Lemon Poke Cake

Lemon Poke Cake 1My whole family has a thing for lemon cake.  My grandpa used to make an amazing lemon cake that I haven’t posted yet…That’s crazy.  Why haven’t I?  No idea.  But my point is that I’m pretty sure we all have him to blame.  I’ve been craving lemon-flavored food this week, which is why this recipe is following the Unstuffed Chicken which is covered in a lemon-butter sauce.  Unfortunately I cannot take any credit for this recipe.  This is by Ashton from Something Swanky and after having tried this recipe and her Grasshopper Poke Cake last summer I’m convinced that she is a poke cake genius.  The only thing I’ve added to the recipe is to put lemon zest in the Cool Whip.  It seemed like such a shame to waste the zest, and when it’s added into the Cool Whip it gives it a touch of zing.  Besides, why shouldn’t there be more lemon in a lemon poke cake?

This cake is super easy and extremely delicious.  I’ve made lemon curd before over a double-boiler and while it’s not especially difficult, being able to make it in the microwave really makes this recipe seem hassle free.  The hardest part is standing by the microwave waiting for the minute to be over so that you can whisk and put it back in again because truly, what can be done in just one minute?  My advice would be to stand by the microwave with a book in hand. 🙂Lemon Poke Cake 2

This cake is somewhat tart because of the lemon curd that’s poured through the holes of the cake, but the Cool Whip tends to balance that out.  What’s interesting is that this cake isn’t as “soggy” (for lack of a better word) as other poke cakes that I’ve had, but perfectly moist.  You wouldn’t know that it was part of the poke cake family is what I’m sayin’.  I’m almost wondering whether I shouldn’t be adding lemon curd to every lemon cake/cupcake recipe I have just to  ensure that perfectly fresh lemon flavor.  I liked the Cool Whip as a topping, but I will say that I’m planning to experiment to see what else can be done to top this in the future.  As in like, when there are more people to help my family of four eat it…Lemon Poke Cake 3

Mike doesn’t like white chocolate chips so he was totally skeptical about putting them on top.  I’m usually not a huge fan either, but the contrast in textures with the soft cake, soft cool whip and then crunchy nuts and chocolate is kinda nice.  I wouldn’t say they are a huge necessity.  I was thinking of just topping this cake with extra curd and lemon zest and calling it good, but because I’m kinda a stickler about trying recipes the way they’re written before I change them that’s what I did.  I even tried this with graham cracker crumbs on top (coarsely crushed by hand) and I really liked that too.  Basically, pick your pleasure.  I’m not sure a whole lot can go wrong with this cake.  Michael easily cleaned his plate and said, “Oh yeah.  This would be a big hit at your mom’s house.”  I know he’s right.  I can’t wait for them to try this!

Lemon Poke Cake Title

IngredientsLemon Poke Cake 4

  • 1 Lemon Cake, (plus the ingredients for making) baked and cooled in a 9×13 pan
  • 1 Lemon Curd Recipe, reserve 1/3 cup for drizzling
  • 1 – 8 oz Cool Whip
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)


  1. Make the lemon cake as per the directions on the box.
  2. While the cake is baking make the Easy Lemon Curd. (See below)  That way you can leave it on the counter to cool while the cake is also cooling.  BUT zest the lemons before you juice them.  Add the lemon zest to the Cool Whip and refrigerate until you’re ready to “frost the cake.”
  3. Use the bottom of a wooden spoon to evenly poke holes throughout the baked cake (approximately 25-30 holes).
  4. Pour the lemon curd over the cake, aiming to fill the holes. Use a rubber spatula to spread the curd evenly over the cake.
  5. Spread the Cool Whip over top. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips and almonds. Drizzle with remaining lemon curd.  (I put my reserved lemon curd in a ziplock bag.  Then when I was ready to drizzle I just cut the corner and had an instant piping bag that allowed me to aim my drizzle 🙂 )
  6. Let chill for at least 4 hours. Overnight is best.
  7. Serves 12

Easy Lemon Curd Title


  • 1 cup lemon juice (fresh is always best!) – about 4 large lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs


  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl (contents WILL bubble up when stirred, so make sure you have plenty of extra room to avoid a spill-over).
  2. Microwave ingredients for up to 10 minutes. REMOVE AND STIR after every minute. Once mixture begins to thicken, you can discontinue heating. It generally takes mine 6-8 minutes to look just right.
  3. Line a smaller bowl with a zip top bag (use a high quality brand so it doesn’t melt). Pour the lemon curd into the zip top bag and seal it up.
  4. Fill the bowl with ice water and place the bag of lemon curd in the ice bath. Place the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Curd will be thickened and chilled once removed and ready to serve.

Recipe by Something Swanky


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