During this busy time of year, I turned to Jamie Sherman’s The Poke Cake Cookbook for an effortless, decadent dessert like this Easy Margarita Poke Cake!

This Poke Cake Recipe has a citrus twist with lemon cake mix, lemon pudding, and lime zest! Plus, it’s as easy to make as it is to eat!!

Easy Margarita Poke Cake | A couple shortcuts make this decadent dessert a breeze to make!

Why You Must Make

Word had gotten around at my oldest son’s workplace that his mom was a food blogger. He signed up for their Halloween pitch-in under the dessert category with “Mom’s leftovers.” Now doesn’t that sound appetizing? Basically, it was a disclaimer that there would be pieces missing that were used for photographs. I have to admit that sometimes a LOT of pieces need to be sliced before I get that beautiful, blog-worthy slice!

  • This is perfect for those times you need a super easy dessert recipe!
  • It’s guaranteed to be moist with those pockets of pudding!
  • Once you’ve made a poke cake, you can invent your own versions with different cake and pudding flavors!

My friend Jamie’s cookbook was just recently released and I had to try one of her poke cakes. This dreamy Margarita Poke Cake caught my eye!

Easy Margarita Poke Cake | A couple shortcuts make this decadent dessert a breeze to make!

Recipe Tips

  • After the cake is baked and has cooled for about 15-20 minutes, use the handle end of a wooden spoon and poke holes about every 1/2 to 1 inch. I re-poked each hole with my scrupulously clean finger to press down any excess crumbs.
  • Let the pudding thicken a bit before pouring it into the holes you created and across the top of the cake. It should be of pourable consistency.
  • Carefully smooth the doctored-up Cool Whip over the surface, then pop it into the fridge for at least 4 hours so that the pudding can thicken even more and the awesome margarita flavors can meld.
  • I’ve shared a Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake, a Turtle Poke Cake, and a Triple Chocolate Poke Cake on the blog, but now there will be a whole lot more, thanks to Jamie’s cookbook!
The Poke Cake Cookbook.

The Poke Cake Cookbook

Jamie’s first cookbook, The Poke Cake Cookbook: 75 Delicious Cake and Filling Combinations, is chock full of amazing poke cake recipes, 75  to be exact. There are sections on the classics, like Black Forest and Chocolate Cream Pie poke cakes, chocolate poke cakes, simple fruit poke cakes, and even kid-friendly poke cakes. Honestly, there is something for everyone! The Mudslide Poke Cake is certain to happen at our house soon, and I’ve also been eyeing the Better Than Sex Cake. Hello, caramel topping and chopped toffee bars!

If you’re bringing desserts to pitch-ins, work potlucks, or just want an easy treat for your family, you’ll love this cookbook! Check out Jamie’s wildly popular blog, Love Bakes Good Cakes, too.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Poke Cake?

If you’re new to poke cakes, they’ve been around since the ’70s, but back then, it was jello poke cakes that were de rigueur! Jello was poured over a baked, strategically “poked” cake to give it more richness, moisture, and a colorful flair. More recently, these doctored-up cake mix recipes have turned to pudding mixes instead plus the traditional Cool Whip Topping. Sounded perfect for the lab rats Tom works with.
In this “Margarita” version, the base was a lemon cake mix with some added lime zest, tequila, and margarita mix; the pudding was vanilla with a boost from Triple Sec, tequila, and lime juice; and finally, the topping was Cool Whip with a touch more tequila.

Can You Make a Poke Cake with a Homemade Cake?

Yes, if the recipe calls for baking a 9 x 13-inch box cake mix, just make sure to make a homemade version of the same size.

Can You Top a Poke Cake with Real Whipped Cream?

Yes, the Cool Whip can be replaced with sweetened whipped cream. Make sure to add some vanilla extract, too. Note that real whipped cream may start to separate after a day or so. Using powdered sugar to sweeten or a product like Whip-It will help to stabilize the cream.

You May Also Like

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Easy Margarita Poke Cake | A couple shortcuts make this decadent dessert a breeze to make!

Easy Margarita Poke Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Yield 18

An easy dessert recipe with all the flavors of your favorite margarita cocktail.


  • 1 (15.25-oz) box lemon cake mix
  • Nonalcoholic margarita mix (enough to substitute for the amount of water listed in cake mix directions)
  • 4 tablespoons tequila, divided
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 (3.4-oz) package lemon instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 tablespoon Triple Sec
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 (8-oz) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • Lime slices, for garnish
  • Lime zest for garnish


  1. Prepare and bake the cake according to package directions, substituting margarita mix for the water and adding 2 tablespoons of tequila and lime zest to the batter, using a 13 x 9-inch cake pan.
  2. Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Using the round end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake every 1/2 inch to 1 inch.
  4. Empty the pudding mix into a medium-sized bowl and add the milk. Whisk briskly for 2 minutes or until the pudding is dissolved.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of tequila, the Triple Sec, and lime juice. Mix well.
  6. Evenly pour over the poked cake, filling the holes as much as possible.
  7. Place the covered cake in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours or until the pudding is set.
  8. Combine the whipped topping and the remaining 1 tablespoon of tequila in a large bowl until well combined.
  9. Evenly spread the whipped topping mixture over the cake.
  10. Garnish with lime slices and zest. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.


Store covered in the refrigerator.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 293Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 328mgCarbohydrates: 53gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 3g


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