Cakes Desserts

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

May 27, 2013

Remember the Nilla Wafer dessert from last week and how I mentioned it came to be because of a dessert that didn’t? Well, this Banana Pudding Poke Cake is the dessert that I was writing about. For the holiday weekend (Happy Memorial Day!), I wanted to make a dessert to bring to my mom and her coworkers. Perfect excuse for me to make this cake. I love poke cakes. I’ve made strawberry and key lime, so now it was time to try banana pudding.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake by So, How's It Taste

So, how’s it taste?

You know just the other day I was tweeting about how much I hate fake banana flavoring. I think it’s disgusting. Banana popsicles? Gross. Banana taffy. No thank you. (insert noise of a record scratching) Why in the world would I make a cake using that fake banana flavored pudding? I wanted to keep it true to the recipe, but I kid you not I had an internal battle that I should’ve used vanilla pudding right up until I poured it over the cake. After tasting the banana pudding on its own, I was certain I’d hate this cake and wish I had used vanilla and freshly sliced bananas instead.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake Slice by So, How's It Taste

Well, I was wrong. Really, really wrong. I’m eating my words, er tweets. I loved this cake! I think you just can’t go wrong with a poke cake no matter the flavor. The combination of the moist yellow cake, tunnels of pudding, sweet whipped topping, and crunchy Nilla Wafers was delicious. The other ingredients mellow out the banana flavoring, so it’s not as prominent. It really does taste like banana pudding in cake form. I loved how the wafers on top added a nice crunch and of course, they get softer (if your cake lasts that long). I dropped this cake off at my mom’s work and she enjoyed it (and she claims she hates bananas). A few hours later, she sent me a picture of the cake all but gone! I’d say it was a success…even with fake bananas. 😉

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

by The Country Cook via One Particular Kitchen
makes one 9x13 cake


1 box yellow cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
ingredients to make cake (eggs, water, oil)
2 (3.4 oz.) packages instant banana cream pudding mix
4 cups milk (I used nonfat)
1 (8 oz.) tub whipped topping, thawed
24 Nilla Wafers, crushed (I used reduced fat)


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare cake according to package directions for a 9x13 cake. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

2. Cool on wire rack. When completely cooled, use a wooden spoon handle and poke holes in the cake all the way through to the bottom. If a lot of cake comes out on the handle, wipe with a paper towel and continue poking the holes. You want the holes all over the cake.

3. Mix the two packages of pudding mix with the milk in a large bowl. Whisk until combined and there are no lumps. Pour over the cake, making sure to fill the holes. It's ok if the pudding goes over the side.

4. Place cake in refrigerator and let pudding set. Once cake is cooled and pudding is set, spread whipped topping evenly over the top. Sprinkle with crushed Nilla Wafers. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

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  • Erin @ One Particular Kitchen May 27, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Yes!! Isn’t it awesome?? So glad you liked it!

    • Leah Short May 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      Yes! I was glad it went to my mom’s work or I would have eaten the whole pan!

  • Julie @ Table for Two May 27, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Poke cakes are irresistible and I love the banana flavor.

  • steph@stephsbitebybite May 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Where’s my fork?!

  • danielle May 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Yum – this looks great! I made a coconut cream poke cake for my daughters birthday and it was fab too!

  • Liz May 28, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Thank you – good and also easy. Have a great day!

  • ashley - baker by nature May 28, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    I love poke cakes! And banana anything always gets my vote. This would be perfect as a picnic dessert!

  • Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain May 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I’ve never had a poke cake! I need to make this ASAP!!

    • Leah Short May 29, 2013 at 10:59 am

      They will change your life!

  • Christina Berry June 24, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I made this cake yesterday, and my family is in LOVE! Thanks for sharing – it’s perfect!

    Btw, I wanted to ask, do you use a plugin to format your recipes? I’m a virtual assistant for bloggers, and one of my clients is a food blogger. I love the look of your recipes within your posts, and I’d like to set up something similar for her.



    • Leah Short June 25, 2013 at 7:34 am

      Oh great! So glad you enjoyed it! The recipe format is customized from the custom field template I believe. It’s part of the theme I purchased. Thanks!

  • Katie February 27, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    Is it possible to frost the sides of a poke cake? Or will it fall apart?

    • Leah Short February 28, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Hi Katie! I’m not sure really. I don’t know how you’d get it out of the pan in one piece to frost it. I’m guessing you could take it out before you poke the holes and add the pudding, but the pudding goes down the sides too, so I don’t think it would work well.

  • sam March 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Have you ever tried putting sliced bananas on the cake before the whipped topping? With the Nillas is really made me think of the old-fashioned banana pudding with sliced bananas. My sister-in-law LOVES banana anything and I always make her a cake for her birthday and this sounds yummy.



    • Leah Short March 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      I haven’t, but I think that would be a great addition!

  • sam March 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Hi again!

    I made the cake for my sister-in-law and added the sliced bananas, she loved it. Said it like tasted like banana cream pie.


    • Leah Short March 19, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Nice! I’m going to use that as an excuse to make this again. 😉

  • danielle September 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Hey Leah – Im part of the Recipes US Food Community on FB and I just saw one of your recipes posted on their and linked to a different site – you may want to check it out.

  • Chai January 18, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    This cake was great! I am teaching my 10 year old to cook and let her make this on her own… (mostly) and it was terrific!

    • Leah Short January 18, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Oh what fun! Glad it turned out!

  • Penne February 13, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    I love this..Thank you so much I have made over 5 times in one

  • Rachel Page June 1, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Yes – this sounds like the recipe to follow!!

  • Jennifer July 14, 2015 at 10:41 am

    After baking the cake and poking the holes in it can i add the pudding mixer later on? Or does it have to be added right away?


    • Leah Short July 14, 2015 at 10:59 am

      Hi Jennifer, I think it would be ok to wait since you need to let the cake cool before adding the pudding. Good luck!

  • Debbie Higginbotham August 2, 2015 at 5:46 pm

    I added cream cheese to the pudding and put a layer of vanilla wafers and bananas before the coolwhip. This is now my husband’s favorite cake! (mine too!)

    • Leah Short August 2, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      Sounds fantastic!

    • gail September 10, 2016 at 9:14 am

      Make it a Banana Split Poke Cake by adding small amounts of cut banana pieces, cut up strawberries, crushed pineapple, and chopped pecans into the cream cheese, pudding mix. Then add your layer of vanilla wafers, cover with the Cool Whip, & sprinkle with lite mixture of crushed pecans and vanilla wafer crumbs on top.

  • Julie Joehlin November 1, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    Can I freeze this cake after making it? I want to make it on Saturday, but not serve it until the following Thursday. I’m not sure it would last in the refrigerator for 5-6 days. Thanks.

    • Leah Short November 2, 2015 at 8:27 am

      Hi Julie,
      I’ve never frozen this cake before, so I don’t know how it will turn out. It definitely won’t last 5-6 days fresh though.

      Let me know how it turns out if you decide to try and freeze it. Good luck!

  • Shayla November 22, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Hi Leah,
    I’ve been making this cake for several years now and have tried many different variations to find my perfect one…my favorite is actually using 1 banana cream and 1 vanilla pudding instead of both banana. I also add banana slices on top of the whip cream layer then add another layer of whip cream then add the Nlila waffer crumbles on top. This is probably my most request dessert, glad it’s easy to make 😉.

  • Doris March 17, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Haven’t tried any of the receipe s yet. I think the banana cake is one I grew up having.

  • Leslee O'Neal April 24, 2016 at 1:13 am

    Would using cook and serve banana pudding make the cake too soggy? Maybe I should get the instant pudding to be safe… What are your thoughts on this?

    • Leah Short April 24, 2016 at 7:58 am

      Hi Leslee,
      I’m not sure as I haven’t made it with cook and serve. My guess is that it would probably be ok. It’s been a long time since I’ve made cook and serve, so I can’t remember the difference between that and instant. If you want to be on the safe side, I’d make it with instant. If you use the other, keep me posted on how it goes!

      • Leslee O'Neal April 24, 2016 at 10:56 am

        Thanks so much for your feedback! I think I’ll do the instant to be safe 😉 I’m afraid that pouring the cook and serve while it’s still warm could turn the cake into mush… although I could wait until it’s completely cooled. Hmmm… I’ll definitely keep you posted if I decide to do cook and serve!

  • Linda September 20, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Getting ready to make the poke cake. Gonna add real banana slices on top.