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

Easy Margarita Poke Cake

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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!

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

Easy Margarita Poke Cake

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!

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!

What is a Poke Cake?

If you’re new to poke cakes, they’ve been around since the ’70’s, 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.

Tips for Making Poke Cakes

  • 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 above 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 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 pot lucks, 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.

More Poke Cake Recipes You’ll Love:

Used in This Recipe:

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

Easy Margarita Poke Cake

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

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


  • 1 (15.25-oz) box lemon cake mix
  • Nonalcoholic margarita mix (enough to substitute for around of water listen 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


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. Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Using the round end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake every 1/2 inch to 1 inch.

Empty the pudding mix into a medium-sized bowl and add the milk. Whisk briskly for 2 minutes or until the pudding is dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon tequila, the Triple Sec and lime juice. Mix well. Evenly pour over the poked cake, filling the holes as much as possible. Place the covered cake in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours or until the pudding is set.

Combine the whipped topping and the remaining 1 tablespoon of tequila in a large bowl until well combined. Evenly spread the whipped topping mixture over the cake. Garnish with the lime slices and zest. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.


Store covered in the refrigerator.

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


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14 comments on “Easy Margarita Poke Cake”

  1. What a fun and delicious recipe! I have never baked a poke cake and it’s time to start now since it’s holiday season.

  2. I’d sign up for a slice of your leftovers too:@) Poke cakes sound like a lot of fun and this one looks delicious!

  3. I love the idea of a poke cake and yours looks delicious!

  4. this cake looks great! I love poke cakes

  5. Bet this has wonderful flavor! Such a fun cake — and I’d take your “leftovers” any old time! It is amazing how many slices we need to cut for photos, isn’t it? And for quality control purposes, of course. 🙂

  6. I remember baking a poke cake in my teens, the family loved how moist it was. This one sounds perfect for a festive dessert this holiday season.

  7. This sounds FABULOUS! Margaritas are my favorite drink but I’d much rather have one in cake form than as a beverage.

  8. No to be now confused with the Hawaiian Poke dish lol. But yum margarita flavored, looks so good. I want Liz’s leftovers.

  9. What a fun way to eat cake, and it sounds delicious!

  10. Wow, your photos are so professional! Do you use retouching? Tell me what you think about these tips and ideas for food photography retouching I would like to hear your advice. Thanks in advance!

  11. Love the fun tropical twist on this cake! Can we all be transported to a warm tropical island, too?! 🙂

  12. Poke cakes are just not a thing in the UK, which is a shame because they look awesome. I think it’s because we don’t have instant pudding like you guys in the US. I must try making one, one day just to see if I can UK style it 😉 love citrus flavours so I know I’d love this one.

  13. The pudding oozing out of the cake looks irresistible! I haven’t made many and the cookbook sounds like one I would like to add to my collection.

  14. Great. I would love to make this at home. This looks so delicious. Thanks for the recipe.

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