Looking for a cake version of your favorite pudding? Look no further than this Banana Pudding Poke Cake! This easy recipe combines yellow cake with bananas and vanilla pudding – you’ll definitely want a second slice of this dessert!
I don’t know about you guys, but this time change is hitting me hard.
Instead of losing a simple hour on the clock, I feel like I lost no less than 3 days. Okay, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but this girl is tired. However, I do have to say that I am loving the extra daylight in the evening even if the weather here is super cold, rainy and windy. Welcome to spring in Ohio.
Even though the first day of spring is still a few days away, we’re celebrating with this super simple banana poke cake.
If you grew up eating poke cakes, you’re probably already familiar with the concept. If you didn’t, you might be wondering, “What the heck is a poke cake?”
A poke cake is exactly what it sounds like: After baking a cake, you poke holes in it and then pour on some kind of topping or filling that adds flavor and moisture.
MAKING BANANA PUDDING POKE CAKE
I’ve seen lots of poke cake recipes that use a from-scratch cake base and all homemade toppings. And I’m sure they’re absolutely delicious.
But one of my favorite things about poke cakes is that they are an easy way to doctor up a boxed cake mix and make it feel more special.
My Banana Pudding Poke Cake uses just a few simple ingredients to make a delicious dessert with all of the flavors of a classic banana pudding:
- Yellow cake mix
- Vegetable oil
- Vanilla extract
- Instant vanilla pudding mix
- Frozen whipped topping
I started by taking a standard yellow cake mix and adding some vanilla and mashed bananas to the standard water, eggs, and oil. After all, why not add some extra banana flavor into the cake itself?
Once the cake comes out of the oven, I let it cool for 10-15 minutes before poking holes in it with the handle of a wooden spoon. Whisk together the vanilla pudding mix with the milk for 2 minutes, then immediately pour it over the cake.
Top the cake with slices of banana and whipped topping, then chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Overnight is better, though – the flavors are better the longer it chills!
If you’d like, garnish the top of the cake with some Nilla Wafer cookies just before serving. They add a little extra texture and really bring home that banana pudding feel.
CAN THIS CAKE BE MADE AHEAD?
You might have guessed it already, but one thing I love about poke cakes, including my Banana Pudding Poke Cake, is that they can be made ahead of time.
Even though this cake only needs to chill for 2 hours before serving, it tastes best when it rests in the refrigerator overnight. So you really are better off making it the night before you plan to serve it!
It will keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days, so leftovers are definitely encouraged. Just try not to add the Nilla Wafers to the top until just before serving if you want them nice and crunchy, as they’ll get soft if they are on the cake for too long.
Banana Pudding Poke Cake
For the cake
- 1 15.25 oz box yellow cake mix (I used Pillsbury)
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large bananas mashed into a puree (about ⅔ cup of banana puree)
For the filling
- 1 3.4 oz box instant vanilla pudding mix
- 2 cups milk
For the topping
- 2 large or 3 medium bananas sliced
- 8 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed
- 20 Nilla wafer cookies crushed into coarse crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13×9-inch cake pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, water, oil, eggs and vanilla with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add in mashed bananas and mix until fully incorporated. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool 10-15 minutes. Using a straw or the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes across the cake, spaced every inch or so, halfway into the cake.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Pour evenly over the cake, making sure the mixture gets into the holes.
- Place the banana slices on top of the cake. Evenly top with the whipped topping. Cover the cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight for the best flavor.
- Before serving, top with Nilla wafer cookies crushed into crumbs