This berries and cream poke cake is one of the best icebox cakes you can make. A soft white cake layer on the bottom, soaked with jello, topped with a layer of cooked mixed berry fruit and then a yummy homemade whipped cream cheese topping.
This really is one of the best poke cakes I’ve had. It’s perfect for summer, but really you can make it any time.
Basically a poke cake is one that you bake, poke holes in and then pour over a pudding or jello mixture that soaks into the cake adding moisture and flavor.
This one isn’t your average poke cake though, it’s really amped up.
Hey there! Before you scroll, there’s lot’s of important stuff in the post!…including the FAQ section, which may answer any questions you might have about this recipe. Enjoy!
For this cake, we’re amping up the flavors by not just using jello, but we’re adding on a layer of cooked mixed berries and then topping it all off with a scratch whipped cream cheese topping.
Now, let’s talk a little bit about just some of the ingredients for this recipe. (The entire ingredient list is in the recipe card lower in this post.)
Frozen mixed berries: We’re using frozen mixed berries as they’re convenient and work just as well. I like the idea of having a variety of berries, but you can always just use frozen strawberries if you want.
Cake mix or scratch cake: I used a doctored cake mix for this recipe, but you could also make a scratch vanilla cake if you wanted to.
Strawberry jello: I don’t think anyone makes a mixed berry jello, or I would have used that one, but strawberry is the next best thing. You’ll just be using just the small box.
Cream cheese: We’ll use cream cheese in the whipped topping. It just gives it extra creaminess and a little more flavor than just using plain whipped topping.
Heavy cream (whipping cream): For the whipped topping we’re using heavy cream, which is sometimes called whipping cream. Now, that’s NOT the same thing as whipped cream or Cool Whip. That’s something different and won’t work as a substitute.
*The recipe card close to the end of this post will go into all the ingredients and amounts.
Mixing method notes:
The mixing method for the cake will depend on what type of cake recipe you’re using, or if you’re using a doctored cake mix.
I used a doctored cake mix for this one and the mixing method is super simple. Basically you just dump the ingredients into a bowl and go!
For the whipped cream cheese topping, you’ll want to follow the instructions in the recipe card though as you really need to make sure and not add in the cream all at once and you’ll also want to whip on high until stiff peaks form, or it will end up too soft.
*The recipe card below will show all the steps.
Tips & FAQs:
You’ll want to do this first, so it can cool down a bit while your cake is baking.
No, you can use fresh, just make sure you have the same amount called for in the recipe. You can also use just frozen strawberries if you prefer the topping to be strawberry and not mixed berry.
You can use any vanilla or white cake mix you like. I doctored up a white cake mix. (The recipe card will explain what I added.)
You want the jello soak to be more concentrated.
The cake needs to be completely chilled before adding the cream cheese whipped topping.
Heavy cream is sometimes called whipping cream. Whipping cream is not the same thing as whipped cream or Cool Whip though. Whipping cream (or heavy cream) is a thick cream and you can whip it up to make homemade whipped cream, which is what we’re doing in this recipe.
Using whipped cream or Cool Whip in place of the whipping cream or heavy cream, will not work for this recipe.
(Now, if you want to just cover the whole cake in Cool Whip, then you can certainly do that, however it will not be quite as creamy and flavorful as the topping in the recipe.)
You need to whip the topping at high speed for at least a minute to get it super whipped and fluffy. Make sure to watch the video to see what it should look like.
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Ok let’s get to the recipe!
***I write recipes using volume (cups) measurements because here in the U.S., this is what people are used to seeing and using. For weight in metric measurements, click the ‘metric’ button under the ingredients in the recipe card. The weights are converted by a program, not me, and it’s a best guess. Please note that because I develop recipes using ‘cups’ I can’t guarantee that weighing the ingredients will produce the exact same results.
Berries and Cream Poke Cake
For the Fruit Topping:
- 16 oz bag frozen mixed berries
- ½ cup sugar
For the Cake & Jello Mixture:
- 1 white or vanilla cake prepared (from a box or from scratch)
- 1 3 oz box strawberry jello mix (the dry mix)
- 1 cup boiling water
- ½ cup cold water
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Topping:
- 1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened, but not warm)
- 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cold heavy cream (sometimes called whipping cream – not whipped cream – see notes)
For the Fruit Topping:
- Add the bag of frozen mixed berries and the sugar to a saucepan. Turn the heat on low/medium and heat until the berries are soft (about 5-7 minutes).
- Use a masher and mash the fruit a bit. It’s okay if it’s still a bit chunky. You don’t need to get it smooth.
- Turn the heat to medium and allow the mixture to simmer until it starts to thicken (about 8-10 minutes). Make sure to stir frequently, so the fruit doesn’t scorch.
- Once it starts to thicken a bit, remove the pan from the heat source and add the fruit topping to a bowl. Cover and set aside while you make the cake.
- (If you'll be making the fruit topping the day before, then you'll want to refrigerate it. You can warm it up slightly when you add it to your cake.)
For the Cake & Jello Mixture:
- Bake the vanilla or white cake in a 13×9 inch pan. You can use a cake mix, or bake it from scratch. (If you use a cake mix, you can sub out the water with milk, add an extra egg, add in a ¼ cup of melted butter and a teaspoon of good vanilla extract to make it taste better.)
- Keep the cake in the pan and allow it to cool for about 20 minutes. Poke holes in the cake using a skewer or a fork.
- Mix the boiling water and jello mix in a mixing bowl until the jello is completely dissolved.
- Add in the cold water and stir, then pour the jello mixture over the cake.
- Add the fruit topping onto the cake and spread evenly. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator for at least two hours before you add the whipped topping. (The cake must be chilled before adding the whipped topping.)
For the Whipped Cream Cheese Topping:
- Add the room temperature cream cheese to a cold glass or metal bowl. Use a whisk attachment if you’re using a stand mixer and mix on medium until creamy. If you don’t have a stand mixer, just use a regular handheld mixer and mix on medium.
- Add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla and mix on medium. The mixture may still be crumbly at this point or it may be creamy depending on how warm your cream cheese is. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again until all is incorporated well.
- Add in half the cold heavy cream and mix on medium until the mixture is creamy.
- Pour in the second half of the heavy cream and mix on medium until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again until everything is incorporated.
- Once all the liquid is mixed in, mix on high until stiff peaks form (about a minute or two).
- Spread onto the chilled cake. Cover and chill the cake until it's thoroughly chilled through. You can also chill it over night and serve the next day.
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looks so good! If you are using a box mix, when you add 1/4 cup melted butter, do you need to reduce the amount of oil it calls for on the box? Thank you Kara Jane for all these yummy recipes! I do appreciate the ones that start with a box mix also! 🙂
Hi Trisha, I didn’t lower the amount of oil…just added in the extra melted butter and it worked out for me. I feel like cake mixes are pretty resilient, so I don’t think there would be a problem. And I’m so glad you enjoy the recipes! I have people here that like scratch cakes and those that like doctored cake mixes…I’m in both camps, so I like to do a variety. Thanks so much for the comment!
This is so good,but I wasn’t able to get stiff peaks with frosting
Glad you liked it! As far as the stiff peaks go, sometimes that can happen if it’s a humid day. The humidity can affect how it whips. It also could have something to do with the type of cream. If it wasn’t heavy cream or whipping cream, then that could happen. Hope this helps!
Thanks Kara Jane I was wondering if you could whip the cream separately and fold that in with the cream cheese mixture
That might work but you’d need to make sure that the cream cheese mixture is mixed very smooth before adding the whipped cream to it.