Banana Pudding Poke Cake

Summer is in full swing, and so is my dessert making obsession. If my coworkers were hoping to slim down at all for bathing suit season, they’re pretty much out of luck. I’m heading up to Shenandoah County this weekend to celebrate the 4th of July with Will and David. It’ll be my first camping experience and I’m super excited! I can’t wait to float down the river with a cold beer and boundless sunshine. I’m sure I’ll report back in next week with a lobster dinner recipe to celebrate my newfound sunburn!


This dessert isn’t winning any presentation blue ribbons, but trust me, it’s delicious!


Does anything say summer quite like banana pudding? Maybe a few things, but I love this dessert because it’s served chilled and perfect for any hot summer afternoon. I think adding fresh bananas just kicks this whole dish to a new level.


So without further ado, let’s get to baking! Recipe credit for the original version of this dessert goes to Brandie at The Country Cook.


First, preheat your oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9×13 cake pan by spraying it with nonstick spray, or coating with butter. In a large mixing bowl or in your stand mixer, combine the cake mix with water, vegetable oil and eggs. Mix well so that the batter is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick test comes back cleans.


Cake is done, now time to cool!


Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled for 5-10 minutes, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes into the cake. Be generous – the holes should go to the bottom of the cake and be evenly spaced about 1” apart all over the surface of the cake.


Cover the cake in holes so the pudding can soak in


While the cake continues to cool, prepare the banana pudding by mixing the pudding pouches with the milk. Whisk vigorously until the pudding is completely smooth. Pour the pudding over the cake, being sure to cover the whole surface of the cake. For good measure, run the back of a spoon across the surface of the cake to help extra pudding into the holes in the cake.


Cover the cake in pudding then store in the fridge to set.


At this point, if you are not immediately serving the cake, cover tight with plastic wrap and refrigerate until you are ready to serve. The cake should keep for several days if kept in the fridge.


For immediate (sort of) serving, you’ll still need to cover the cake and allow it to cool for 2 hours. This allows the pudding to set completely. While the pudding is setting, place the Nilla wafers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.


Crush the Nilla wafers – they don’t have to be uniform, this isn’t an exact science.


After the pudding has set, dice the bananas into coins about ¼” thick. Lay the banana coins on the cake, making sure to cover the entire surface.


Cover the cake in fresh diced bananas.


Next, spread the Cool Whip over the bananas, covering the entire cake.


Cool Whip!


Finally, sprinkle the crushed wafers over the cake. Serve immediately, while the cake is still cool.


Sprinkle the Nilla wafers over the cake just before serving


This cake is served directly from the baking dish, so grab a spatula and dig in!


Enjoy while chilled


5 from 1 reviews
Banana Pudding Poke Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is the perfect, refreshing summer dessert! And its so easy to make!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 18 servings
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 3.4-oz packages banana pudding
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 8-oz tub Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 4-5 large bananas
  • 20-30 Nilla wafers
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Prepare a 9x13 cake pan by spraying with nonstick spray or coating with butter
  2. Prepare the cake mix by combining the boxed mix with the water, oil, and eggs. Beat well to combine.
  3. Bake 35-40 minutes or until the cake is cooked in the center (use a toothpick to test)
  4. Remove cake from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 5-10 minutes. After cooling, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake. Be generous, the goal is to allow as much pudding as possible into the holes in the cake! See the above photos for more guidance.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the instant pudding and milk. Whisk well to create a smooth pudding. Pour the pudding over the cake, spreading it into the holes and over the entire surface.
  6. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place the cake in the fridge and allow to completely set and cool (2+ hours). In this state, the cake can be kept for up to 2 days. Follow the final instructions only when you are ready to serve.
  7. When ready to serve, dice the bananas into coins about ¼” thick. Completely cover the cake in bananas, then spread with the tub of cool whip.
  8. Dump the Nilla wafers into a large plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them into crumbs. Spread them over the cake only just before you serve.
  9. Use a spatula to divide and serve the cake straight from the baking pan! Enjoy while chilled!


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