Colorful Easter poke cake is a show-stopping dessert that is so simple to make and the perfect treat for your next Easter party. We color the batter with drops of food coloring and decorate the top with pastel sprinkles and eggs. The poked holes are filled with creamy pudding the box cake mix is moist and tender.
Even though Easter dinner is one we look forward to, I love seeing what stacks up on the dessert table. I always try to make something fun and festive, especially for the kids. Last year we made an Easter trifle with edible grass that looked totally realistic. This year I went with an easy dessert, but it turned out so cute!
We love any dessert that is bright and light this time of year. You can never go wrong with lemon bread, lemon layer cake, or pineapple pound cake. This party punch also looks delightful and can be made with or without alcohol. If you like jello poke cake recipes, be sure to try strawberry crunch poke cake.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- boxed cake mix – we chose a white cake mix
- eggs – egg whites can also be used, see the variations section.
- oil – we used vegetable oil.
- milk – any variety will work.
- gel-based food coloring – we used pink, purple, and blue. The gel works better without adding more liquid to the cake and also takes less coloring to get the best results.
- vanilla instant pudding mix – makes the cake more tender and moist.
- whipped topping – this is for the Cool Whip frosting.
- Sprinkles or Easter candy for decorating
Pastel sprinkles, Easter candy
- Stand or electric mixer – with a whisk attachment
- Something to poke holes – we recommend using the handle of a wooden spoon or a large straw.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Homemade cake – if you would rather not use a box mix, go with this white cupcake cake recipe instead.
- Egg whites – You can use 3 egg whites instead of the yolks to keep the batter from turning a little yellow.
- Homemade whipped cream – Cool Whip keeps the Easter cake simple, but you can make whipped cream from scratch by combining a cup of heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
- Frosting – a cream cheese buttercream frosting would also taste delicious.
- Decorating – you can also use Cadbury eggs for decoration and to add a little chocolate flavor.
- Try our red, white, and blue marble cake with this same pudding poke cake technique for a patriotic theme.
PREP: Grease a 9×13 cake pan with non-stick spray and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, eggs, oil, and a cup of milk.
Step 2: Divide the batter into three bowls in equal portions. Add a drop or two of food coloring to each. Use more if needed to get the desired color.
Step 3: Drop large scoops throughout the baking pan rotating the colors. Use a knife to swirl them slightly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs.
Step 4: Once the cake has cooled most of the way, poke holes all over using the end of a wooden spoon or a wooden dowel. Go ⅔ of the way down and space them an inch apart.
Pro Tip: Do not poke the holes all the way to the bottom or else the pudding will leak out.
Step 5: In a large bowl, whisk the milk and pudding together for 1-2 minutes until it thickens.
Step 6: Pour the pudding over the top of the holes and spread evenly while pushing down slightly.
Step 7: Cool the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes so the pudding thickens a little bit.
Step 8: Spread the whipped topping on top of the cake.
Step 9: Smooth it out so it’s an even layer. An offset spatula works great for this.
GARNISH: Decorate with your favorite Easter sprinkles and candy.
- The egg yolks will tint the cake slightly. For a truly white cake, use egg whites only. It will still taste the same.
- A large cookie or ice cream scoop makes adding the batter to the pan super easy.
- Do not over-swirl the batter or else it will look “muddy”.
- The vanilla pudding has a nice pale yellow color that goes great with the pastel theme. If you use yellow for one of your food colorings, go with a white chocolate pudding instead.
Every year $1.9 million is spent on Easter candy in the United States and 70% of that is chocolate!
Cover the cake and refrigerate it for up to 5 days. To make it ahead of time, bake the cake and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then follow the remaining instructions for the filling and decorations.
We recommend not leaving it out for long periods of time. Cool whip and pudding at room temperature become unstable.
If you love poke cakes, we have some other favorites on the site. Better than Sex cake is doused with brown sugar caramel sauce and sweetened condensed milk, while our Strawberry Crunch poke cake is a spring favorite with its strawberry tres leches soak.
Easter Poke Cake
- 1 – package white cake mix
- 3 large eggs or egg whites, see note
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups milk divided
- Three or four tubes of gel based food coloring we used pink, purple, and blue
- 3.4 oz. box vanilla instant pudding mix
- 8 oz. container of Cool Whip or frozen whipped topping thawed
- Sprinkles or Easter candy for decorating
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 glass baking dish with nonstick baking spray and set aside.
- Beat together cake mix, eggs (or just egg whites if using), oil, and 1 cup of milk until fully combined.
- Divide the cake batter evenly into three bowls.
- Tint each bowl of cake batter, adding just a drop or two of food coloring at a time and then adding more to control the color of the cake batter.
- Drop large spoonfuls of the cake batter throughout the prepared baking dish, rotating the colors. Use a knife to swirl the colors slightly – do not over swirl or the colors will become muddy and mixed.
- Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is set and a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs when poked in the center of the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool.
- When the cake has cooled most of the way, use the round handle of a spoon or a wooden dowel to poke holes all over the cake. Poke the holes about ⅔ of the way down into the cake, spacing ¾”-1: apart.
- Prepare the pudding mixture. Whisk together the instant pudding mix with the remaining 2 cups of milk. Whisk for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is fully combined and just beginning to thicken.
- Pour the pudding mixture over the cake and spread over the top, pressing the pudding down slightly while spreading so that it fills the holes.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to allow the pudding to thicken.
- Top the cake with Cool Whip and decorate with sprinkles or however you wish.