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Beautiful Rhubarb Poke Cake Recipe

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Last Modified: June 5, 2020
Published: June 5, 2020

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beautiful rhubarb poke cake

Great Cooks use what's in season for delicious results!

Today let's make a rhubarb poke cake! Right now rhubarb is plentiful! The tangy stalks can be made into seemingly endless goodies from jam to sauces, breads, pies, and desserts. Here's a striking cake that looks great from every angle!

In our world, summer means All-American pastimes! Picnics, baseball, lazy lake days and firelit nights on the patio with fireflies winking. This is a perfect summer cake!

beautiful rhubarb
cup full of diced rhubarb

Rhubarb is super puckery tart. I've heard tell of kids who pulled and ate it raw, right from the plant! Holy cow! I must have been a wimpy child because the very thought of it makes me shudder. That's why most recipes call for added sugar.

Yield: 15 servings

Beautiful Rhubarb Poke Cake Recipe

rhubarb poke cake

Moist, delicious poke cake infused with sweet-tangy rhubarb sauce. Smothered in whipped topping with an artful swirl of rhubarb sauce on top

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes



  • 1 boxed lemon cake mix (or white or yellow cake mix)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Rhubarb Sauce

  • 1 small box strawberry jello (or raspberry jello)
  • 2 cups finely diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  • One small container whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup reserved rhubarb sauce


Prepare Rhubarb Sauce

  1. Pour 1 cup sugar over finely diced rhubarb and let it sit for an hour or more to draw out juice. You can do this in the saucepan you will use to prepare the topping. Add water and simmer on low/medium heat until rhubarb is completely tender. Stir in jello and keep stirring until jello is completely dissolved in liquid. Set aside while cake bakes. Reserve 1/2 cup of topping to decorate top of cake.

Prepare Cake

  1. Prepare cake according to package directions and bake at 350 degrees in sprayed 9" x 13" cake pan for about 25 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean, top springs back when lightly touched, and cake pulls back slightly from edges of pan. Don't underbake.
  2. While cake is still hot, use handle of wooden spoon to poke large holes all over the cake. Pour topping over hot cake and use rubber spatula to coax topping into holes.
  3. Refrigerate until jello is set, at least two hours. Cake needs to be cool before adding whipped topping.
  4. Smooth tub of defrosted whipped topping over surface of cake clear to edge of pan.
  5. Drizzle four or five skinny lines of topping lengthwise on top of cake. You may need to add a LITLLE bit of warm water and stir until it will drizzle from a measuring cup with a lip.
  6. Draw table knife through topping and rhubarb drizzle first one direction and then the other to form the nifty design! It's one part Simple Simon, one part Fancy Nancy.
  7. FEEL FREE TO SKIP THE DRIZZLE if you want!! It will be just as delicious "Plain Jane" I promise!


This cake needs to be refigerated but take it out a little bit before you serve it for the very best experience! It would make a great dessert for any of our American holidays! Go crazy and stud topping with blueberries and add some tiny American flags if you want to make it extra fancy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 1gSugar: 30gProtein: 3g

Start by making the the yummy sauce/poke/topping. Put 2 cups of finely diced rhubarb in a saucepan with a cup of sugar. Let it sit at least an hour to allow the sugar to draw out the juices.

rhubarb with sugar

Then add the water and simmer until the rhubarb is very tender and starts to break up. Next, turn up the heat a bit and add jello, stirring until the jello is completely dissolved. Set it aside while cake bakes.

rhubarb sauce

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box.

cake batter in pan

Make sure the cake is completely baked

perfectly baked cake

Now you're ready to pour on the rhubarb topping

cake poked with big holes

Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake while it's still hot. This makes little craters for the rhubarb sauce to soak down, down, down into the cake, infusing it with flavor!

rhubarb sauce poured on cake

Next, pour rhubarb sauce over the cake and use a rubber spatula to encourage all that yummy sauce to seep down in the craters you made for it. Don't refrigerate the half cup of sauce you saved if you want to make the snazzy design on top. (If you forget, add a LITTLE bit of warm water and stir it up until it's dribbly again.)

Now go relax awhile but make sure your tub of whipped topping isn't frozen. It's best to let it defrost in the refrigerator so it doesn't go flat when you try to rush it. Experience speaking here, friends. Do what I say, not what I do, are you with me? Take it out of the freezer and put it in the fridge now.

Refrigerate the cake until jello sets

trhubarb topping absorbed into cake

When the cake is cool, gently swirl the whipped topping over the cake all the way to the edges. Lick the spatula. (It's required.)

The squiggly design on top is one part Simple Simon, one part Fancy Nancy. I've had the best results dribbling the topping from a small measuring cup with a pour spout. Make four or five lines of dribble lengthwise on the cake and it does not need to be perfect! Skips won't matter.

Now, use a table knife and pull it lightly through both the topping and the dribbled lines. First one way, then in the opposite direction until you run out of cake. Isn't that simple and festive? A cake this cute is a party when it's not even a party!

rhubarb poke cake with topping

Make it even more festive

Knock yourself out, impress your friends! Stud the top with some fresh blueberries. You could even add some tiny paper American flags and they might just crown you Firecracker Queen of the picnic!

What is your absolutely favorite thing to bring to a summer picnic? How do you celebrate the Fourth of July?

If you enjoyed this recipe today, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. I’d sure be tickled and ever so grateful, thank you! 

If you haven’t already, check out my Facebook page where I’ll be posting easy, delicious and family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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4 comments on “Beautiful Rhubarb Poke Cake Recipe”

    1. Oh good grief Gayle I am so thankful for you!!! I left the recipe card out!! Lame lame lame. The answer is 1 1/2 cups and its on the recipe card!!! Thank you thank you thank you!!

  1. Can you make this recipe the day before?
    Or can you make the cake/rhubarb the day before, then the day you are serving put cool whip topping on cake (warm leftover rhubarb for topping)?

    1. I'm not quite sure what you're asking but it sounds like you're wondering if you can bake the cake, NOT make it a poke cake, then serve the cake with whipped topping and rhubarb sauce. If so, sure. The cake made as the recipe indicates is great made the day ahead and if you want to skip the whipped topping and sauce untill you serve it, that would be fine too. If I have that wrong please holler back at me!!

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