This Christmas poke cake is a delicious cranberry cake made with white cake mix and cranberry jello mix. It's a yummy combination of sweet and tart and perfect for the holidays.
This delicious Christmas Poke Cake is not just a fun Christmas dessert, it's a delightful experience that brings a burst of joy to any gathering.
It's made with white cake mix and cranberry flavored jello. Although you could easily substitute it with your favorite holiday jello flavors.
This easy-to-make cake, with its vibrant cranberry flavor and soft, creamy texture, is perfect for both novice bakers and seasoned pros. You'll be amazed at how simple it is to create something so delicious!
Poke cakes are tons of fun because the transform an ordinary cake into a tasty surprising treat so easily.
This Christmas jello Poke Cake is a fantastic choice for various occasions, especially during the holiday season. Its festive colors and flavors make it a hit at Christmas parties, Thanksgiving dinners, and even casual family get-togethers.
This easy poke cake is similar to our 4th of July poke cupcakes where we used a combination of red and blue jello.
What You'll Love About This Recipe
- Easy to Make: With straightforward steps, it's a fun baking project for all ages.
- Perfect for Holidays: Its vibrant colors and flavors fit right in with festive decor.
- Deliciously Balanced: The tartness of cranberries perfectly complements the sweet, creamy frosting.
- Versatile: Great for any gathering or a cozy family dessert.
White Cake Mix: A convenient and reliable base for your cake, ensuring it's light and fluffy every time.
Eggs: They act like glue, holding the cake together and adding richness.
Vegetable Oil: This keeps your cake moist for days. You could use melted butter, but the cake with be harder when refrigerated, which is neccessary in this recipe.
Milk & Water: They thin out the batter, making it the right consistency for a soft cake.
Cranberry Jello: This is where the magic happens! It gives your cake a vibrant color and tangy cranberry flavor.
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce: Adds real cranberry bits for an extra burst of flavor.
Cool Whip: For a light and airy frosting that's easy to spread.
For quantities see recipe card.
- Deep 9x13 Cake Pan: Perfect for baking and serving this delicious cake.
- Mixer (Hand or Stand): For a smooth, lump-free batter.
- Nonstick Cooking Spray: To ensure your cake comes out perfectly.
Oven Preparation: First, heat your oven to 325°F. This gentle temperature is key for baking the cake evenly. Then, take a deep 9x13 inch cake pan and spray it well with nonstick cooking spray. This step prevents the cake from sticking and makes it easier to remove after baking.
Mixing the Cake Batter: In a large bowl, add the two boxed cake mixes, eggs, oil, milk, and a cup of cold water. Grab a hand mixer or stand mixer and beat everything together until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Don't worry if the batter seems a bit thin – that's exactly how it should be for this recipe.
Baking the Cake: Now, pour your batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake it in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. To check if the cake is done, insert a toothpick into the center.
If it comes out clean, without any wet batter, your cake is ready. After taking it out of the oven, let it cool for about 20 minutes. This cooling time is important for the next steps.
Poking the Cake: Once cooled, take a wooden spoon handle, or something similar, and start poking holes in the cake. Aim for a hole every inch.
Be careful not to push the spoon all the way through; about halfway down is perfect. These holes will let the jello seep into the cake, adding flavor and moisture.
Preparing the Jello: In a medium bowl, mix the cranberry jello with boiling water. Stir until the jello is completely dissolved. Pour the jello into a container that's easy to pour from, like a glass measuring cup.
Adding the Jello: Slowly pour the dissolved jello over the top of the cake, focusing on filling the holes first, then covering the rest of the cake. This step is crucial for infusing the cake with that delicious cranberry flavor.
Chilling the Cake: Once the jello is added, cover the cake with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Let it chill for at least 4 hours, or until the jello sets. This chilling time helps the jello firm up and gives the cake its unique texture.
Making the Frosting: Take the cranberry sauce and put it in another medium mixing bowl. Use a fork or a similar utensil to break the sauce down until it's smooth, with no large chunks left. This will give your frosting a nice, even texture.
Combining Frosting Ingredients: Now, add the Cool Whip to your cranberry sauce. Gently fold them together until they're fully combined. This step creates a light, fluffy frosting with a delightful cranberry flavor.
Frosting and Serving: Spread the cranberry and Cool Whip mixture evenly over the top of your chilled cake. Once frosted, the cake is ready to be sliced, served, and enjoyed!
The key to a great poke cake lies in the jello infusion. When poking holes in the cake, make them big enough for the jello to seep into but not so large that the cake loses its structure. A good rule of thumb is to poke holes that are about the width of a wooden spoon handle. When pouring the jello, do it slowly and methodically, ensuring each hole gets filled and the top of the cake is evenly covered. This meticulous approach guarantees that every bite is moist and flavorful with that delightful cranberry essence.
- Light Oil or Applesauce: Substitute vegetable oil with a lighter oil like canola or even applesauce for a healthier twist.
- Different Jello Flavors: Swap cranberry jello with raspberry or cherry jello for a different berry flavor.
- Berry Sauces: Experiment with raspberry or blackberry sauce as an alternative to cranberry sauce in the frosting.
Looking to make some tweaks to our holiday cake?
- Lemon-Lime Twist: Replace cranberry jello with lemon or lime jello for a zesty, citrus-infused cake.
- Chocolate-Cranberry Combo: Use one chocolate boxed cake mix and one white cake mix for a rich chocolatey twist.
- Fruit Medley Poke Cake: Use a mix of different flavored jellos, like strawberry and blueberry, for a fruit medley effect.
- Coconut Cranberry Cake: Add shredded coconut to the batter and sprinkle some on top of the frosting for a tropical touch.
Refrigerator: Store any leftover cake in a covered container. It keeps well for up to 5 days, making it great for advance preparation.
Freezer-Friendly: You can freeze the cake without frosting for up to 3 months. Frost it after thawing for a fresh taste.
Reheating: This poke cake is best enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
This holiday cranberry poke cake is a perfect blend of tart cranberries and sweet, creamy cake in every bite. Perfect for a festive holiday dessert.
- 2 White Cake Mixes (15.25 ounces each)
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Cup Cold Water + 1 Cup Boiling Water
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Box Cranberry Jello (3 ounces)
- 1 Can Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce (15 ounces)
- 1 Tub Cool Whip (8 ounces)
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a deep 9x13 cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the two cake mixes, eggs, oil, milk, and 1 cup of cold water. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat until no lumps appear. It will seem thin, but this is what you want.
- Pour into your prepared cake pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake (deeper than just the top bit of cake) comes out clean. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
- With the handle of a wooden spoon, or with a similarly shaped object, poke holes in the cake. There should be a hole about every inch and be careful to not go all the way through the cake. Just go a little over halfway through with the holes.
- Pour jello mix in a medium mixing bowl and add in boiling water. Stir until jello is dissolved. Place jello in a pourable container.
- Slowly pour jello over the top of the cake, first covering the holes and then any surface of the cake left after that.
- Place cake in fridge, covered with plastic wrap, for 4 hours or until the jello is set.
- To prepare the frosting, place cranberry sauce in a medium mixing bowl and use a fork or other utensil to break it up until no large chunks remain and it resembles a homemade style cranberry sauce.
- Add cool whip to the bowl with the cranberry sauce and fold it together until fully combined.
- Frost the top of the cake with the mixture. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
If you don’t want to use cranberry sauce for the frosting, you can skip it, or use a pack of cranberry jello mixed into it.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 90mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 5g
We hope you enjoy making this easy Christmas cake as much as we do. It's a fun festive dessert you're family and guests will love.
Absolutely! You can bake the cake a day in advance. Just keep it refrigerated after adding the jello. Frost it on the day you plan to serve for the freshest taste. This makes it a convenient option for busy schedules or preparing for events.
Yes, you can. While white cake mix is standard, feel free to experiment with other flavors like yellow, vanilla, or even chocolate. Each type of cake mix will add its unique twist to the final taste of your Cranberry Poke Cake.
No problem! You can use homemade whipped cream as a substitute. Just whip heavy cream with a bit of sugar until it forms peaks. Keep in mind that homemade whipped cream may not be as stable as Cool Whip, so it's best used immediately.
Yes, you can freeze the cake. However, it's best to do so before adding the frosting. Wrap the baked and jello-infused cake tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. When you're ready to serve, thaw it in the refrigerator, add the frosting, and enjoy!
Fresh cranberries can be used, but you'll need to cook them down into a sauce first. Simmer the cranberries with a bit of sugar and water until they burst and the sauce thickens. Let it cool before using it in the recipe. This will give a fresher, tangier taste to your cake.