Secret Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake

Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake

Unveil the essence of summer with every slice of the Secret Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake—a dessert that promises a burst of tart raspberry and sweet, moist cake in every bite. This recipe is a homage to the beloved snack cake, reimagined as a refreshing, berry-infused treat. The secret lies in the combination of raspberry gelatin, fresh raspberries, and a zesty lemon cream cheese frosting, creating layers of flavor that dance between tangy and sweet. Perfect for gatherings, celebrations, or a quiet moment of indulgence, this cake is designed to impress and satisfy.


– **For the Cake:**
– 1 box white cake mix (and ingredients called for on the box)
– 1 cup boiling water
– 1 package (3 oz) raspberry gelatin
– **For the Raspberry Sauce:**
– 2 cups fresh raspberries
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 tsp lemon zest
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– **For the Frosting:**
– 8 oz cream cheese, softened
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
– 4 cups powdered sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– **For Garnish:**
– Fresh raspberries
– Shredded coconut or white chocolate curls


1. **Prepare the Cake:**
– Bake the white cake according to package instructions in a 9×13 inch pan. Allow to cool slightly, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes evenly across the cake.

2. **Raspberry Gelatin Mixture:**
– Dissolve the raspberry gelatin in boiling water. Pour over the cooled cake, ensuring the gelatin seeps into the holes. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.

3. **Raspberry Sauce:**
– Combine raspberries, sugar, lemon zest, and juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the raspberries break down and the sauce thickens. Strain to remove seeds, then cool completely.

4. **Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:**
– Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice, beating until creamy and fluffy.

5. **Assemble the Cake:**
– Spread the raspberry sauce over the set gelatin layer. Cover with lemon cream cheese frosting. Garnish with fresh raspberries, shredded coconut, or white chocolate curls for added texture and visual appeal.

6. **Chill and Serve:**
– Refrigerate the cake for at least one hour before serving. This ensures the layers meld together, intensifying the flavors and creating a moist, tender texture.

Secret Tips

– **Enhance the Raspberry Flavor:** Incorporate a splash of raspberry liqueur into the raspberry sauce for an adult twist.
– **Texture Contrast:** Add a layer of crushed raspberry-flavored cookies beneath the frosting for an unexpected crunch.
– **Visual Appeal:** Use a piping bag to create decorative swirls with the frosting, and arrange fresh raspberries in a pattern on top.


The Secret Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake is more than a dessert; it’s a celebration of flavors, textures, and the joy of baking. Each element, from the poke cake foundation to the zesty lemon cream cheese frosting, works in harmony to create a memorable eating experience. This cake is a testament to the power of combining simple ingredients with a touch of creativity to produce something truly extraordinary. Whether for a special occasion or a casual dessert, it promises to bring smiles and satisfaction to all who taste it.

Tips for Perfect Raspberry Zinger Poke Cake

  1. Even Poke Holes: Ensure the holes poked in the cake are evenly spaced and deep enough to allow the raspberry gelatin to penetrate well, enhancing moisture and flavor throughout the cake.
  2. Gelatin Setting: Allow the gelatin to cool slightly before pouring over the cake to prevent it from soaking through too quickly and making the cake soggy.
  3. Raspberry Sauce Consistency: Cook the raspberry sauce until it thickens to a spreadable consistency. This prevents it from seeping too deeply into the cake and ensures a distinct layer.
  4. Chill Before Frosting: Refrigerate the cake after adding the gelatin and again after the raspberry sauce to ensure each layer sets properly before adding the next, maintaining distinct layers and textures.
  5. Frosting Fluffiness: For a lighter, airier frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until very smooth before slowly adding the powdered sugar and liquids.

What to Avoid

  1. Overbaking the Cake: Overbaked cakes can become dry, which is particularly noticeable in a poke cake. Stick closely to the box instructions or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  2. Skipping the Chill Time: Each chilling step is crucial for the layers to set and flavors to meld. Rushing these steps can result in a less cohesive and visually appealing cake.
  3. Overmixing the Frosting: Beat the frosting until just combined and fluffy to avoid it becoming too runny or separating.
  4. Using Frozen Raspberries Without Adjustment: If using frozen raspberries, ensure they are thawed and drained as excess liquid can alter the sauce’s consistency and the cake’s texture.
  5. Ignoring Gelatin Consistency: Ensure the gelatin mixture isn’t too hot when pouring over the cake; too much heat can melt the cake’s surface, affecting texture and appearance.


Q: Can I use a different cake base flavor? A: Absolutely! While white cake mix offers a neutral base that highlights the raspberry and lemon flavors, feel free to experiment with vanilla or even lemon cake mix for a more intense flavor profile.

Q: How can I make this cake ahead of time? A: This cake can be made up to two days in advance. Store it in the refrigerator, covered, and add fresh garnishes just before serving.

Q: Can I use a different type of fruit? A: Yes, the beauty of poke cakes lies in their versatility. If raspberries aren’t your favorite, try using strawberries or blueberries for a different twist.

Q: How do I store leftovers? A: Cover and refrigerate leftover cake for up to 5 days. The flavors will continue to develop, making it even more delicious.

Q: Is there a non-dairy alternative for the frosting? A: For a dairy-free version, use plant-based cream cheese and butter substitutes. However, be mindful that this may slightly alter the frosting’s taste and texture.

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