The difference between a labor-intensive dessert from scratch and our banana poke cake? We make store-bought cake mix and instant banana pudding look real good.

We’re not hiding the fact that we’re a bunch of cake pokers over here at TipHero: we’ve made a heavenly coconut cream poke cake, a sweet n’ sour blueberry lemon pudding poke cake, shared lots of other ideas for flavor-injected poke cakes and even poke turtle brownies. But could this banana pudding poke cake recipe be the holey grail?

If you’re a slow poke to this baking trend, a little background: a poke cake is a cake with holes poked all over it and a delicious filling poured over the top. The big ideas is that the holes fill up and absorb the liquid, making it super rich, flavor-injected, and moister than any other cake you’ve tasted. And they’re so superior to traditional filled layer cakes because of their simplicity — you don’t have to bake two layers and then level them off and then make a separate filling to go between — and yet you still get all of the lusciousness of a cake with filling in the middle!

If you’re allergic to making things from scratch, we’ve got your back with this recipe. A box of yellow cake mix, an envelope of instant banana pudding, a tub of frozen whipped topping, a bunch of bananas, and a sleeve of vanilla wafers — that’s all you need to make this banana poke cake! This cake mix hack is as easy as baking a yellow cake from your favorite mix and whipping up some instant banana pudding. Banana chunks bring in fresh fruit flavor, and a layer of whipped topping makes it even more delectable. Vanilla wafer cookies are banana pudding’s best friend, and a sprinkling of those tops off this custardy cake.

Banan Poke Cake spreading creamTipHero

When was the last time you ate banana pudding? If you had to dig back into grade school memories to answer that question, it must be time to reacquaint yourself with this simple pleasure via our banana poke cake recipe.

Banana Poke Cake

Serves 12
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes


  • 1 box of yellow cake mix (plus the additional ingredients needed to make the cake, depending on the mix)
  • 2 (3.4 oz) packages of instant banana pudding
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3 ripe bananas, diced
  • 1 (8 oz) tub of frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 20 vanilla wafers


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C.
  2. Prepare the yellow cake mix according to the package instructions. Baked in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
  3. Allow the cake to cool, then use the handle of a wooden spoon or the fat end of a chopstick to poke holes all over the cake.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the banana pudding mix and milk. Whisk until it’s smooth and starting to thicken.
  5. Pour the pudding evenly over the cake. Place the cake in refrigerator until the pudding is completely set.
  6. Sprinkle the diced bananas over the top of the pudding layer and spread the whipped topping over the top.
  7. Banana Poke Cake banana toppingTipHero
  8. Place the vanilla wafers in a resealable plastic bag and crush them gently with a rolling pin.
  9. Sprinkle the crushed wafers over the whipped topping and serve.

Chef’s Tip:

  • The cake can be prepared in advance up to the whipped topping layer, but to ensure that the vanilla wafers don’t get soggy, wait to garnish the cake until just before serving.
Banana Poke Cake Hero ShotTipHero

Sure, making desserts from scratch makes you feel accomplished — but didn’t you feel just as proud of this cake when you heard “Mmm…” all around?

Recipe adapted from The Country Cook.