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Banana Pudding Poke Cake (+Video)

Banana Pudding Poke Cake is an easy dessert recipe made with cake mix poked with banana pudding, topped with Cool Whip and crushed Nilla Wafers!

AN EASY BANANA PUDDING INSPIRED CAKE

The inspiration for this Banana Pudding Poke Cake actually started out at work. My co-worker, Heather, loves Banana Pudding. But my other co-worker, Amanda does not like bananas – at all. She likes the flavor of bananas but not the texture. But everyone loves cake! So the idea of the banana poke cake was born. All the banana pudding flavors you love – in cake form. This cake is on a different level of delicious! It is so good and will not disappoint!

bite of banana poke cake.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ’S)

Can you add sliced bananas to this cake?

Yes but they will turn brown as soon as you slice into the cake; so if you plan on serving this over the course of a couple of days, just keep in mind those bananas will turn brown and this cake won’t be as pretty. If you are serving it all the on the same day then you can do that. It all depends on your preference.

Can you use other flavors of cake mix and pudding?

Yes! The sky is the limit with poke cakes! Since creating this specific banana poke cake recipe in 2012, I have added about thirty five poke cake combinations. Some of the most popular ones are: Boston Cream Poke Cake, Red Velvet Poke Cake, Oreo Pudding Poke Cake and Lemon Blueberry Poke Cake. I have list of all my poke cake recipes here.

Can this cake be frozen?

Yes. As long as it is covered well to protect against freezer burn. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and not on the counter.

Will this work with the new size of cake mixes?

Yes. When I first shared this recipe in 2012, cake mix sizes were 18.5 ounces, then went down to 15.25 ounces and some are now down to 13.25 ounces. I have tried it with every size and it all still works. Duncan Hines (as of writing this post) is still at 15.25 ounces. Betty Crock and others have gone down to the 13.25 ounces. Duncan Hines is my personal favorite brand but they all work.

How to store leftover banana poke cake?

Leftovers should be stored covered, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake recipe from The Country Cook. Close up photo of a slice on a small white round plate.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • yellow cake mix – you could use any flavor of cake you think would go well with the banana pudding. Since sharing this recipe, Dolly Parton has come out with a line of cake mixes and one is a banana flavor (paid affiliate link) so you could really go all out with all banana by using that cake mix. Or you can make a homemade yellow cake.
  • ingredients needed to make cake – you are going to use the amounts of eggs, oil and water that are on the back of the cake mix box.
  • instant banana pudding DO NOT GET COOK & SERVE PUDDING OR IT WON’T SET UP. Cook and serve requires heat before it will set up. I’ve had this recipe on my site for over 12 years and this issue still comes up so I am trying to make it as obvious as possible. You have to be very careful when looking at the packaging because the word “Instant” can be small on the box. If it is not instant, it will not set up and you’ll end up with a wet mess. Or, you can make my homemade vanilla pudding recipe and instead of adding the vanilla extract, use banana extract.
  • milk – I prefer to use a while milk. I definitely would not use a skim milk. I have never made pudding with milk alternatives so I am not familiar with how those set up.
  • whipped topping (Cool Whip) – if you want to make your own homemade whipped cream, you can. Just remember that homemade whipped cream is not as stable as whipped topping so if you aren’t planning to eat it the same day you make it, the homemade whipped cream will start to break down and lose it’s stability.
  • Nilla wafers – normally I am totally fine with the store brand of things but not with the wafers. I have never found a store brand or other brand of wafers that taste as good as the name brand (and I try a lot pretty often) so I think this should be name brand if you can afford it.
ingredients needed to make cake: yellow cake mix, Nilla wafers, instant vanilla pudding, cool whip, bananas.

HOW TO MAKE BANANA PUDDING POKE CAKE

Prepare cake mix according to package directions for a 9×13-inch cake. Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes. Then, with a wooden spoon handle or some other similarly-sized object, begin poking holes in the cake. You want the holes to be fairly big so that the pudding has plenty of room to get down in there. Be sure to poke right down to the bottom of the cake.

In a bowl, whisk together instant pudding with 4 cups milk. Stir until all the lumps are gone. Let pudding sit for about 1-2 minutes so it has just slightly begun to thicken but not fully set, it should still be easily pourable.

collage of two photos: a round object poking holes into a baked cake; whisking together milk and pudding mix in a bowl.

Pour pudding over cake. Taking care to get it into the holes as much as possible. Spread it all out and using the back of the spoon gently push pudding down into the holes.

collage of two photos: during pudding into holes in cake; a spoon spreading and pushing pudding down into the holes.

Put the pudding into the fridge to set and cool. Once your cake has completely cooled, spread on whipped topping. Sprinkle crushed wafers onto the top of the cake. You can do this part immediately before serving the cake if you like. This will ensure the wafers are crunchy when you serve it.

collage of two photos: spreading whipped topping on cooled cake; crushed Nilla wafers sprinkled on top of cake.

I think this cake gets more delicious over time. To me, it’s even better the next day so it’s a great dessert to make ahead of time. Serve with freshly sliced bananas. Keep refrigerated.

Best Banana Poke Cake on a plate.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: June 2012
Updated photos and republished: March 2024

Banana Pudding Poke Cake recipe.

Banana Pudding Poke Cake (+Video)

Banana Pudding Poke Cake is an easy dessert recipe made with cake mix poked with banana pudding, topped with Cool Whip and crushed Nilla Wafers! 
4.95 from 150 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ingredients needed to make cake: eggs, oil and water (use the amounts given on the back of the box)
  • 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant banana pudding
  • 4 cups cold milk (I prefer whole or 2% milk – do not use skim)
  • 8 ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool Whip)
  • 20 vanilla wafers, crushed

Instructions

  • Prepare 1 box yellow cake mix with ingredients needed to make cake: eggs, oil and water according to package directions for a 9×13-inch cake.
  • Once cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes.
  • Then, with a wooden spoon handle, begin poking holes in the cake. You want the holes to be big enough so that the pudding has plenty of room to get down in there. Be sure to poke right down to the bottom of the cake.
    poking holes into baked yellow cake
  • In a bowl, whisk together 2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant banana pudding with 4 cups cold milk. Stir quickly until all the lumps are gone but before the mixture starts getting too thick to pour.
    whisking together milk and instant pudding.
  • Pour pudding over cake. Taking care to pour it right into the holes as much as possible.
    pouring pudding mix over cake with holes in it.
  • Spread it all out and using the back of the spoon, gently push pudding down into the holes.
    spreading out pudding over cake.
  • Put the cake into the refrigerator to set and cool (about 2 hours.)
  • Once the cake has completely cooled, spread on 8 ounce tub frozen whipped topping, thawed.
    spreading whipped topping on top of cooled cake.
  • Sprinkle 20 vanilla wafers, crushed onto the top of the cake before serving. Keep refrigerated.
    crushed vanilla wafers spread on top of cake.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Please refer to my FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
  • You can spread the crushed wafers immediately before serving each slice if you like. This will ensure the wafers are crunchy when you serve it.
  • A layer of freshly sliced bananas can be put on in between the pudding and the whipped topping layers. Note: when you slice the cake, the bananas will start turning brown so try to serve it all the same day it is made. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 270kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 405mg | Sugar: 26g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




330 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is a keeper! I made a few tweaks – added a layer of fresh bananas on top of the pudding layer and I did homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. It was a hit!

  2. 5 stars
    I made this for my 81-year-old Dad and he loved it! His wife passed away10 years ago and he loved her banana pudding. He said this was even better because it was a cake too! Like others, I added a layer of bananas on top of the pudding before the Cool Whip layer,otherwise followed the recipe. I love making several types of poke cakes and will definitely make this one again.

  3. 5 stars
    OMG this is so YUMMY!! My Hubby & I loved this banana pudding poke cake!! The best….:) Thanks for all your recipes;love your website. 🙂

  4. I love your recipes, but every time I try to print one off, the recipe is blocked out in parts by advertisements. very frustrating!

  5. 5 stars
    Hi Brandie! I absolutely love your poke cakes! They are always a hit, and the banana one is perfect for summer get-together. I am a butterscotch fan, and I was wondering if you have a recipe for that flavor. Thanks for all the great recipes!

      1. Great!! I’m sure you’ll come up with something delicious! Would be a good fall recipe! Thanks!! ????

  6. 5 stars
    This cake is simply amazing. So easy!! I’m addicted to anything banana and this is one of the recipes I can make over and over again and love each and every time.

  7. I want to make 100 mini servings of this recipe. My plan is to make the mini cakes, freeze them, layering the pudding and whipped cream one day prior to serving. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep the cakes from being to dry since I am not pouring the pudding over warm cake?

  8. 5 stars
    Can all of these ingredients be substituted for sugar free? Im looking for a sugar free poke cake recipe. This one seems perfect and I’d imagine it would all work the same, yes?

  9. Pingback: Banana Pudding Poke Cake - Testing for the Best Thing
  10. My boyfriend loves this cake!

    I add a box of banana pudding mix to the cake batter. I then make a batch of pudding to pour in the holes.

    I sometimes add the ban as between the pudding and cool whip, they stay put for two days!

    Great recipe!

    1. It is certainly a winner no matter how you make it! Glad you and your boyfriend love it.

  11. I just made one with pistachio pudding. Going to put fresh whip cream on top later and have a piece. Will let you know how it taste.
    Thank you so much for the website.

  12. I'm making one now. I'm going to make it with pistachio pudding cause I don't have vanilla. Will let you know how it comes out. Thank you.

  13. Made this and it was delicious! Made a couple alterations. Replced the oil in the cake with naners and used banana milk in the pudding. YUM!

  14. Has anyone tried cook and serve pudding in place of the instant? I was thinking about trying it to see if the warmth of cooking the pudding would create an even more moist cake and fill the poke holes better before refrigerating to cool. ….?any thoughts?

  15. I have made this two times already, and I am making this right now to take to my moms for thanksgiving. Everyone loves it, but I go a step further and add banana slices on top of the pudding. Its just like eating the real thing, but the cake part just makes it awesome!