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Strawberry Crunch Poke Cake

Remember those pink and white ice cream bars?

You know those ice cream bars with the amazing strawberry shortcake flavor and the pink and cream crumbly-crunch coating? Yeah… those. I remember them so fondly – just the mention of them brings me back to childhood summers spent at the community pool and carefully counting out quarters to buy one at the snack shack. But that delicious treat isn’t relegated to childhood memories anymore, because we’ve made it into a cake! And it’s a poke cake, so you can be sure that strawberry shortcake flavor runs all the way through.

If you’re not yet familiar, a poke cake is a simple 9×13 cake that you literally poke holes into so the filling has a chance to seep down into every nook and cranny. This gives you a cake that’s full of flavor without the need for stacking and layering – it’s kind of genius. They are also very well suited to boxed cake mixes, so they’re generally a cinch to make too.

This one uses a white cake mix and strawberry jello is poured all over and into the holes so you end up with vibrant streaks of strawberry pink in every slice. But it’s the frosting and crumb topping here that really set this cake apart. They both incorporate freeze-dried strawberries which have an intense, concentrated strawberry flavor and are generally easy to find near the dried fruit in your grocery store.

They’re paired with cream cheese in the frosting, which is honestly pretty irresistible and a great mimic for those shortcake ice cream bars. And the crumb topping? Well, that’s all pulverized golden oreos and freeze-dried strawberries and if you can believe it, that might be even more irresistible than the frosting it tops.

Serves 9

15m prep time

25m cook time

2h inactive

5
Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 3 reviewers
For the cake:
  • 1 (15.25 oz) box white cake mix, plus ingredients called for on box
  • 3 oz box strawberry gelatin
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup cold water
For the frosting:
  • 1 cup sliced freeze-dried strawberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the crunch topping:
  • 20 golden oreos
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup sliced freeze-dried strawberries
  • Fresh strawberries, for garnish, if desired
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Prepare cake mix and bake according to package directions.
  2. Once cake is cool, poke holes all over cake using the end of a wooden spoon.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together strawberry gelatin and boiling water until dissolved. Add cold water and whisk until incorporated.
  4. Pour over cake. Cover and chill at least 2 hours.
  5. Make the frosting:
  6. Using a food processor or blender, process 1 cup freeze dried strawberries into a fine powder.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
  8. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until desired consistency is reached.
  9. Add vanilla and strawberry powder and beat until combined. Spread evenly over cake and chill until ready to serve.
  10. Make the crunch topping:
  11. In a food processor or blender, pulse the oreos into coarse crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse until combined. Add freeze dried strawberries and pulse until combined.
  12. Sprinkle evenly over cake and press to adhere to frosting. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Domestic Rebel.