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A slice of the 4th of July poke cake on a wooden plate with berries to the side.

4th of July Poke Cake

Make it a festive, delicious summer celebration with this 4th of July poke cake! Featuring a sweet, fresh strawberry filling and homemade sponge cake, this patriotic poke cake puts a gourmet spin on this favorite party dessert. It's one guaranteed crowd-pleasing summer cake.
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 15 servings
Calories 254kcal


  • Mixing bowls
  • Stand or hand mixer
  • Medium saucepan
  • 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan


Sponge Cake

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour spooned and leveled to measure
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder see note for high-altitude baking
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs separated into whites and yolks
  • 1 cup white sugar spooned and leveled to measure, divided
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • cup whole milk

Fresh Strawberry and Milk Fillings

  • 1 pound strawberries hulled and halved
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 (14)-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12)-ounce can of evaporated milk

Homemade Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
  • Desired toppings such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sprinkles, etc.


Sponge Cake

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the six egg yolks on high speed with ¾ cup sugar and vanilla extract until the mixture is pale yellow, thick and ribbons of egg yolk stream down when you lift the beater.
  • In another mixing bowl, beat the six egg whites on high speed with the remaining ¼ cup sugar and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  • Stir in the milk into the egg yolk mixture. Add half of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Repeat with the second half of dry ingredients.
  • Gently fold in the egg whites. Continue to fold until you can no longer see any white.
  • Pour into greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when you insert a toothpick, and it comes out clean. Allow to cool completely.

Strawberry and Milk Fillings

  • While the cake bakes, add the strawberries and sugar to a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the strawberries break down and release their juices.
  • Move the strawberries to a blender. Process until smooth.
  • Once the cake cools, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake about an inch apart. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk and pour all over the cake, ensuring the mixture gets into those holes. The milk will also remain on the surface of the cake, which is totally fine.
  • Repeat with the strawberry filling. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours or up to two days to give the cake time to absorb the fillings.

Whipped Cream

  • Before serving, add the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form.
  • Spread whipped cream all over cake. Add desired toppings and serve. Enjoy!



  • For baking at 5,280 feet above sea level, I reduced the baking powder to 1 ¾ teaspoons. Everything else stayed the same.
  • When measuring, spoon and level your ingredients with a knife into the measuring cup. Do not scoop the measuring cup to fill. This packs in too much of your ingredient and can throw off the recipe.
  • Check the date on your baking soda. If it's expired, you absolutely must replace it for the cake to rise.
  • Be careful when separating the eggs. We don't want a drop of egg yolk in our egg whites. For easier separation, I recommend taking care of this step when the eggs are cold straight out of the refrigerator. Egg yolks that have warmed to room temperature can more easily slip into the egg whites.
  • Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 174mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 1mg