Vintage Christmas Jell-O Poke Cake

A Vintage Jell-O Poke Cake, filled with the flavors of strawberry, lime and topped with whipped topping. 
I know that Christmas has passed, but I still had to share this beautiful Vintage Christmas Jell-O Poke Cake from our holiday dinner. My favorite recipes have always 
been vintage and retro recipes, because they remind me so much of my childhood.
Jell-O cakes or refrigerator cakes date back as far as our grandmothers and are still a favorite in many households including mine. What I love most about Jell-O poke cakes is how you can interchange the Jell-O flavors to match just about any holiday. 

I have made several gelatin poke cakes over the years, a Patriotic Jell-O Poke Cake Halloween Jell-O Poke Cake, and Strawberry Jell-O Poke Cupcakes for Valentines Day.  All you need is Jell-O gelatin and your imagination. I get tickled at all the flavor combinations that people come up with. 

Making a two layer colorful poke cake can look intimidating, but it's really simple. I prepared my Christmas Poke Cake just like they did back in the day by using plain old cool whip for the frosting. Cool Whip also has a new frosting line, so if you prefer you could use vanilla or their cream cheese frosting in place of cool whip alone. 

All you will need a white cake mix, two flavors of Jell-O (red & green), eggs, water and oil called for on the cake mix, and cool whip. For the green cake layer you will need to use lime Jell-O, but for the red layer you have several choices (cherry, raspberry or strawberry).

Note: When pouring the Jell-O over the cake layers it will look like the whole cake is saturated with color, so don't freak out like I did the first time.

The gelatin mixture will only go down into the holes that you made with the fork. Jell-O poke cakes are not only festive, but they're delicious too!

I know the Christmas Holiday is over, but tuck this recipe away and remember it for next year.

Yield: 10-12
Author: Tina Butler | Mommy's Kitchen
Vintage Christmas Jell-O Poke Cake

Vintage Christmas Jell-O Poke Cake

A Vintage Jell-O Poke Cake, filled with the flavors of strawberry, lime and topped with whipped topping.
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 28 MinInactive time: 3 HourTotal time: 3 H & 58 M


  • 1 - 18 oz white or french vanilla cake mix
  • + eggs, oil and water called for on cake mix
  • 1 - 3 oz box strawberry, raspberry or cherry Jell-O (I used strawberry)
  • 1 - 3 oz box lime jell-O, dry
  • 2 - cups boiling water
  • 1 - 16 oz container Cool Whip, Dream Whip or
  • Vanilla Cool Whip frosting (found in the freezer section)
  • holiday sprinkles


  1. Prepare and bake cake according to package directions for a 2 layer round cake. Place cakes, top-sides up, in clean 8 or 9-inch round pans; pierce with large fork at 1/2-inch intervals.
  2. In a separate bowl add 1 cup boiling water to each flavor dry gelatin mix; stir 2 minutes until completely dissolved. Slowly pour 3/4 of the red gelatin mixture over 1 cake round and 3/4 of the lime gelatin over second cake layer. Discard the remaining jell-O
  3. Refrigerate cakes 3 -4 hours. Remove cakes from refrigerator and dip bottoms of cake pans in warm water for 10 seconds to release the cakes from the pans.
  4. Frost cake layers with Cool Whip or use Cool Whips new frosting found in the freezer section. Add sprinkles and refrigerate cake at least 1 hour before serving.
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Recipe Source:  Click Americana 

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Michelle said…
I make a retro cake similar to this one. But you put berries in the bottom of the pan before pouring the cake mix. After it bakes you add the jello. Then before serving you add whip topping to the top. I love this ideal for Christmas. It's a lot more festive looking then mine. I'll have to make a strawberry one for Valentines.
Colleen said…
Oh, yes, this brings back memories. Have also used pudding at times in place of the jello.
Has been so many years since I made a poke cake but just may go ahead and make one for Valentines day or maybe New Years.

Wishing you a very Happy and Blessed New Years
Anonymous said…
I remember the original Jello poke cake as I am 67 years old---true vintage:) I have the original recipe which I actually tore from the Duncan Hines cake mix box. It is titled Double Cherry Refrigerator sheet Cake. The reason I looked for it is because Cool Whip was not the original frosting as I don't think we had cool whip at that time. The original recipe was for 1 envelope of Dream Whip, 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding, 1 1/2 cups cold milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. This was whipped together in a chilled bowl until set well. This can now be modified to use cool whip. Mix 1 box instant vanilla pudding with 1/4 cup powdered suar and 1 cup cold milk. Blend till smooth and then gently fold in 1 8 oz carton of cool whip. This has more substance than just using plain cool whip.
Tina Butler said…
I love dream whip! I use it in my cake mixes to bake my cakes. I also use it in my strawberry delight and my MIL blueberry cheese pie. Dream Whip is very hard to find in some states and in Canada. Every time I post a recipe that calls for Dream Whip at first people do not know what it is and then they say they cannot find it. Thank goodness they came out with cool whip or we would not know what to do. I wish more stores would still sell it, because it is so much better. The cherry refrigerator cake came out long before the Christmas Jell-O Poke Cake and used the dream whip/pudding frosting, but the Christmas Jell-O Poke debuted later with just cool whip for the frosting in 1980. The Christmas Cake did not use the Dream whip frosting. The more vintage refrigerator cakes did.

Click Americana Recipes: Christmas Jell-O Poke Cake

Tracy Parker said…
I dont know how to copy and paste with my phone and its my only access to the internet so would you be so kind as to email your dream whip and vanilla pudding and powdered sugar recipes to me? I would greatly appreciate it. My email is
Thank you, Merry Christmas and may God bless you!
Anonymous said…
I would like the recipe you mention Anonymous, Jell-O Poke Cake. I would appreciate it very much if you would email it to me at Thank you and Happy Holiday's to you.
Anonymous said…
Can this be made in a sheet pan? i am making it for a crowd. thank you
Tina Butler said…
Yes this can be made in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan as well. It is just as pretty.
Kristen Anne said…
Can I refrigerator over night to bring to a work party the next day?
Tina Butler said…
The cake must be refrigerated after baking and frosting. The longer it sits the better it taste, so overnight is perfect.