How to Make Strawberry Jell-O Cake With Fresh Strawberries

Updated on February 20, 2020
Heather Says profile image

Heather Rode enjoys photography, baking, antiques, and hair care.

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Strawberries
Strawberry Cake with Fresh Strawberries | Source

Gelatin Poke Cake

Depending where you're from or where you grew up, you might call this easy dessert recipe "poke cake" or "Jell-O cake." Whatever you call it, it's always delicious. My mom taught me how to make Jell-O cakes, and I make them all year long. They taste incredible on a hot Arizona summer day. You can experiment with different flavors and combinations and really have fun with this idea. If it looks like it's hard or takes too long—it doesn't. If you can follow a standard box cake recipe and boil water, then you'll do just fine.

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What Kind of Cake Should I Bake Today?

The cake pictures in the majority of this tutorial are a yellow Betty Crocker cake that I made. I like the contrast of color between a white cake mix and a dark gelatin. The cake on the right is a more recent dessert I made with a strawberry Pillsbury cake. The steps are exactly the same. See the bottom of page for info on making this dessert as cupcakes and for more pictures of the triple strawberry cake.

Cakes with Fresh Strawberries
Cakes with Fresh Strawberries | Source


  • 1 cake mix
  • 2 small pkgs Jell-O gelatin mix, (or 1 large)
  • 1- 8oz container cool whip
  • fresh strawberries, (optional)

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 hours 15 min
Cook time: 30 min
Ready in: 2 hours 45 min
Yields: approximately 12 servings
Recipes Using Jello
Recipes Using Jello | Source

Poke Holes

Cake Recipes Using Yellow Cake Mix
Cake Recipes Using Yellow Cake Mix | Source

Prepare Jello

Gelatin Cakes
Gelatin Cakes | Source

Pour Into Holes

Gelatin Poke Cake
Gelatin Poke Cake | Source


Strawberry Cake with Gelatin
Strawberry Cake with Gelatin | Source


Strawberry Gelatin Cake
Strawberry Gelatin Cake | Source


  1. Prepare and bake your cake mix according to the packaging. I usually use a white or yellow cake mix. See bottom of page for strawberry cake mix version. I like to bake my cake in a clear Pyrex cake pan because I enjoy seeing this cake from every angle.
  2. Once cake is 100% cool, use the handle/tip of a wooden cooking spoon to "drill" holes into your cake. Pierce cake, holding the spoon end and spin 360 degrees. Gently pull spoon out and repeat this step until your cake is full of holes. TIP: Don't try this step unless your cake is cool. Doing this to a warm cake will make mush out of it. Also, make sure your holes aren't too close together as this will also ruin the structural integrity of your cake. If your spoon is becoming clumped with cake residue, your cake is still to warm for this step.
  3. Prepare your Jell-O mix using the powder and only half of the water needed as described on the box. For example, if the Jell-O calls for one cup of hot water and one cup cold, just use the hot water (it helps dissolve your powder). The larger boxes of Jello call for 2 cups hot and 2 cups cold. I used a large box for this cake and used 2 cups hot water. Stir with fork until mix is completely dissolved. I like to prepare mine in a large pyrex measuring cup to make the next step easier.
  4. Pour your colorful Jello-liquid into the cake holes. I like to pour a little in each hole, to ensure coverage and if I have any left over, I repeat this step.
  5. Return your cake to the fridge to chill. Allow at least 2 hours. Eating it too early will result in a soggy mess. The cake needs time to absorb the liquid Jell-o and the Jell-o needs time to cool off and gel.
  6. Frost your cake with cool whip or freshly whipped cream. Evenly frost your cake, taking care to cover any holes from previous steps.
  7. Decorate with fresh strawberries and serve immediately or return to frig to keep cold. Keep refrigerated and cover leftovers to prevent drying out.
Cold Cake Dessert
Cold Cake Dessert | Source
Easy Cake Recipe
Easy Cake Recipe | Source

Helpful Tips and Ideas

Can I frost my Jell-O Cake a Little Early?

  • For best results, you should let your cake fully chill. Even though you allowed your cake to cool between baking and poking, you also poured hot liquid into it right after. It needs to be cold and it will take a little while to get there. I've frosted a Jell-O cake or two before her time and it was not pretty. Your cool whip or freshly whipped cream topping will melt and get watery if your cake is not ready. Don't mess up all your hard work.

Holiday Inspiration

  • For holidays, I like to do two colors (so two small boxes of Jell-o instead of a large one). For Christmas, I have done strawberry (red) and lime (green). A 4th of July Jell-O cake uses a white cake mix with a red gelatin of your choice and blue berry-flavored Jell-O.

Multiple Colors

  • If doing two colors, prepare the warm Jell-O liquid separately each time. Pour one color into your cake holes, alternating every other hole. Repeat this step with your second color (flavor) filling the empty holes you skipped in the previous step. If you wish, you can poor both Jell-os into the same holes. The colors won't be as muddled as if you mixed them together prior to pouring. Avoid mixing colors if they don't compliment one another or if one color will significantly "take over" the other color.


  • You can prepare this dessert as cupcakes too. Bake cupcakes in foil-lined cupcake papers (because they're stronger and they stop colors from bleeding through). Keep baked cupcakes in muffin pan for easy transportation purposes. When cooled, use the wooden spoon technique to "drill" a hole in the center of each cupcake and gently fill with some Jell-O liquid. Make sure to put a little liquid in each cupcake at first and then refill with seconds if needed. Refrigerate cupcakes for at least two hours before frosting and serving. Cupcakes will be spongy. Serve cold and keep refrigerated.

Triple Strawberry Cupcakes


Tips for Frosting Cupcakes

For picture-perfect-cool-whip-frosted cupcakes make sure your cupcakes and whip are very cold.

  1. Stir cool whip in container to get rid of any clues that it's been sitting in a tub.
  2. Spoon into cake decorating/pastry bag or large Ziploc bag with a corner snipped off.
  3. Decorate in a counter-clockwise circular motion starting in the middle to build up height and working outwards.
  4. Top with freshly washed and dried strawberries.

Strawberry Cake Recipe Using Strawberry Cake Mix
Strawberry Cake Recipe Using Strawberry Cake Mix | Source

Tips for a Beautiful Triple Strawberry Cake

While most of my Jell-o cakes are rectangular and baked in Pyrex, I wanted to try something extra fancy with this cake. It's possible, but there are a few important tricks.

  • Bake this strawberry cake in a spring form pan. Once the Strawberry Jell-O sets, it likes to gently stick to the bottom of your dish like a suction cup. Forget trying to pry it out of a standard baking pan without doing some serious damage to this cake.
  • Line the outside of your cake dish with strips of wax paper to keep your stand looking pretty. Gently pull them out and toss them when you're finished frosting.
  • Stir whip in container before frosting. Dump most if not all of your frosting on top/middle of cake in a giant dollop and spread. This stops little cake crumbs from coming loose and traveling as you frost which makes your cake look crumby and messy.
  • I like the rustic look I achieved with this cake by using whole strawberries with the leaves on. Make sure you wash and dry your berries thoroughly.
  • Keep leftovers covered (or they'll dry out) and refrigerated (or your whip will melt).

Fancy Boxed Cakes Dessert Recipes
Fancy Boxed Cakes Dessert Recipes | Source

Heather Says: This is hands-down my favorite summertime desert. It tastes best once it's had a nice, long chill in the frig. Experiment with your own color and flavor combinations. Next time you want to make an amazing dessert but lack the prep time or fancy ingredients, make this Jell-O cake. Remember that the bulk of the time necessary for this cake is spent in the oven and frig, so you can prepare it in between cooking a meal or do it over the course of a day in between errands. You can't ruin it and it practically makes itself. If you're crunched for time, bake the cake the night before. Enjoy!


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    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 weeks ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      The presentation photo on this dessert is amazing. Makes me want to bake today. I have everything I need except the Cool Whip. I'll try using fresh whipped cream.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      20 months ago from Dubai

      Love this recipe, the cakes look amazing and must be delicious, thank you for sharing.

    • Kimberleyclarke profile image

      Kimberley Clarke 

      4 years ago from England

      Yum. This looks delish. And, we get veggie gelatin here in the UK so I reckon I can give this a go! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      4 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Heather, this looks delicious! I love strawberries!

    • facetube profile image


      5 years ago

      That goodies are unbelievable. Fresh strawberries in cake are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Hazelton 

      6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      This cake looks absolutely delicious. I will definitely have to try it. Up and awesome.

    • choosetolive profile image

      Ravi and Swastha 

      6 years ago from London, Canada

      Very nice recipe. Well explained. Good pictures. I have tweeted & pinned it. Voted up, marked it as Interesting & useful hub.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      6 years ago from Planet Earth

      Fantastic and beautiful hub, wonderful photos, and really helpful information. I'm ready to make this cake! Congrats on your HOTD; so deserving!

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 

      6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Wow! Congratulations on HOTD. Well worth it. I think your beautiful photos alone deserve to win. Great recipe too!

    • Sassy Diva profile image

      Madalyn Maria Myers 

      6 years ago from Forestville M.D.

      I love strawberry shortcake but I feel that I want to make this recipe. It looks good.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      6 years ago from Tennesee

      I've never heard of this cake before, but mmmm! Gotta try making it!

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Marshall 

      6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      This hub was stolen today! I just noticed it on this site when I got a report from someone that one of my hubs was stolen! :(

    • StephanieBCrosby profile image

      Stephanie Bradberry 

      6 years ago from New Jersey

      Wow, this takes me back. I have not had Jello-O cake in so long. I remember when I used to request this as my birthday cake.

      Excellent hub. And congratulations on your Hub of the Day!!!

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      I made your strawberry Jell-o cake recipe this past weekend and it was yum-yum delicious! Thanks so much for sharing!!

    • kerlund74 profile image


      6 years ago from Sweden

      Amazing, this sounds so delicious! And the cakes are so beautiful:) Voted up, useful.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      6 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      These pictures really make me hungry. I love the combination of easy to make cake mix with the added Jello. I've wanted to try this recipe for a long time. People used to bring this dessert to social events and church dinners.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      just had some jello cake a couple of weeks ago for the first time. But it didn't look as good as this one.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie Marie 

      6 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This looks delicious. My mother bakes a holiday cake, too. She uses raspberry Jello for one layer and lime Jello for the other layer. One time, she did not bring the recipe with her and decided to try it at my apartment anyway. It was a soggy mess! We still ate it though. :-)

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Kitty Fields 

      6 years ago from Summerland

      Super good! You just got another follower. :)

    • prestonandkate profile image

      Preston and Kate 

      6 years ago from the Midwest

      You put out such beautiful and well written hubs, Heather. Gorgeous cake! Congratulations on Hub of the Day!

    • profile image

      ac deluxe 

      6 years ago

      I don't even like things like this but I definitely would love to taste this because it looks so good !

    • lmoyer92 profile image

      Leon Moyer 

      6 years ago

      I'm so hungry now.. Everything on here looks so delicious, but I'm horrible at cooking, baking, and anything else that involves the creation of some sort of food :P

    • Bercton profile image


      6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great cake recipe and brilliant hub!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      I love jello but have never had this cake before. I may try it. :)

    • zzephyr profile image


      6 years ago

      That beautiful cake prompt me to leave a comment here. Really awesome!

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      What a GORGEOUS hub. I haven't made a jello/poke cake in a long time, and you certainly renewed my interest with this beautiful hub. The creative formatting and use of excellent photos is a model for us all. Pinning this!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      This is so tempting and the colors look gorgeous!

      Nice pictures and beautifully done hub!

      Congrats for HOTD!

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Dan Reed 

      6 years ago

      Okay so I haven't had breakfast yet and this is all I want to eat now. Just seeing the picture of this highly delectable treat from heaven told me you deserved HOTD but your Hub is very well done too so...congrats on HOTD and thank you for this dessert that will soon be sitting on my counter top.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      I know it tastes as good as it looks, too! Thanks! And congratulations on HOTD!

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Gorgeous. I've made Poke Cake before, but never had one turn out that beautiful. Now I will have to try again. And I'm not easily inspired to try making desserts! Great hub, lovely photos! Congrats on HOTD!

    • SEEMA AQUA profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh my GOD.


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh my word! That looks sooooooo good! Thanks for sharing The pictures are vibrant! I love strawberries! Voted up Beautiful!

    • trusouldj profile image

      LaZeric Freeman 

      6 years ago from Hammond

      oh my gosh ... this looks totally sinful

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, what a beautiful cake! The cupcakes look amazing, too. I have yet to make a Jell-O poke cake but I think this will be the one I try. Looks fantastic!! (^_~)

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 

      6 years ago from Mumbai

      Thanks for sharing the recipe. I would not be able to make the cake as perfect as yours, but will surely try soon.

    • My Cook Book profile image

      Dil Vil 

      6 years ago from India

      Pics are simply delicious, Yummy Hub!

    • Hendrika profile image


      6 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      Thank you for these very good ideas. It is winter now here in South Africa and a cold cake will not be too nice, but come summer I am going to try your ideas, especially make a colourful Christmas cake as Christmas here is hot, hot, hot.

    • profile image

      Gail Law 

      6 years ago

      I have been making poke cakes with sugar free cake mixes, sugar free jello, and sugar free cool whip. I also add fruit for garnish that tends to be lower in carbs.

    • LeslieOutlaw profile image


      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Looks great. I loved all the photos of different ways to make this dish. I can't decide if I want to do cupcakes or a round cake. Yummy! Voted Up!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Wow! I would like to have a piece of this now. I´m sure it´s yummy. I can imagine how your hubby waited with a pork in his hand to dig in. LOL! Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful. Have a nice weekend!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      7 years ago from United States

      Wow Heather! That cakes looks so cute and pretty! And it's gonna be delicious too. Thanks for sharing your recipe! :)

    • Paul Edmondson profile image

      Paul Edmondson 

      7 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      This is an awesome Hub. When I dream about HubPages, this is what I want it to be. Thanks for the awesome contribution.

    • Vacation Trip profile image


      7 years ago from India

      Wow. This cake looks awesome. Thank you for sharing.

    • unknown spy profile image

      Life Under Construction 

      8 years ago from Neverland

      Really a WOW! outstanding recipe!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      8 years ago from Dubai

      This is sinfully tasty. Great recipe. The photos look so delicoius!!! Voted up.

    • profile image

      Hugo Katich 

      8 years ago

      Great hub!clear pictures and good layout, as well as a good recipe. Well done!

    • Heather Says profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Lavelle 

      8 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Thanks, everyone :)

    • Emeraldgreen21 profile image

      Atell Rohlandt 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      This is the first time I've seen something like this and it looks absolutely devine! YUM. I am SO going to try this sometime soon.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 

      8 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      You did an excellent job on this hub Heathersays! Thumbs up.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      8 years ago from North Central Florida

      Yum. I haven't had a jello cake in ages. And I have never had one topped with these delicious looking berries. I will have to give this a try. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Heather Says profile imageAUTHOR

      Heather Lavelle 

      8 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      Thanks kelleyward. My husband is so impatient when I'm taking pictures of food I make because it means he has to wait until I'm done before he can eat anything. Thanks for reading :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful Heathersays! This looks so yummy, pretty, and easy to make. I love the pictures you provided. Voted up, useful, and beautiful!


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