This Gluten Free Poke Cake is an incredible homemade gluten free cake with a vanilla pudding poured over the top. The perfect potluck dessert, weeknight dessert, birthdays, and more. A gluten free jello cake that will win over a crowd with one bite.
I am a huge fan of poke cakes. They are so simple to make, moist, and full of flavor. It is like each bite is a hidden surprise inside the cake from the Jello pudding.
The foundation of this recipe is my top-rated gluten free vanilla cake recipe, so you know it will be good. It is a light and fluffy cake that works well with pudding.
If you enjoy baking, check out all of my incredible gluten free cake recipes.
Why This Cake Is Great:
- You can use any pudding flavor to vary the cake's flavor.
- Kids love helping by poking the holes in the top of the baked cake.
- You get creamy pudding flavor in every bite of this gluten free poke cake!
This recipe is amazing! So moist and fluffy! I did add 2 mashed ripe bananas and once I sprayed my pan with coconut oil, I sprinkled toasted almond slivers and sprinkled cinnamon on the bottom of the pan before pouring in the cake mix. I am dairy free as well, so I use Lactose free milk and it works beautifully for pudding or even a 1 to 1 substitute in recipes. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe!"Shauna C., reader comment
- Gluten Free Flour Blend - I tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure. Other blends should also work well, but you may need to adjust moisture levels.
- Xanthan Gum - If your blend doesn't have a binder, add one teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum.
- Baking Powder - Use aluminum-free baking powder.
- Sugar and Salt
- Eggs - Use size large eggs.
- Light Flavored Oil - I used avocado oil, but canola oil also works well.
- Milk or Non-Dairy Milk
- Pure Vanilla Extract - Do not use imitation vanilla.
- Powdered Sugar
- Butter - Use unsalted butter for the frosting.
What brands of pudding are gluten free?
I used the Jello brand of pudding. Here are some more gluten free pudding brands:
- Kozy Shack
- Mom's Place
- Simply Delish
Tips For Sucess:
- Do not use a stand mixer or electric mixer to mix the cake batter. This will overmix your cake batter.
- Be sure to use a non-stick spray in your cake pan. This will help prevent sticking.
For more cake-baking tips, be sure to read my Gluten Free Cake Troubleshooting Guide.
How To Make Gluten Free Poke Cake:
Step 1: Add your dry ingredients to a large
Step 2: Use a whisk to mix the wet ingredients in a smaller
Step 3: Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just "barely" mixed. By not over-mixing the cake batter, you leave the air bubbles intact, making your cake lighter and fluffier.
🔑 Sandi says: Preheat the oven to 350º F. I recommend doing this now to let your cake batter sit in the pan while the oven heats up. Letting the batter sit allows the rice flour in the blend to soften, which will eliminate any grit.
Step 4: Bake the cake at 350º F for 35-40 minutes until done. You can test if your cake is baking by inserting a toothpick into the middle. If your toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see crumbs or batter on the toothpick, it will need more time to bake.
Step 5: Poke holes into your cake. I used the knife sharpening rod that came with my knife set. You can also use a straw, chopstick, or another poker. You want the holes to be close together so the pudding can run down into the holes and set in the holes.
Step 6: Make the instant pudding according to the directions. I recommend using regular milk to make your pudding. The non-dairy milk options do not set as well compared to regular milk.
Step 7: Pour the pudding over the cake and cover it with plastic wrap. Put it into the refrigerator to allow the pudding to set.
Step 8: In 2 hours, remove the cake and frost. You can use the cream cheese frosting recipe in my gluten free vanilla cake or this delicious buttercream frosting in this gluten free unicorn cake recipe.
🍓 Serving Suggestions:
- Fresh Berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries
- A drizzle of caramel sauce
- Chocolate shavings
- Toffee chips
You can eat your cake however you would like, whether you want to top it with some whipping cream you made up or a dusting of powdered sugar. Try this homemade pudding poke cake recipe, and let me know what you think.
If you love vanilla as much as I do, you will also want to try these gluten free vanilla donuts!
A toothpick is the classic method for testing if a cake is finished baking. Place the toothpick in the center of your cake; if it comes out clean with no cake batter, your cake is finished.
Another way to tell if your cake is made is to look at the color. It will slowly change the texture to a spongy look and turn slightly golden brown on the top.
Due to the pudding, you will need to store your cake in the refrigerator. Just make sure to cover your cake with aluminum foil or place it in an airtight container. Then store in the fridge.
This vanilla pudding poke cake will be stored for a few days in the refrigerator. It is best when eaten within the first couple of days. As with any other cake, it will begin to dry out as time goes on.
Of course. If you would rather skip making a homemade cake, go right ahead and buy a gluten-free boxed mix. Then, follow the directions for baking on the box. You are welcome to use any brand of cake mix that you and your family prefer.
This is a tricky question. The non-dairy milk options do not work well with instant pudding. They don't fully set, and the cake becomes denser because of this. Technically, you can make it dairy-free, but it won't taste as good.
More gluten free cake recipes to try:
- Vanilla Bundt Cake with Fresh Raspberries | In this bundt cake, you will see I used vanilla pudding as well. This is such a decadent cake full of incredible flavor in every bite.
- Lemon Mug Cake | If you want a single-serve cake, try my mug cake! This cake is made for one and is a breeze to whip up right in your microwave.
- Devil's Food Cake | Chocolate lovers rejoice over this gluten free chocolate cake. Rich, dark, and loaded with the perfect amount of chocolate in every bite.
Gluten Free Poke Cake
For the Cake
- 2 cups gluten free flour blend * see note
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup light oil (*I used avocado oil)
- ¾ cup milk (*See notes.)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- 2 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon water
- Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350º F.
- Step 2: In a large bowl, add the dry cake ingredients and use a whisk to blend.
- Step 3: In a smaller bowl, add the wet ingredients and whisk to mix. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Note photo above of the batter consistency.
- Step 4: Put the batter into an 8x8 cake pan and bake for 40-45 minutes (depending on the size of cake pan you use)
- Step 5: Test doneness. Use the toothpick method described in the post to know when your cakes are done.
- Step 6: Make the instant pudding according to box instructions. See my note below about using whole milk.
- Step 7: Poke holes in the cake. I used the knife sharpening rod that came with my knives. You can use a chopstick too.
- Step 8: Quickly pour the pudding over the cake so that it seeps into the holes. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. Chill for 2 hours.
- Step 9: Add the powdered sugar, softened butter, and vanilla to a standing mixer. Gradually add water (as needed) until you have a fluffy frosting. Spread over the cake.
- I have tested this recipe with King Arthur Measure for Measure GF and Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 GF blend. That doesn't mean others will not work, I just have not tested other flours.
- If your gluten free flour blend doesn’t contain xanthan gum or guar gum, please add 1 teaspoon.
- To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is done baking. If you see batter or crumbs, the cake needs to bake longer. Note, don't put the toothpick in a spot where you made a pudding poke hole.
- I advise using regular milk to make the pudding because non-dairy milk substitutes don't do well setting with the pudding mix.
- This cake will keep up to 4 days in an air-tight container, or up to 4 months in the freezer.
Please know that every gluten free flour blend has a different starch to grain ratio. If you use a blend I didn't test, you may need to adjust your moisture levels in your baked goods.
Nutritional information is an estimate provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the actual nutritional information with the products and brands you are using with your preferred nutritional calculator.
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