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Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

This Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake is an easy twist on a classic favorite. White box cake mix, strawberry pie filling, and whipped topping come together to deliver the essence of strawberry shortcake in this simple yet delicious dessert.

Three slices of Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake displayed on the counter

Strawberries and cream is a timeless duo, and this Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake takes that classic combination to a whole new level of simplicity and deliciousness. The genius poke method ensures every bite is bursting with strawberry goodness without the stress of making a multi-layered cake. This cake is my go-to easy recipe for family gatherings, and it makes the perfect summer dessert. I especially love making it with fresh berries during the peak of strawberry season. Trust me, once you try it, you will be making this delicious cake all summer long. 

Close up of a slice of cake with forkful missing and strawberry filling oozing from the cake.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake Recipe

  • White boxed cake mix + ingredients listed on the packaging – Forms the base, creating a simple and light texture for the dessert.
  • Strawberry pie filling – Adds sweet and tart flavors, capturing the saucy strawberry flavor of shortcake. Homemade or store-bought filling works for this cake.
  • Whipped topping – Offers a creamy layer, complementing the cake’s texture with a smooth finish. Whipped toppings such as Cool Whip can be found in the frozen dessert section at the grocery store.  
  • Fresh strawberries – Serve as a decorative element and bring freshness to the cake.
Ingredients displayed on the counter.

Making the Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

  1. Prepare the cake – Follow the package directions to make the white cake in a 9×13-inch pan. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature.
  2. Poke holes – Use the thin end of a wooden spoon handle to poke rows of holes, spaced an inch apart, over the cooled cake.
  3. Add strawberry pie filling – Spread the strawberry pie filling evenly over the surface of the cake. Gently press the filling into the holes using a rubber spatula.
  4. Top with whipped topping – Spread the whipped topping over the cake, ensuring a smooth layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour to set.
  5. Decorate and serve – When ready to serve, arrange sliced strawberries on top of the cake. Slice and enjoy your effortlessly delicious Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake.
Collage showing four steps to make the cake.

Variations and substitutions

Cake Variation – Use a vanilla or yellow cake mix instead of white for the base. Keep in mind that yellow and vanilla cakes offer a denser texture and sturdier base compared to the delicate nature of white cake.

Homemade pie filling – As you know, I am all about quick and easy around here, so I used canned pie filling in my cake. However, you can make your own filling if you prefer. Create your strawberry pie filling by combining 2 cups of fresh strawberries (hulled and sliced), 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Simmer the strawberry mixture over medium heat until it thickens, then let it cool before using it in the recipe. Making your own filling is also a great way to use up extra strawberries you have on hand.

Whipped cream substitution – Replace the whipped topping with three cups of homemade whipped cream for a fresher and homemade touch. Adjust sweetness according to your preference.

Fruit variations – Explore different pie fillings like cherry, blueberry, or mixed berries for a unique twist on a classic shortcake. Top the cake with the corresponding fresh fruit to finish it off. 

Gluten-free option – Opt for a gluten-free cake mix and ensure pie filling and whipped topping are gluten-free for a gluten-free version.

Strawberry shortcake poke cake on the counter surrounded by fresh strawberries.

Tips for success

  • Decorating tip – Avoid decorating the cake with sliced strawberries until just before serving to prevent juice from leaking into the whipped topping.
  • Poking holes caution – Ensure the holes are not too close together, as it may compromise the cake’s structure, causing it to collapse under the weight of the strawberry filling.
  • Refrigeration advantage – While the cake can be served immediately after applying the strawberry filling and whipped topping, refrigerating it for at least an hour helps it firm up and maintains its structure. This is particularly beneficial for the delicate nature of white cake.
  • Make-ahead convenience – This cake is an excellent make-ahead dessert. Keep it refrigerated until ready to serve for optimal freshness and stability.
Slice of Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake with fresh strawberries on a plate.

Storage

Store leftovers wrapped well with plastic wrap or in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake FAQs

Can I just use 1 or 2 full cans of strawberry pie filling?

I have found that using one can of filling doesn’t provide enough for the entire cake, while two cans can be too much, causing the delicate white cake to crumble under the weight. Three cups of filling, equivalent to about 1 ½ 21-ounce cans, is the ideal amount. Alternatively, homemade filling can be used based on personal preference.

Can I use something other than the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake? 

If you don’t have a thin-handled wooden spoon, a thick straw or chopstick can be used as an alternative to poke holes in the cake. I advise against using a fork, as the smaller holes it creates won’t be large enough for the pie filling to sink into effectively.

Slice of strawberry shortcake with bite missing.

Looking for more delicious desserts?

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Did you love this strawberry poke cake recipe? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Slice of strawberry shortcake with bite missing.

Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake

Author: Mandy
Strawberry Shortcake Poke Cake is a simple variation of the classic dessert. White cake is topped with strawberry pie filling, whipped topping and fresh strawberries, delivering a delicious and easy treat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 Slices
Calories

Ingredients
  

  • 1 box of white cake mix + ingredients list on packaging
  • 3 cups strawberry pie filling about 1 ½ (21 ounce cans)
  • 8 ounces whipped topping thawed (1 tub)
  • 2 cups strawberries sliced

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the cake in a 9×13-inch pan according to the package directions. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature.
  • Use a thin wooden spoon handle to poke rows of holes an inch apart over the cake.
  • Spread the pie filling over the surface of the cake using a rubber spatula to gently press the filling into the holes.
  • Spread the whipped topping over the cake and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • When ready to serve, arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the cake, slice, and enjoy.

Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Disclaimer: Nutrition information is estimated based on automated calculations and should be considered as an approximation. These estimates are provided as a courtesy. Please use your own brand’s nutritional values to verify accuracy.

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