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 single 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 very popular gluten free vanilla cake recipe. It is a light and fluffy cake that works well with the pudding.
What brands of pudding are gluten free?
I used the Jello brand but you are more than welcome to reach for any brand of pudding mix you enjoy. I also used a vanilla pudding on this recipe. You are more than welcome to change it up if you have a different flavor in mind.
Lemon, chocolate, or even a cheesecake style pudding would be a great combination to try out.
Step 1: Add your dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to blend.
I have tested two gluten free flour blends in this recipe. I liked King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure and Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour Blend. This doesn't mean other blends won't work, I just haven't tested any others. Try to avoid flour blends that are high in starch.
As always, if your blend does not contain Xanthan Gum, you will need to add 1 teaspoon.
Step 2: Put the wet ingredients into a smaller bowl and mix well.
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 so your cake will be lighter and fluffier.
Step 4: Bake the cake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes until done. You can test if your cake is done 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 directions. I really recommend using regular milk to make your pudding. The non-dairy milk options do not set very well compared to regular milk.
Step 7: Pour the pudding quickly over the cake and cover it with plastic wrap. Put it into the refrigerator to set the pudding.
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.
🍓 Topping ideas:
- 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 just want to top with some whipping cream you made up or a dusting of powdered sugar. Give this homemade pudding poke cake recipe a try 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!
📋 Recipe Q&A:
The classic method for testing if a cake is done is grabbing a toothpick. Place the toothpick in the center of your cake, if it comes out clean with no cake batter your cake is done.
Another way to tell if your cake is done is to look at the color. It will slowly change the texture to a spongy look and will turn slightly golden brown on the top.
You will need to store your cake in the refrigerator due to the pudding. Just make sure to cover your cake with aluminum foil or place in an airtight container. Then store in the fridge.
This vanilla pudding poke cake will store for a few days in the refrigerator. It is best when eaten within the first couple of days. As like 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 ends up a lot more dense because of this. Technically you can make it dairy-free, but it won't taste as good.
More delicious 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 that is full of incredible flavor in every single bite.
- Lemon Mug Cake | If you are looking for a single-serve cake, try my mug cake! This cake is made for one and absolutely 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.
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