This banana pudding poke cake is a delicious twist on the classic Southern dessert.
It’s just as sweet and creamy but way easier to make.
Is there anything better than a big dish of banana pudding? I don’t think so!
And while it’s super easy to make, this poke cake recipe is a must-try.
It’s got a wonderfully tender sponge and plenty of pudding. Plus, it’s a terrific bring-along dessert for potlucks.
So try this banana pudding poke cake, and let me know what you think!
Southern Banana Pudding Poke Cake Recipe
Banana pudding is always a winner. But when you need something to make ahead, it’s not ideal.
The pudding and cream can turn watery after too long in the fridge. And the wafers will turn to mush if left too long.
So, make this banana pudding poke cake instead!
It’s got a spongy, buttery yellow cake layer with sweet banana pudding in every bite.
And don’t worry; it still has everything you love about real banana pudding. There’s even crunchy vanilla wafers – they’re just on the top instead of inside.
Magnolia Bakery in New York has one of the most iconic banana puddings around. And they use boxed pudding mix!
So if it’s okay for them, it’s okay for me:
- Boxed Yellow Cake Mix – There’s no need to go homemade with this cake. Just grab a box of yellow cake mix – any brand will do.
- Water, Vegetable Oil, and Eggs – These are the ingredients you’ll need to prepare the cake batter. Just follow the instructions on the box.
- Milk – I use whole milk because it’s thicker and more flavorful. But you can use whatever you have on hand.
- Banana Pudding Mix – Pick up a couple of boxes of instant pudding mix. Again, the brand doesn’t really matter.
- Whipped Topping – You’ll find this in the frozen section of your grocery store. Remember to let it thaw before using it.
- Vanilla Wafers – I always use Nilla Wafers, but any brand you can find is fine. Toss them in a food processor or blender to crumble them.
Some people put slices of real bananas on top, as well. I only do this when I’m serving right away, so they don’t go brown.
How to Make Banana Pudding Poke Cake
The following is a brief overview of how to make this cake. Keep scrolling for the full recipe below.
- Prepare the ingredients and preheat the oven. Get everything ready before you start, so you know you have everything you need. Then, grease the baking pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175°C).
- Make and bake the cake. Prepare the cake using the instructions on the box. You’ll need the cake mix, eggs, oil, and water for this step (unless otherwise instructed). Bake until soft and spongey, then leave to cool slightly.
- Make the pudding. While the cake bakes, make the pudding per the box instructions, whisking until nice and smooth. Set it in the fridge to chill.
- Poke the cake and add the pudding. When the cake is out of the oven and cooled slightly, poke holes all over the top with the handle of a wooden spoon. Then, pour the pudding over the cake and spread it evenly with a spatula.
- Add the whipped topping and chill. Top the pudding-covered cake with a layer of whipped topping. Then, add the crushed vanilla wafers on top of that and put the dish in the fridge.
You can serve it right away, but it’ll be best after a few hours in the fridge.
Tips and Variations
Here are a few tips and tricks to make this cake perfect:
- Use vanilla pudding if you can’t find banana. Just be sure to slice some bananas and add them to the top of the cake for that sweet banana flavor.
- Use a mix of vanilla and banana puddings. This will give a more subtle banana flavor.
- Pour the pudding over the cake while it’s warm. This will allow the pudding to seep into every nook and cranny.
- Jazz up the toppings. Nilla Wafers not your thing? That’s okay! Use crushed cookies, shortbread, Oreos, or Graham Crackers instead.
- Add a sauce for even more flavor. Caramel is my top choice! Just heat it until it’s runny, then pour it over the cake before the pudding. They’ll meld and set together beautifully.
- Add chocolate shavings to the top. Dark chocolate works really well with the sweet banana.
- Add chopped nuts to the mix. Just sprinkle them over the top with the crushed cookies.
How to Store
Most people enjoy this cake cold, so short-term storage is a breeze!
To Store: Simply cover the baking dish with plastic and pop it in the fridge. It’ll be good for up to 5 days.
Though I don’t recommend adding the wafers until you’re ready to serve, as they’ll go soggy.
To Freeze: If you want to make the cake last longer, you can freeze it instead. Just leave the whipped topping off until you’re ready to serve.
You can freeze the entire cake or individual slices. Either way, stick it in the freezer for about 2 hours after you’ve added the pudding.
Then, remove it from the freezer, and wrap it in plastic wrap and foil. Finally, freeze for up to 3 months.
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