It tastes JUST like the ice cream bars but better, in my humble opinion! It really adds a great texture to this ultra moist and soft cake!
Sweet, moist, creamy, smooth and bursting with sweet strawberry flavor, you’re going to love this nostalgic Strawberry Crunch Poke Cake!
Strawberry Crunch Poke Cake
For the Cake:
- One (15.25) box white cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box to prepare white cake
- 3 oz box strawberry gelatin
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup cold water
For the Frosting:
- 8 oz (One package) cream cheese, softened
- 1½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Strawberry Crunch Topping:
- 18-20 Golden Oreos, coarsely crushed
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 3 oz box strawberry gelatin powder
- Fresh strawberries for garnish, optional but recommended
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Liberally grease a 9x13 light metal rectangular baking pan with cooking spray; set aside. Prepare your cake mix according to package directions for a white cake. Add the cake batter to the prepared pan and bake according to package instructions (around 22-25 minutes or a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean). Cool completely, then poke holes all over the cake using the tines of a fork.
- In a small pitcher, combine the first box of a strawberry gelatin and the boiling water and whisk until powder is dissolved. Add in the cold water and whisk in until incorporated. Pour the liquid gelatin mixture evenly over the holes on the cake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, up to overnight, to set.
- For the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment until smooth and fluffy, about 30 seconds - 1 minute. Scrape out and set aside in a medium bowl. Add the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla to the original stand mixer bowl and switch to using the whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed for approximately 5-7 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
- Fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream mixture until no streaks of cream cheese remain and everything is evenly incorporated. Spread the frosting over the chilled cake in an even layer. Set aside.
- For the topping: Combine the coarsely crushed Golden Oreos, melted butter, and second box of strawberry gelatin powder (just the dry powder) in a medium bowl until combined and thoroughly coated. Drop handfuls of the mixture evenly over the frosted cake and press to adhere to the frosting. Top with fresh strawberries, if desired. Store any leftover cake covered in the fridge. The longer the cake sets in the fridge, the topping will soften some.
You guys are going to LOVE the addictive topping on this cake and how it brings back so many nostalgic childhood memories of eating those delicious ice cream bars!
Have a super sweet day!
It looks delicious
Question – If I store this in a tupperware with the lid on, will the crunch topping get too moist?
Hi Vicki, it will soften as it sits but it should still stay crunchy for a couple days.
Absolutely delicious!! Super easy too, not hard to get right. My whole family got seconds and thirds because of how moist and yummy it is!!
Warning!! Once you make this cake you will be asked to make it again, and again, and again!! Yes, it’s that good. Thank you so much for sharing .
I’m new to baking (thanks to quarantine) but this was hands down the best and easiest cake I’ve made! It really tastes just like the strawberry sundae bars of my childhood. It’s light, fluffy, not too sweet, the perfect dessert!
I have a glass baker instead of metal, will that be ok?
Hi Jess, it will be fine but the baking time may change slightly – it may be longer since glass doesn’t conduct heat as well. Just check and make sure.
This cake is amazing!! I made it last weekend and am tempted to make another this weekend! Not as sweet as you’d assume when making it but the perfect amount! I was wondering is this cake freezable? Would love to freeze some slices for future cravings since the cake is quite big!
Karen Farley says
This was delicious! Everyone loved it. I had a hard time with the whipped cream, though. I couldn’t get stiff peaks to form and eventually gave up and got some cool whip. Rookie mistake I’m sure. I was disappointed with that as I was looking forward to homemade frosting and the cake needed firmer frosting. Any ideas on what I may have done wrong?
Hi Karen, did you mix it by hand? It definitely takes awhile by hand and even with a hand mixer. A stand mixer is the way to go! You used heavy whipping cream, correct?
Karen, anyone I make whipped start out with a chilled metal bowl. Just stick in the dresser for a few min or the fridge for an hour to chill it. Definitely use a mixer with whisk attachment. Hope this helps!
Karen you have to whip fresh whipping cream in either glass or metal never ever plastic Bowl
I had a real problem with the icing too. Something must have been missing from the recipe. I made it twice with the same outcome.
You can buy whipped frosting from Smart & Final. It’s easy and delicious
DAVID ATWELL says
Don’t give up keep on trying. It’s literally one of the easiest things once you master it. You probably just stopped whipping too soon. I usually just put it on low to get it started and turn it up gradually. Too high, and you have splash everywhere too low and it’s just sloshing lol. Start on your low and after a minute or two increase to the 2nd MAYBE 3rd depending on what you’re using. Let it go for a good 2 minutes on low and then you should be able to take it up to high and still let it keep whipping for another 2 to 3 minutes. By then you’ll know cuz you’ll literally see your stiff peaks forming. Once it passes the liquid stage you can call yourself a whipped creamer lol. Its sooooooo good though trust me you’ll thank yourself for getting it down lol. I just moved on to butter and jam lol. Again DELICIOUS!!
Excited to try this! For the topping, do you separate the cookies/remove the icing inside the cookie? I’m assuming no but wanted to be sure! Thank you!
Hi Cate, nope, you just use the whole cookie!
Can i use salted butter for the crunch??
Yes you can!
Is there a way to speed up the cooling process after putting the gelatin over the cake? Does it have to be 4 hours or more?; can I put it in the freezer to go faster?
Hi Diana, I wouldn’t recommend putting it in the freezer. I would say 4 hours is the minimum.
Is the frosting heavy whipping cream or whipped cream? I used heavy whipping cream and it is sliding a bit. I have toothpicks holding it in place
Hi CC, yes, heavy whipping cream that you whip into stiff peaks!
The same thing happened to me. I had to actually use 4 cups of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of conrstarch to thicken it up. Plus, it takes less time for the icing to stiff than what is stated in the recipe. If you mix it for 8-9 minutes, it will become too runny and overmixed. I think the recipe may be off a little bit on the frosting.
I made this cake twice already bc everybody just loves it today was my third time to make it and I did something a little different I used a can of sweetened condensed milk I pour it over the cake holes then added the jello mix over it and omg it was like a strawberry and cream cake so delicious my family loved it
Love that, Misty! Sounds amazing.
Hey misty please tell me how you made the cake sound like de Leche so good Would like to try it your way also ♥️
Kristine Mae Dulay says
Just made this today for my brother’s 27th birthday. It was a big hit with him, he really enjoyed it.
Golden oreos is a must used?
Hi Grace, yes, Golden Oreos give that distinctive “strawberry shortcake” ice cream bar flavor! You could also use another vanilla cream filled cookie.
Any way this could be made into a round cake? Like two 9inch cake pans or a springform?
Hi Alex, you could definitely divide the cake batter among two 9″ round pans, then poke holes over the two separate cakes and divide the Jello mixture among the two cakes to “poke.”
Thanks! Do you think they could then be un-molded and made into a layer cake? Or would that make a total mess?
Here to ask the same question! Wanted to do a layered cake for my husbands birthday. Would that work?
Hi Kelsey, you could try, but I think the poke cake layers would be too delicate to stack and may break.
Why when I put the gelatin in my holes it made my cake so soggy will it be better in the morning
I’m wanting to make this as cupcakes for a birthday party this weekend. Do you think that will work if I use foil liners instead of paper?
Hi Toni, yes, that should work. I generally like paper liners better but foil ones should work fine.
i made this and it turned out good but the frosting was hard for me with the cream cheese, i don’t have a stand alone mixer so it was interesting mixing that up! is there a store bough frosting you think could be a good substitute? thanks! oh
I’m getting ready to make this..did u find out how to make it without the stand mixer? I don’t have one either. Thank you
Do you think I could make this in a Bundt pan?
Hi Patty, I think once you add the “poke” ingredients, it would be hard to unmold from the Bundt.
Can you use whipped cream cheese instead of the regular cream cheese??
Tracey, that should be fine.
I don’t have a stand mixer..how else can I do that step? Thank you
An electric hand mixer is fine!
Thia looks wonderful- can it be made with gelatin?
Haven’t tried yet, but does it really take 4 hours to prep? I have a new baby and don’t have that time laying around lol.
Just kidding , I just read the instructions lol
I made this cake as written and loved it! It is sooo addictive!!
I did try it in cupcake form and it worked that way too!!
Thank you for the recipe!
This looks delicious! I’m going to make this tomorrow. Can I frost the cake and leave in the fridge overnight and then the next day put the crumbles on -or- if I put the crumbles on tomorrow will they be soft the next day? Want to do this for Valentines Day dessert!
Hi Cathy! You can absolutely hold off on frosting and topping with the crumb. The crumb will definitely get softer as it sits.
Mine is already a hot mess! My gelatin didn’t absorb into the cake, what did I do wrong?
Hi Kim, oh no! Is it like Jello on top of the cake? It should have been a liquid.
This cake was wonderful. I’m wondering if I can freeze the leftovers? Thanks for great recipe!
Hi Amy, I have not tried freezing the cake so I can’t say for sure!
can I use the strawberry supreme cake mix instead? Also do you bake the topping first for ten minutes? Also can I put it in the fridge overnight with the whipped cream on top? Or no whipped until ready to serve ?
Hi Mariam, yes you could use the strawberry supreme cake mix instead of the white or yellow cake mix. The topping does not get baked. And yes, you can leave it in the fridge overnight with the whipped cream on top.
Hi! Is the strawberry gelatin instant or regular?! Can’t wait to try this!
Hi Rachel, I used regular!
Hi, I need to make this gluten free. Is there a recommended box cake or any helpful hints I should do? I have the GF golden Oreos and everything else should be fine once I get the GF cake box. Thanks
Hi Lea, I don’t bake gluten-free so unfortunately I have no idea, sorry!
Hi! I’ve started making this, but it’s not clear to me if I’m supposed to use the entire Oreo or just the cookie part. Can you help? Thanks!
Hi Erin, you’re supposed to use the entire Oreo!
I have made this cake twice now with plans to make it for years ahead.
The only thing I changed was I whipped the cream cheese with the powdered sugar. This made it thinner so that it was easier to fold into the whipped cream and vanilla.
My husband is so picky about desserts and he said he wants this for his bday cake from now until forever.
Bianca dudley says
What happens if you don’t let the cake cool completely before pouring gelatin mixture on top?
Nothing major, but I always recommend working with cakes once they are cooled.
If I wanted to make this into cupcakes instead of a cake how would I do that?
Would I just add dry gelatin to the cake mix and then just fill cupcake liners?
This sounds amazing!
Hi Mary, yes, you would have to individually poke each cupcake and fill them for the poke mixture, and adjust the baking time for cupcakes.
felicia young says
Thank you for listing the two boxes of strawberry gelatin in seperate ingredient lists. It always confuses me when people combine them.
This is pretty spot on! Will definitely make again – it was so good!
Made this cake for an Easter gathering everyone absolutely loved this cake. I also added tons of strawberry slices on top & it was soooo good. Now I am sitting here wanting to bake another, that’s how good it was!
Amanda Lee says
Hi! Do you bake your crumb topping?
Hi Amanda, nope – it’s simply jello powdered mix, melted butter and coarsely crushed golden Oreos!
Heather Canby says
This dessert is amazing and not much work for a semi-homemade dessert. What a great flavor and combination of ingredients! Thank you for sharing this awesome dessert! It will be a hit at any party or just sharing with your family! Stores great in the frig covered with foil for a few days if it lasts that long. Thank you again☺️
Happiest Mother’s Day to all the mommies on here!
I am currently in the middle of making this for our Mother’s Day dinner with family at my in laws. Cake is cooling, Jello mixture is waiting to be poured on, frosting made, just have to finish making the topping which I’ll probably hold off on doing until it’s closer to when we have to leave. Hoping it turns out as wonderful as everyone says. Aloha from Hawai’i!
This cake is amazing. It was a huge hit at the birthday party. I will be making another one soon.
I messed the frosting up and need the cake in the morning..can someone please tell me what frosting I should buy? I don’t have time to do it again. Thank you
Just realized this comment is today! While I wasn’t the one that made the recipe, if you are buying store bought frosting I would guesstimate Betty Crocker Whipped Cream Cheese frosting would be the closest match. Honestly the cake part and the crumble are SO good, that in a pinch you probably can’t go wrong with any cream cheese frosting, or even vanilla. We’ve all been there! Enjoy your cake 🙂
Could you put the icing on right after pouring the gelatin mixture? Then put the cake in the refrigerator overnight and the next morning put the crumble on top?
Can I make the frosting the night before and put it on in the morning?
Can I fold in Cool Whip to softened cream cheese instead of making my own whipped cream?
Hi Ashley, yes you can!
If I use Cool Whip instead, would I use an 8 oz or a 16 oz container?
Hi Sarah, I would use an 8oz container.
I made this for a pool party today and it was such a hot that I felt it needed a review. I let it sit overnight and by the day it was perfect. Everyone said this was so moist and perfect amount of flavor and I’m going to have to make it again. Thank you for an easy and amazing cake
Big hit here. Husband was a little cranky about not eating till the next day but was very happy when he had it for lunch…apparently couldnt wait for dinner. I could only find golden with lemon filling but it still tasted great. Took some for my parents and after lots of mmm ahhhs and yums my mom had me send her the recipe. Shes a amazng baker so thats a big compliment.
Do you pour the gelatin liquid all over the cake and it goes into the holes or do you only pour it into the holes in the cake? Thanks!
Hi Nicole, sorry for the delay. Yes, you pour it all over the cake and it will inevitably seep into the holes.
Ashley Sanders says
I didn’t have any trouble with the frosting. This was delicious and got RAVE reviews at my work potluck! This cake was the first thing to go. Thank you for the recipe!
I’ve made this 3 times now —so great! This most recent time I had a special request to make it vanilla instead of strawberry so I used a Funfetti cake, condensed milk instead of jello on the poke part, and skipped the jello in the crumble mix and kept it to golden Oreos and butter. It all worked like a charm!
Incredibly scrumptious! Thank you for a sweet recipe.
Andrea McConnel says
Hi, going to try tanking this but we live in Australia! Is Strawberry gelatine the same as strawberry jelly crystals? Like the box you use to make jelly? Thanks
Hi Andrea, I believe so but I cannot say for certain.
Gay Leitner says
Do you use all of the jello mixture?
Hi Gay, yes I do!
Had a difficult time with the icing. Mine was lumpy.
Just my experience. . . .if the cream cheese isn’t to room temp and beaten well it will be lumpy and also, for special recipes like this one I use the Philadelphia cream cheese. It does make a difference. I typically buy off bran cream cheese!
Mandy Johnson says
Made this cake several times it’s delicious! My husband asked for this cake for his birthday but asked me to put bananas in it. Here comes strawberry banana crunch cake! Made recipe as is but added a box of prepared but not set yet banana cream pudding on top of cake after pouring strawberry jello on it then a layer of bananas finished off was per recipe. OMG it was amazing everyone LOVED IT! Thank you so much for your recipe we love it.
Yet another fabulous recipe, Hayley – thank you! Perfect as written…turned out exactly like the picture. I did take try pouring sweetened condensed milk over half with the Jello as an experiment. Both delicious, but prefer your original recipe.
Will this work with a homemade white cake also?
Yes it should!
Would I be able to substitute a homemade white cake?
This recipe and cake are a 10 out of 10! I made this for Easter and EVERYONE loved it. It was easy to make. I usually have trouble with frosting and made it with a hand mixer instead of a stand mixer and it turned out perfectly! I think I’ll make it again for 4th of July with some blueberries for garnish.
Also, wish I could post a picture of how it came out because I’m shocked at how much it resembles what it’s supposed to! 🙂
Can you make the icing ahead of time and keep in refrigerator over night?
I really want to try this recipe for a family get together this weekend. Problem is, it is a 2.5 hour drive. Will the cake/gelatin be okay in the car if I ice it when I get there?
Hi Alison, yes it should be fine!
Made this for work, and it was excellent! I did sub extra creamy cool whip for the frosting, but other than that I did everything per the recipe. Highly recommend!
Could this be made in 2 rounds and stacked as layers?
So how long ahead do you think is ok to make this so the topping doesn’t soften too much morning off. . . night before ?
Your tips on whipping the heavy cream with the stand mixer was golden. it turned out perfect! Delicious cake. I used the one posters idea of pouring condensed milk over cake plus the gelatin. I had used condensed milk in the car recipe and had a bit left over so just poured it on the cake not to waste, It was maybe a 1/4 + cup.