This fall-themed Halloween Poke Cake is all treat and no tricks! Whip up a cake mix with orange Jell-O and whipped topping to make this delicious and easy cake that is perfect for any autumn gathering.
Autumn Poke Cake
This cake might look a little fancy, but in under an hour, you’ll be taking this fun, out of the box (pun intended) cake out of the oven. It really is very easy!
If you’ve never had any type of poke cake you’re in for something delicious! What it is, is exactly as it sounds. Holes are poked within the cake once it’s baked to allow for whatever type of syrup or liquid, in this cake jello, to soak right into the cake.
There are so many variations to this type of dessert – cannoli poke cake, pistachio cake, better than sex cake, or hot chocolate poke cake are all fun options.
If you are planning to throw or attend a bash on October 31st (will those be a thing this year? TBD), this recipe is the perfect addition to any menu, especially after some spaghetti & meatball eyeballs. It is a quick and easy make-ahead cake that you can tailor the decorations to however you’d like.
Equipment you’ll need
- Mixing Bowls – The grippy bottoms are my favorite.
- Hand Mixer – I use my hand mixer way more than my stand mixer.
- 9 x 13 Baking Pan – I love that this one has a lid for storage.
- Offset Spatula – To easily frost the cake.
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Cake Mix – white or yellow will work – plus the ingredients called for on the box
- Orange Jell-O + water
- Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)
- Food Coloring – I highly recommend the Wilton Food Coloring Kit because it makes it really easy to customize whatever color you’re after
- Sprinkles and candy pumpkins to garnish
How to make it
- STEP ONE: Preheat the oven and spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray. Set aside.
- STEP TWO: Beat the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water in a bowl until smooth. Pour it into the baking dish and bake. Cool once out of the oven.
- STEP THREE: Poke holes all over the cake with a straw or a wooden spoon handle.
- STEP FOUR: Combine Jell-O and boiling water and mix until dissolved. Add a bit of cold water and stir. Pour the mixture over the entire cake to fill the holes. Cover and refrigerate until set.
- STEP FIVE: Mix Cool Whip with 5 drops of yellow food coloring and 1 drop of red to create the beautiful orange color. Spread it over the top of the cake and garnish with your favorite Halloween/fall sprinkles and/or candy pumpkins.
What do you use to poke holes in the cake
You want the holes in your cake big enough for the flavor of the liquid to soak into the entire cake, but not too big – you don’t want gaping holes.
I have found that the end of a drinker stirrer, but if you do not have one, try a wooden spoon, straw, or even a fork. If you use a fork, you’ll want to poke even more holes as they will be smaller, to get the same effect.
How to thaw Cool Whip
Place unopened 8-oz. tub of whipped topping in refrigerator for 4 hours. Do not thaw in the microwave, as it’s in a plastic container among other reasons. If you thaw it at room temperature, it gets really wet and separates.
What if I don’t like Cool whip?
Cool whipped topping, while very convenient, is not your only option. If you prefer homemade whipped cream, it’s easy to make.
You can also serve and eat this cake with no topping at all. The cake and the jello give it a flavor all on its own.
How to store it
Poke cake will last in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be frozen in an airtight container for up to a month. No need to reheat anything when it comes time to eat it again, but thaw it in the fridge before consuming.
If you want to switch up the flavor and colors, you could pick lemon (yellow) jello or strawberry (red) jello and still keep with the fall theme.
If you want to spook up the Halloween theme, you can opt for lime (green) or grape (purple) and top with Halloween sprinkles.
More Halloween desserts
Halloween Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Halloween Chocolate Tunnel Cake
Brownie Bottom Halloween Cupcakes
Peanut Butter Skull Cookies
Black Cat Pudding Cups
More cake recipes
Honey Bun Cake
Mexican Wedding Cake
Pumpkin Chocolate Marble Cake
Click here for a complete list of cake recipes.
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Originally published August 15, 2020
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