Welcome to the wonder of Cherry Poke Cake! A dessert that’s as fun to make as it is to eat. This cake is jammed full of flavors that will make your taste buds dance and your sense wonder what hit them.
It’s a simple white cake, punctured with holes (hence the name ‘poke’), and soaked in a cherry gelatin mixture. The result? A moist and flavorful cake that’s bursting with cherry goodness in every bite.
But the Cherry Poke Cake isn’t just about the taste. It’s about the experience of making it, the anticipation as the cherry gelatin seeps into the cake, and the satisfaction of cutting into a piece to reveal the beautiful, cherry-streaked interior.
It’s a cake that’s sure to impress at any gathering, yet it’s easy enough to whip up for a weeknight dessert.
So, if you’re ready to embark on a delicious adventure, let’s dive deeper into the world of Cherry Poke Cake.
The Poke Cake: A Sweet Surprise
If you’re new to the concept of a poke cake, you’re in for a delightful surprise. The name “poke cake” might sound a bit odd at first, but it perfectly describes this unique dessert.
After baking a simple cake, you literally poke holes all over it. These holes are then filled with a liquid or filling, in our case, a vibrant cherry gelatin.
As the cake absorbs the gelatin, it becomes incredibly moist and flavorful, with a surprise burst of cherry in every bite.
Poke cakes hold a kind of magic in their simplicity. You don’t need to be a baking wizard or have special gear to whip one up. The finished cake looks pleasing to the eyes and is a treat for the taste buds. Guaranteed to drop jaws.
And that’s the charm of a poke cake, right there. It’s proof that you don’t need to complicate things to make something simply awesome! Sometimes, the basic, less complex ideas are the ones that surprise us with the most joy.
Let’s dig a little deeper, get our hands a bit messy, and discover how we can sprinkle a bit of our own flavor into this sweet treat.
Poke Cake Variations
The beauty of a poke cake lies not only in its delightful taste and texture but also in its versatility. While we’re focusing on a Cherry Poke Cake today, the world of poke cakes is vast and varied.
Think of your poke cake as a blank canvas, ready to be painted with the flavors of your choice.
From rich chocolate ganache to tangy lemon curd, the filling you pour into your poke cake can completely transform it. You could even experiment with different types of cake mixes or add-ins to the batter. The possibilities are truly endless.
This versatility makes poke cakes a fantastic choice for any occasion. Whether you’re catering to different dietary preferences or simply looking to try something new, there’s a poke cake variation out there for you.
Ready, Set, Bake: Essential Tools and Tips
Before we delve into the delightful process of creating a Cherry Poke Cake, let’s make sure we’re all set with our kitchen arsenal and the necessary ingredients.
After all, the art of baking draws heavily from science, and using the proper tools can turn this endeavor from a chore into an absolute joy.
At the heart of our toolkit lies a standard baking pan, measuring 13″ by 9″. This dimension strikes just the right balance for a poke cake, providing ample space for the gelatin to weave its magic uniformly across the whole dessert.
Moreover, remember to thoroughly butter up the pan, which helps your cake slide out with grace, not residue.
Your trusted partner for creating those signature pokes in the cake? A meat fork or a wooden skewer.
Your mission here is to carve out a generous number of holes, ample enough for the gelatin to make its way in, but not so much that the cake’s integrity crumbles.
Pro Tip: Mix, but don’t overdo it. Blend the ingredients until they’ve just met and mingled well. Overzealous mixing could lead you down the path of a cake too dense, which doesn’t quite sing the poke cake song.
Lastly, patience is key. Allow the cake to cool before poking holes and pouring the gelatin. This will ensure the gelatin is absorbed properly and doesn’t make the cake too soggy.
Making Your Cherry Poke Cake
Creating a Cherry Poke Cake is more than just following a recipe! It’s a journey filled with sweet aromas, vibrant colors, and delightful textures. Let’s embark on this journey together, step by step.
Step 1: Baking the Cake
The journey begins with a simple white cake. Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions and bake it in a greased 13″ by 9″ baking pan.
The cake serves as the base. And while it’s baking, your kitchen will be filled with the comforting aroma of freshly baked cake.
Step 2: The Art of Poking
Once the cake is baked and cooled slightly, it’s time for the fun part, poking the holes! Using a meat fork or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the cake. Be sure to reach the edges too.
This is a crucial step, as these holes will allow the gelatin to seep into the cake, infusing it with a burst of cherry flavor.
Step 3: The Cherry Gelatin Magic
Next, dissolve a package of cherry gelatin in boiling water and pour it over the cake, making sure to cover all the holes.
As the gelatin is absorbed, it transforms from a simple white cake into a moist, flavorful Cherry Poke Cake. This step requires a bit of patience, but the wait is well worth it.
Step 4: The Creamy Topping
It’s time to make the creamy topping while the cake absorbs the gelatin. Whipping cream should be folded into a package of cream cheese before being carefully spread over the cake.
This creamy topping adds a delightful contrast to the cherry-infused cake.
Step 5: The Cherry on Top
Finally, top the cake with a can of cherry pie filling. The cherries add a pop of color and an extra layer of cherry flavor to the cake. After a final chill in the refrigerator, your Cherry Poke Cake is ready to be enjoyed.
Storing Your Cherry Poke Cake
After enjoying a slice of your Cherry Poke Cake, you might find yourself with leftovers. But don’t worry, storing your poke cake is a breeze, and it ensures that you can savor its delightful flavors for days to come.
Proper Storage Techniques
The key to storing your Cherry Poke Cake is to keep it covered in the refrigerator. This helps maintain its moisture and prevents it from drying out. You can use a cake carrier if you have one, or simply cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
While your Cherry Poke Cake will taste best when fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days. Just be sure to keep it covered to prevent it from absorbing any other flavors in your fridge.
Simply remove the Cherry Poke Cake from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature before consuming any leftovers. This will remove the chill and let the flavors really pop.
Can Cherry Poke Cake be Frozen?
Have you ever found yourself with more Cherry Poke Cake than you can handle? Or perhaps you’re planning ahead and want to freeze your cake for a future event. The good news is, yes, Cherry Poke Cake can be frozen!
Preparing Your Cake for the Freezer
Before freezing your Cherry Poke Cake, it’s important to let it cool completely. Once cooled, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, ensuring all sides are well sealed. This will prevent freezer burn and help maintain the cake’s moisture.
Thawing Your Cake
When it’s time to dig into that frosty cherry poke cake of yours, don’t just leave it on the counter. Slide it gently into the fridge. Why, you ask? Letting it thaw slowly in the fridge helps to keep the texture and taste just right.
Once thawed, you can enjoy it as is, or add a fresh layer of whipped topping for an extra touch of creaminess.
A Note on Quality
While freezing and thawing your Cherry Poke Cake will slightly alter its texture, the flavor should remain just as delightful. It’s a great option if you want to prepare your cake in advance or save leftovers for a later date.
Common Questions About Cherry Poke Cake
As we wrap up our journey with the Cherry Poke Cake, it’s time to address some common questions that might arise when making this delightful dessert. From variations to troubleshooting, let’s clear up any curiosities you might have.
Can I Use a Different Flavor of Gelatin?
Absolutely! While cherry gelatin gives our poke cake its distinctive flavor, you can experiment with other flavors. Strawberry, raspberry, or even lime could add a fun twist to your poke cake.
What If My Cake Doesn’t Absorb All the Gelatin?
Don’t worry if your cake doesn’t absorb all the gelatin immediately. Just give it some time. The key is to let the cake rest and refrigerate it. The gelatin will gradually seep into the cake, giving it that moist, flavorful texture we love.
Can I Use Homemade Whipped Cream Instead of Cool Whip?
Yes, you can. While Cool Whip is a convenient option, homemade whipped cream can add a touch of freshness to your Cherry Poke Cake. Just remember to stabilize it if you’re planning to keep the cake for a few days.
Can I Make This Cake Ahead of Time?
Definitely. In fact, making your Cherry Poke Cake a day in advance allows the flavors to meld together, resulting in an even more flavorful cake.
Cherry Poke Cake
- 1 Box White cake mix
- Plus all Ingredients on the back of the boxed cake mix
- 1 Pack Cherry gelatin 3 ounces
- 1 1/2 Cups Boiling water
- 1 Pack Cream cheese softened 8 ounces
- 1 Tsp vanilla
- 1 Cool Whip 8 ounces
- 1 Can Cherry pie filling 21 ounce
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions but add cherry pie filling. Using a greased 13″ by 9″ baking pan, bake at 350 degrees for 30–35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on a rack for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Dissolve gelatin package in 1 1/2 cups boiling water.
- Poke holes in the cake with a meat fork or wooden skewer, being sure to get holes around the edges.
- Pour gelatin across cake. Let sit for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, beat 1 package cream cheese until fluffy.
- Fold in 2 cups whipped topping.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.