This orange poke cake is a fluffy white cake infused with orange flavor and topped with a quick and easy vanilla frosting making it taste just like our favorite childhood frozen dessert. It’s a easy dessert that’s a total crowd pleaser and perfect for any summer potluck!

two plates of orange creamsicle poke cake

When I’m looking for a quick and easy dessert, I often turn to poke cakes. It’s a great way to turn a boxed cake mix into something a little more fancy and unexpected, and the flavor combinations are endless! With warm weather approaching, I’ve got summery flavors on my mind which is how I came up with this orange creamsicle poke cake. It’s got all the flavors of the classic popsicle, in the form of a cake that’s designed to serve a crowd.

overhead of orange creamsicle poke cake topped with mandarins in a baking dish

This orange poke cake starts with a box of cake mix. I typically use a white cake mix, but I have also made this cake with an orange flavored mix. The cake is baked according to package directions and then poked all over. I use a fork to make the holes in the cake. Then cake then gets doused in orange jello which adds a ton of flavor and beautiful color. The frosting is a combination of vanilla pudding and whipped topping. The finishing touch is mandarin oranges. You can also garnish with fresh mint sprigs if desired.

taking a forkful of orange creamsicle poke cake

This cake is best made in advance, as the longer it chills, the more the orange flavor infuses into the cake. The cake needs a minimum of 3 hours in the refrigerator before it’s served, but it can even be made a day or two in advance with great results.

This creamsicle orange poke cake is sure to be a hit with your family and friends, it’s always the first cake to disappear on the dessert table when I bring it to parties!

two plates of orange creamsicle poke cake
4.94 from 45 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Creamsicle Orange Poke Cake

This orange creamsicle poke cake is a fluffy white cake infused with orange flavor and topped with a quick and easy vanilla frosting. It’s an easy dessert that’s a total crowd pleaser and perfect for any summer potluck!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12
Author Sara Welch
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  • 1 box white cake mix
  • oil water and eggs as called for on cake mix box
  • cooking spray
  • 3 ounces orange jello
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 3.4 ounces instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 ounces whipped topping thawed
  • 11 ounces mandarin oranges drained
  • fresh mint sprigs optional garnish


  • Preheat the oven according to the cake package directions.
  • Coat a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray.
  • Prepare cake according to package and bake for the time directed.
  • Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then use a fork to poke holes all over the cake.
  • Place the boiling water in a medium bowl and add the jello; whisk until the jello has completely dissolved. Stir in the cold water.
  • Pour the jello over the top of the cake. Cover and chill for at least three hours or up to 2 days.
  • Place the milk in a large bowl; add the pudding mix and stir until smooth and thickened. Fold in the whipped topping.
  • Frost the cake with the whipped topping mixture. Decorate the cake with the mandarin oranges. Cut into squares and serve, garnished with mint sprigs if desired.
4.94 from 45 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 306 | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 434mg | Potassium: 124mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 43g | Vitamin A: 245IU | Vitamin C: 7.6mg | Calcium: 145mg | Iron: 0.9mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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creamsicle poke cake with a fork in it, overhead view of creamsicle poke cake topped with orange pieces
creamsicle poke cake with a fork in it


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. Since I have the vanilla pudding and a large box of jello in it, do you think a buttermilk orange buttercream would work to counter it possibly being too sweet? I used buttermilk and butter in my cake mix. Buttercream was also requested. Thanks for your help!5 stars

    1. I have only tried this as written but your buttercream does sound delicious! Let us know how it goes!

  2. Holly, help!! I read another comment about using something other than a fork to poke holes. I used my skinniest wooden spoon handle. I put plenty of holes then proceeded with the jello.. I have no idea where it went when I poured a generous amount in each hole. I even used a large box of jello. I put it in fridge then looked and the holes were still there. I made up a box of instant vanilla pudding less 1/2 cup milk and filled the holes using a plastic condiment bottle. Do you think this will work? It’s for a party tomorrow so I can’t cut to check. I just didn’t want to serve cake that when sliced looks like a piece of Swiss cheese! Hence, my pudding “putty” idea.
    My, oh my. Next time I’ll use a fork. This cake was requested and I’ve never made one.5 stars

    1. This sounds like it’ll work perfectly! I’ve used everything from a fork to a chopstick to a wooden spoon to poke holes. If the jello goes to the bottom, it’ll still soak into the cake beautifully.

      1. Thanks for commenting back. I sincerely appreciate the extra effort you give us. The pudding idea worked so well I’m purposely going to do it with my next jello poke cake. It made it so moist and the creaminess of the pudding took it to the next level. The disappearing jello in the holes spread around them and it was gorgeous and all holes were filled to the top with the pudding. My only issue was my beautiful fluffy vanilla/orange buttercream hardened on the cold cake plus I stored it in a cooler for travel. I even waited to frost it right before we left. I should have just taken it with no cooler. Next time I’m going with the frozen topping frosting. I put orange zest on top of the buttercream then lined up the blotted mandarin orange slices. It was absolutely gorgeous. Thanks for another great recipe. Everyone loved it and I took home an empty pan! Success was mine!

      2. I’m so glad it all worked out well Susan, thank you for sharing! I’ll have to try it your way with the pudding in the cake, sounds yummy!

  3. Haven’t had for awhile. Wondering if a chocolate cake with orange jello would work too? I love chocolate covered orange peels or frozen custard from Culver’s!

  4. It was easy to make, but should have used the end of wooden spoon to make the holes larger, a fork didn’t do the work.
    I had the can juice to the cake. Wish it had more Orange favor.. Used a 15 oz of Mandarin oranges, saved some for garnish, and cut the rest up to add to frosting.4 stars

  5. Never made a poke cake before but decided to try this for a party-made 2 round pans instead so stacked them with frosting in the middle and then all around. I almost followed the instant pudding mix recipe of 2 cups liquid instead of 1 per yr Gd thing i double checked. We love that the frosting was not like most other commercial frosting which is too sweet for our tastebuds. And our friends love it..a definite crowd pleaser!4 stars

  6. I made this using a white cake mix with orange jello. I didn’t have any cool whip or vanilla pudding , so I used a can of vanilla frosting for the topping. It was really good. Next time I want to use a pkg of Vanilla Cake Mix and the pudding/cool whip topping. Bet it would be even better!!4 stars

  7. I made this according to the directions and it was good. I made it a second time but wanted it a little lighter so I changed it up. I used French vanilla cake mix and just real whipped cream for the topping. I didn’t add the pudding to the topping. I did put mandarin oranges on top. It tasted more like a creamsicle than the original. Everyone loved the updated version better.

  8. Yum. This poke cake looks fabulous! I’m sure my family will love this cake as they love creamsicles!!

  9. Such a pretty and refreshing dessert! This will be perfect hot weather food! It sure doesn’t hurt that oranges are one of my favorite foods.5 stars

  10. I have never had a poke cake but this one looks delicious! Love the vanilla frosting!

  11. Such pretty pictures Holly and I love the way you garnished with mandarin oranges!

  12. I love the colours of the orange; this recipe looks like a fab idea for any summer occasion, the best reason simply being to eat cake. Lovely orangey flavours.

  13. So pretty and I bet so good! I just made an orange cake similar to this that I’m posting in a couple weeks :) Your cake is perfect for summer!