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Layered Holiday Poke Cake

This simple, but delicious cake is begins with a storebought cake mix. The addition of flavored fruit gelatin makes the cake moist and adds interesting flavor. The frosting, made from a combination of vanilla instant pudding and whipped topping is light and fluffy. This cake can be decorated, but we opted to stick some seasonal marshmallow peeps on ours as a simple way to make a festive holiday cake. Total cost for this recipe is $5.00 or about $0.50 per serving.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Chilling Time 4 hrs
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 10
Calories 474 kcal


  • 1 (15.25 oz) box white cake mix plus ingredients to make the cake per package instructions ($1.74)
  • 2 (4 serving size) boxes gelatin (I used cherry and lime for this cake) ($1.16)
  • 2 (4 serving box) vanilla instant pudding ($0.98)
  • 2 cups milk ($0.14)
  • 1 (8 ounce) carton frozen whipped topping ($0.98)


To Prepare the Cake

  • Bake cake according to package directions.
  • Allow cake to cool in pan.
  • Using a fork, or the handle of a wooden spoon, punch holes into the top of the cooled cake. The smaller the size of the holes, the closer you need to place them in order for the gelatin to soak into the cake. Take care not to pierce through to the bottom of the cake. You only want to pierce about 3/4 of the thickness of the cake.
  • Mix each package of gelatin with one cup boiling water in separate bowls.
  • Stir gelatin mixture for two to three minutes until it's completely dissolved in the water.
  • Pour the gelatin mixture over each cake--one color on each cake, distributing it evenly over the surface of the cake.
  • Cover pans and allow to chill in the referator for 3 hours.

For the frosting

  • Mix both packages of instant vanilla pudding mix with two cups milk until thickened.
  • Fold in coolwhip until well combined.

To assemble the cake

  • Arrange strips of wax or parchment paper around the edges of cake serving plate.
  • Place on layer of the cake onto the plate with strips of paper just under the edge..
  • Cover the top of the layer with frosting.
  • Place second layer of cake on top of the first. Taking care to center it.
  • Apply frosting to the top and sides of the cake.
  • Decorate as desired (optional)
  • Remove strips of parchment paper from around cake.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for one hour before serving to allow pudding to set up.
Keyword cake, cool whip, gelatin, instant vanilla pudding, poke cake