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. 

slice of jello poke cake on white plate with a fork

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.

halloween poke cake on a white plate in front of platter of cake slices

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


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.

overhead shot of cake mix ingredients

How to make it

  1. STEP ONE: Preheat the oven and spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray. Set aside.
  2. 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.
  3. STEP THREE: Poke holes all over the cake with a straw or a wooden spoon handle.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
poke cake collage of process shots

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.

slice of orange poke cake with pumpkin on top

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.

orange poke cake with sprinkles & text overlay

Connect with Persnickety Plates!

Follow along on my social media so you never miss a post!

I made a fun group on Facebook for sharing recipes, asking questions, and talking about food. I’d love to have you! Request to join HERE.

Also, sign up to receive an email in your inbox for each new recipe:


If you MAKE & LOVE this recipe, share it on Instagram and tag me @melissa_pplates and/or #persnicketyplates so I can see it. I LOVE seeing what you make & I’ll share it in my stories!

It is VERY HELPFUL to me and other readers if you leave a review after you make my recipe. Please come back & let me know how it turned out!

slice of jello poke cake on white plate with a fork
5 from 1 vote

Halloween Poke Cake

Servings: 15 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cool Time 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
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. 


  • 15.25 ounce white or yellow cake mix + ingredients called for on box
  • 3 ounce orange Jell-O
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip or homemade whip cream
  • Red and yellow food coloring
  • Sprinkles and candy corn to garnish


  • Preheat oven to 350° F and spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  • Prepare cake mix per the box instructions, pour in the baking dish, and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Once done, remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Once cool, poke holes all over cake with a wooden spoon handle.
  • To a small bowl, combine Jello-O packet and 1 cup of boiling water and mix until dissolved. Add 1/2 cup of cold water and stir.
  • Pour Jello-O mixture over entire cake to fill all the holes.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 3+ hours.
  • To a bowl, add the Cool Whip and 5 drops of yellow food coloring and 1 drop of red. Mix together then spread over the entire cake.
  • Top with your favorite Halloween or fall sprinkles and/or candy pumpkins.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days


Serving: 1g | Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 39mg | Potassium: 16mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 26IU | Calcium: 16mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me on Instagram @melissa_pplates so I can see!

Originally published August 15, 2020

5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.