Banana Pudding Poke Cake

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Yesterday was the 1st Thursday of March. That means that it was Dive Club meeting. It was also National Banana Cream Pie Day. Here recently I was reading through the March 2017 Southern Living Magazine and ran across this Banana Pudding Poke Cake recipe. It looked phenomenal. I decided that Banana Pudding and Banana Cream Pie are similar enough, it counts so I decided to make the cake for Dive Club. Can I just say, I’m glad I did…. WOW!

They also had a little information about Poke Cakes which I found really interesting and want to condense down and share with you. I loved the opening 2 sentences: “Most cake names don’t include the punch line. But yes, true to its name, a poke cake is a cake that is punctured with holes–on purpose.” Hey that’s pretty cool right?

Usually once the cake is punctured, then the baker adds something sweet over the top that will seep into those holes and add to the richness of the cake. The intent is to infuse a lot of flavor into the cake to add that extra punch of flavor.

Poke cakes popped up in American kitchens in the 1970’s in a print advertisement for Jell-O. The first cake tended to be white so that when you used colorful jello it helped give that pop of color into the delicious dessert.

These cakes never really left the home kitchen though, but here recently they’ve come back in full force with new ideas by home bakers to add new types of flavors to the cake including but not limited to: pudding, mousse, sweetened condensed milk, pastry cream, pureed fruit, fudge, and flavored syrups. Some of these combinations come out so ooey and gooey that instead of being a sliceable cake, they are more like a dessert casserole that must be scooped out of the dish with a spoon.

These cakes are easy to make and delightful to serve whether you use all prepackaged stuff or make it wholly from scratch. And let me tell you… this cake is wonderful! Holy cow!!!

To save a little time I cheated a little with this cake and made the pudding from a box. Everything else was from scratch. I only used one box of pudding mix instead of 2, but my pan was so full I almost didn’t have room to put the whipped cream on. You might want to use a deep dish to make this… but trust me, it’s totally worth it.

I can tell you that finding out what the different National Holidays have been, it’s been causing me to find new and yummy recipes! I’m not sure I can say it enough, I’m glad this one came into my life!

I made the cake while I was at home yesterday and the pudding, but then it had to sit in the fridge. I took the stuff to make the whipped cream topping and the bananas to slice up on top with me to the Dive shop. I had plans to write my blog post for the Extreme Scuba Blog, so it was perfect.

When I finished off the cake, I wanted a sliced picture. One of the guys I think jokingly asked if he could have a piece, you know since it was still like 2 hours before dive club and I think I caught him off guard when I said, that’s fine, but I get to photograph it first.

A lot of people look at me strange when I take pictures of food. I don’t think so much though that he looked at me oddly for taking a picture of it as more because I agreed to actually let him have a piece. I’m nice like that… sometimes.

So since it was already cut in to, there were 3 more pieces missing by the time Dive club started, but that’s all good. I waited for my piece until after I ate my dinner, which was spaghetti, but I ate my piece and finished off my daughter’s piece too. Holy cow!

The cake was a spiced banana cake. Wow, yum! Then the layer of vanilla pudding, I was surprised it wasn’t banana pudding…. Then a layer of sliced bananas and then it was topped off with whipped cream, which I made from scratch, and then baked vanilla wafers. And saying that topped off with whipped cream soooooo made me think of that Thanksgiving Friends episode where Rachael made the trifle from scratch. Anyway… if you try this cake, let me know what you think. Trust me, I’m keeping this recipe!

Banana Pudding Poke Cake

  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c bananas, mashed (about 3-4 large bananas)

Homemade Vanilla Pudding

  •  1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 c milk
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tbsp salted butter

Additional Ingredients

  • 4-5 large, barely ripe bananas, sliced
  • 2 c heavy cream
  • 1/4 c powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20 vanilla wafers, coarsely crushed
  • 2 tbsp salted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar

How to make:
Prepare Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F
  2. Coat 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray (I prefer Baker’s Joy)
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Beat sugar, eggs, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, 1/3 at a time, and beat on low speed until smooth after each addition.
  6. Fold in mashed bananas
  7. Transfer batter to prepared pan
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Transfer to wire rack, and cool 10 minutes.
  10. Using the wooden handle of a spoon, poke deep holes all over the cake (about 5 across by 6 down, for a total of 30 holes)

Prepare the pudding:

  1. Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan; whisk in milk
  2. whisk in egg yolks until well blended.
  3. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  4. Immediately reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring constantly, just until pudding is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pour pudding through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  6. Whisk in vanilla bean paste and butter.
  7. Cool, stirring occasionally, until lukewarm, about 15 minutes.
  8. Spread pudding evenly over cake.
  9. Cover cake with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto pudding to prevent a skin from forming.
  10. Chill the cake for 2 hours to overnight.

Note: Time-Saver Tip: To use instant vanilla pudding instead of homemade, beat 2 (3.4-oz) pkgs of instant vanilla pudding, 4 cups of whole milk, and 1 tbsp vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until thick and smooth.


  1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
  2. Stir together crushed vanilla wafers, melted butter, flour, and sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Press mixture with your fingers to form small clumps, and spread on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake preheated oven until crisp and brown, 5-6 minutes
  5. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.

Whipped Cream:

  1. Remove plastic wrap from cake.
  2. Scatter banana slices evenly over pudding.
  3. Beat heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until thick and spreadable.
  4. Spread over bananas, covering cake in an even layer.
  5. Sprinkle topping over whipped cream topping.
  6. Serve immediately


*Pulled from my old blog Paved Dirt Roads

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