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
- 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
- Prepare cake according to directions on box in a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Once the cake has cooled slightly, poke holes all over the cake using the end of a wooden spoon.
- 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.
- 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.
- Thinly slice bananas and arrange over the entire cake. Spread pudding/whipped topping mixture over the bananas.
- 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.