Banana Pudding Poke Cake

The “banana cream pie” I remember from my childhood was a no-bake kind of deal that relied on banana pudding, Nilla Wafers, sliced bananas, and a fair amount of whipped topping. It was all about kitchen shortcuts but it was utterly delicious – I loved it. I can say the same about this simple poke cake, which uses a lot of the same ingredients and results in a sweet and creamy cake that’s moist with banana flavor and incredibly easy to make.

If you haven’t yet had the pleasure, a poke cake is a 9×13 cake that’s literally been “poked” with holes to allow filling – usually instant pudding or jello – to soak down into it. This one uses a box of yellow cake mix, banana pudding, fresh sliced bananas, some whipped topping, and Nilla wafers for topping.

You start by poking holes all over the cake – the end of a wooden spoon works well…

… and pouring the banana pudding across the cake before it has a chance to set. Sliced bananas go on top…

… followed by a layer of whipped topping and banana pudding and a final layer of plain whipped topping.

That is dusted with a coating of crushed Nilla wafer crumbs, which provide just a bit of crunch against the soft and creamy layers below. It’s a tender cake, moist but not soggy, sweet but not cloying, and full of delicious banana flavor. (And it comes together lickety-split!)

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

45 minutes to prepare serves 10-12


  • 1 box yellow cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
  • 2 (5.1 oz) packages instant banana pudding
  • 5 cups milk, divided
  • 1 (16 oz) package frozen whipped topping
  • 4-5 ripe bananas
  • Vanilla wafers, as needed, for garnish


  1. Prepare cake according to directions on box in a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  2. Once the cake has cooled slightly, poke holes all over the cake using the end of a wooden spoon.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together one package of the pudding with 3 cups of milk, then quickly pour over cake before it sets so it can seep down into the holes. Place in refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes.
  4. In the same bowl, whisk together the other package of pudding with 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of the whipped topping. Allow to sit and thicken.
  5. Thinly slice bananas and arrange over the entire cake. Spread pudding/whipped topping mixture over the bananas.
  6. Top with a layer of whipped topping and garnish with crushed and whole vanilla wafers, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Spaceships and Laser Beams.