The best poke cake recipe for the Fourth of July, try this patriotic 4th of July Poke Cake with strawberries, blueberries, and cream.

flag 4th of july cake
Hey Friends – this is the week to plan your Fourth of July menu. I grew up enjoying this 4th of July Poke Cake on this festive holiday. You, too? Today, grab the easy ingredients, bake, and enjoy with your family and friends!

4th of July Poke Cake

While this is one of the most festive cakes for July, just keep in mind it’s really “easy” to make. Top with fluffy whipped cream and berries for a dessert that’s truly ready for your Fourth of July party. If you love a patriotic cake pan dessert, you may also want to try my No-Bake Berry Cream Cheese Bars.

serving of poke cake

Patriotic sponge cake

I remember my mom making the sponge cake, then poking the holes with a wooden spoon, then pouring the delicious Jello over the holes. Mom would get her strawberries by the flat at a local farm. So warm and sweet. Eventually I would make this cake from the strawberries from our own garden. My mother also made a great Jello cake (the one where you poke the cake with a fork:) YUM

taking a bite of poke cake

We devoured this cake, and it’s still a favorite to this day. Any family LOVES this dessert for July 4th! We also love this Best Strawberry Trifle with fresh summer berries.

ingredients for 4th july cake

Ingredients for 4th of July Poke Cake

Let’s get started. All you need are these ingredients for the sponge cake and berries:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder + salt
  • Eggs
  • White sugar
  • Vanilla extract + almond extract
  • Cream of tartar
  • Whole milk
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

how to make for 4th july cake

What’s in the creamy poke cake strawberry filling?

Next comes the fresh strawberry filling, so rich and delicious.

  • Strawberries (do not use frozen)
  • White sugar
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk

a creamy piece of flag cake

Sweet cream for Fourth of July cake

Oh, and this sweet cream. Gather these ingredients for homemade whipped cream.

  • Cold heavy whipping cream
  • White sugar (or 1/4 cup powdered sugar)
  • Vanilla extract

a piece cut out of flag cake

How to make a poke cake

  1. Start by baking the cake as directed on the package.
  2. Next, allow the cake to cool.
  3. Then, poke holes all over the cake with a wooden spoon. Cover with the filling and any topping.

strawberries for poke cake

Why is it called “poke” cake?

For this cake, the top of the freshly baked cake is pierced with a fork or the end of a wooden spoon. Then you pour something sweet, syrupy or creamy, and often colorful, over the top of the cake, to run into those holes. The cake then settles and soaks up the liquid. It is a very moist cake.

Why can poke cake be soggy?

If the holes that are poked are too close together, the cake might be too moist. How close is too close? Once you’ve poked holes throughout the entire cake, pour the filling on top.

square piece of flag cake

When did poke cakes become popular?

Poke cakes popped up in American kitchens around 1970, after the recipe appeared in a print advertisement that included a box of Jell-O.

This became a very popular, easy dessert, because bakers could make this ahead of time. At the time, it included three products (cake mix, gelatin, and whipped topping) which were very accessible in the grocery store.

My mom made one of her versions of the cake with Dream Whip. Remember Dream Whip? I’ll take “regular” fresh whipped cream any day over Dream Whip. HA.

flag sheet cake

Tips and substitutions:

  • Wipe down the end of the wooden spoon as you poke the cake. If it’s not clean, it’ll make “pokes” that are too large, which will make the distribution uneven.
  • Mix and match the berries according to the holiday. For example, use blueberries and strawberries for the Fourth of July. Use blackberries for a summer cake. For spring, use raspberries.
  • If you want to make the recipe the old-fashioned way, instead of fresh whipped cream, use Dream Whip for the topping.

What cake will you be baking this next week for the Fourth of July?

Happy baking!

a cake pan 4th of July cake

More July 4th desserts to try:

Easy Sugar Cookie Bars

Beautiful way to display fresh fruit for the 4th: Fourth of July Fruit Berry Platter Recipe

Strawberry Blueberry Panna Cotta

Salted Caramel Yogurt Dip with Mixed Berries

Strawberry Blueberry Chocolate Pavlova

Red, White and Blue Finger Jello

a piece cut out of flag cake
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4th of July Poke Cake

The best poke cake recipe for the Fourth of July, try this patriotic 4th of July Poke Cake with strawberries, blueberries, and cream.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
refrigerate: 4 hrs
Total Time: 4 hrs 45 mins
Yield: 8

Ingredients
 

Sponge Cake

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, separated into whites and yolks
  • 1 cup white sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • ½ tsp cream of tartar
  • cup whole milk

Fresh Strawberry Filling

  • 1 pound strawberries hulled and halved
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk

Homemade Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • ½ cup blueberries

Instructions
 

Make the Cake:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the six egg yolks on high, with ¾ cup sugar and vanilla and almond extracts, until the mixture is a smooth light yellow.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the six egg whites on high speed with the remaining ¼ cup sugar and cream of tartar, until soft peaks form.
  • Stir the milk into the egg yolk mixture. Next, add half of the dry ingredients, and stir until combined. Repeat with the second half of dry ingredients.
  • Add in the egg whites, and continue to fold until you can no longer see any white, and is well mixed.
  • Pour into greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when you insert a toothpick, and it comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely.

Make the Strawberry Filling:

  • While the cake is baking, add the hulled strawberries and sugar to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the strawberries start to get mushy and juicy.
  • Pour the strawberries in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Once the cake cools, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake, about an inch apart.
  • Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and pour all over the cake, making sure the holes are filled. The milk mixture will stay on top of the cake.
  • Next, pour the strawberry filling on top. Cover the cake with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least four hours, or up to two days.

Make Fresh Whipped Cream:

  • Before serving, remove the cake from the fridge and add fresh whipped cream.
  • In a medium bowl, add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread whipped cream evenly on the cake. Arrange strawberries and blueberries on top of the cake, to look like flag. Feel free to store loosely covered cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Notes

TIP: Wipe down end of the wooden spoon as you poke the cake. If the tines aren’t clean, a spoon doesn’t have tines? they’ll make “pokes” that are too large, which will make the distribution uneven.
Cuisine: American
Course: Dessert
Did you make this recipe?Tag @reluctantentertainer on Instagram and hashtag it #reluctantentertainer!

4th july poke cake