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Lemon Burst Poke Cake

This oh-so-simple Lemon Burst Poke Cake recipe is filled with lemon pudding then topped with a creamy homemade lemon cream cheese frosting. It’s light and refreshing flavor makes it the kind of special dessert that will really show the baking love to your family and friends.

Lemon Burst Poke Cake

Easy Lemon Burst Poke Cake Recipe

The bight flavor of lemon is associated with spring and warmer weather. It’s a natural progression of thought with fruits like lemons, limes and oranges being intricate ingredients in many warmer weather sweet and savory foods we love. This poke cake is one I wanted to add to my recipe file not only for the incredible flavor, but the ease of preparation making it accessible to bakers of all skill levels.

Lemon Burst Poke Cake

How to Make the Best Lemon Burst Poke Cake Recipe

This poke cake is one of those cakes that looks far more involved than it actually is to make. You can finish the top as fancy or as simply as you like. Serve it for a holiday or any special occasion when you want a spectacular sweet ending to your meal.

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Lemon Burst Poke Cake: One box golden vanilla cake mix (plus eggs, oil and water to prepare), instant lemon pudding mix, lemon zest, milk, softened cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon juice and grated white chocolate and lemon slices for garnishing the top.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: A stand mixer or hand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, rubber spatula, citrus grater, 13 x 9 inch baking dish, sharp knife and cutting board.
  • What is a Lemon Burst Poke Cake? Bakers of all skill levels can be confident making this cake since it begins with a cake mix. The cake mix batter is infused with fresh lemon zest then immediately after baking, holes are poked all over the surface of the cake. While still warm, it’s filled with lemon pudding. The crowning touch is the icing which is a homemade lemon whipped cream cheese frosting. Poke cakes come in many flavor combinations and this lemon poke cake never disappoints.
  • Can I make this poke cake recipe from scratch? Yes, if you prefer. You can use my recipe for Old Fashioned Butter Cake or White Buttermilk Cake baking it in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
  • Can I use lemon curd in place of lemon pudding? Sure, if you’d like to make your own checkout my recipe for Homemade Lemon Curd here.
  • I recommend that you wait and garnish the top with fresh lemon zest just before serving so it will stay fresh.
  • This lemon poke cake once frosted should be kept chilled in the refrigerator. When stored properly, it will keep for up to 5 days.

Lemon Burst Poke Cake

More Easy Poke Cake Recipes to Make

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Lemon Burst Poke Cake Recipe
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4.91 from 20 votes

Lemon Burst Poke Cake

Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Chill Time4 hours
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon-burst-poke-cake
Servings: 16 pieces
Calories: 428kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 15.25 oz box Golden Vanilla cake mix, plus water oil eggs to prepare (i.e. Betty Crocker)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 3.4 oz box instant lemon pudding
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp lemon zest divided
  • 2 Tbsp grated white chocolate
  • Additional whipped cream and lemon slices for garnishing Optional


  • To make the cake: Prepare the cake mix per the package instructions using the amounts of water, oil and eggs called for. Add 1 Tbsp fresh lemon zest. Bake in a greased 13 x 9 inch cake pan until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean.
  • Once baked, immediately poke holes all over the cake using the back of a wooden spoon or similar. Be generous.
  • To make the pudding: In a medium size mixing bowl using an electric mixer, whip together the pudding mix and milk until thickened but, still pourable.
  • Spread pudding over the cake gently pushing into the holes. Cool to room temperature. (This doesn't take long)
  • To make the frosting: In a medium size mixing bowl using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon extract.
  • Add the heavy cream continuing to beat on medium-high speed until fluffy and fully combined and soft peaks form. Mix in 2 Tbsp lemon zest by hand.
  • Frost the top of the cake, garnishing with the remaining lemon zest and grated white chocolate.
  • Chill for 4 hours or overnight before serving. (May use additional whipped cream and lemon slices to decorate as pictured, if desired.)
  • Store leftovers chilled.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 91mg | Sodium: 329mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 486IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!




  1. 5 stars
    The rating is from everyone served a piece of this delicious cake at the birthday celebration for my husband last night. They loved it! The cake was moist, the lemon pudding added a lucious touch one doesn’t usually get in a cake, and since I didn’t have any white chocolate other than white chocolate chips, I used those sprinkled here and there on the top as a makeshift special effect that was especially loved by all. They loved the crunch as a surprise. Will be making it again. Thanks Melissa!

  2. This sounds delicious. I am considering making this in a bundt pan, decorating the top with a little dusting of powdered sugar and lemon zest, and serving the topping as a side, simply because I like the presentation a bit more. What are your thoughts on the baking in the bundt pan? Thank you very much.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for Memorial Day and everyone asked for the recipe and my husband (the picky eater) requested it for Father’s Day and his birthday in July. It’s that good. Thanks for our new favorite cake.

  4. 5 stars
    OMG, this cake was amazing! I served it for friends, and they loved it. I brought the rest to my daughters’ house and her family all raved about it!

  5. This looks absolutely YUMMY. Love poke cake recipes; they are usually so easy. I have not made this yet, but I have a question. Could you use a lemon cake mix rather than the yellow or would that be just too intense a lemon flavor?

  6. Hi Melissa, I am in the process of making this Lemon Poke Cake. I’ve read the recipe five times lol. I do t see where you actually use the pint of heavy cream.

    1. Hi Susan, step #6 in the recipe: Add the cream to make the frosting. I’ll add the word “heavy” maybe that’s what’s tripping you up!

  7. 5 stars
    This cake is delicious. The only thing I changed is I made homemade lemon pudding.
    I don’t care for instant boxed pudding. The frosting is so so delicious. Love this recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    I will be making this again for my husbands birthday . I made it last year and everyone loved it. THis year it is hard for me to find Golden Vanilla cake mix. What other cake mixes would you recommend. Thank you

  9. 5 stars
    There’s just nothing not to like about this cake. I didn’t (nor would I) change a thing, thanks Melissa!

  10. I made this today for my wife’s birthday I used a 9×13 pan and cut it in half put lemon pudding on bottom layer and then the frosting on top of it then frosting on top and decorated it with yellow roses put 3 slices of lemon on each end with a rose holding them up and her 2 candles in the middle and believe me this cake is awesome and it’s not too sweet just right will make it again oh and I made a triple batch of the frosting so I would have enough. Thank you very much for the recipe””” Heath

    1. What is the reason for chilling it at the end? I’d I chilled the cake to set the pudding, would I still need to chill after frosting?

  11. 5 stars
    We added some Chambord to the cake and the icing to add a little bit of that raspberry flavor and this cake is phenomenal! We had to go a bit slow adding everything for the icing together, whipping the cream cheese first, then alternating liquids with the powdered sugar, but it came out so light and silky that we’ve never had anything like it! We’re already devising ways to change the flavors out because it’s just so good!

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