Strawberry and Blueberry Poke Cake

Strawberry and Blueberry Poke Cake for the 4th of July includes fresh strawberries and blueberries for syrups that are poured into each cake layer and then it’s frosted with whipped cream and topped with more berries; perfect for a celebration!

Fresh Strawberry & Blueberry Poke Cake with Real Fruit Syrups and Whipped Cream

I don’t usually do theme foods; especially those with patriotic theme colors; or at least I haven’t since my children were small and I might have made something fun for their July 4th, Halloween or Christmas school events. But I felt called to make this Strawberry and Blueberry Poke Cake; it’s just right for a holiday!

The Food Network theme this week for #SummerSoiree is 4th of July and anything goes so I wanted to share this cake again that I first published a couple of years ago. It was such a smash hit it’s sort of expected on the holiday now and I’m good with that.

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The only changes I’ve made? I have new cake pans I love; their sides are totally straight up and down and not slanted like my old ones which found a new home via Goodwill.

I have learned to poke my holes a bit deeper than I did the first time…it’s lovely to see the striation go even further through with this Strawberry and Blueberry Poke Cake.

When I first saw a photo of this cake I thought is was simple and elegantly pretty and I loved that it was made using real ingredients. I have to be honest, a friend that shall go un-named tweeted a link to Pinterest for the cake and said she was making it but was using straight jello; no real fruit, Cool Whip and a boxed cake mix.

That’s really not all that unusual for some of these color extravaganzas but I was more excited to make a recipe from scratch; OK, save for a few grains of jello and a few drops of color, but still much more my style.

I enjoy the process of mixing and baking, even if every cake made in our thinner air in Denver is a gamble. Having a cake come out of the oven with a perfectly beautiful domed top? Not always assured.

For others at high altitude I’ve found through a lot of trial and even more error that ‘typically’ I get good results if I beat the mixture a bit less than specified and then bake it in an oven with the temp raised 10 degrees.

That higher heat will help set the ingredients that are rising faster and hopefully avoid the abysmal fall in the center that so often happens at altitude.

I have to bake cakes a bit less too but no proscribed amount; I usually cut off about 15 minutes and start testing from that point. By the way, despite living at altitude, I make those adjustments for myself; the recipes I include are for people baking at sea level, or what we call ‘flatlanders.’

Fresh Strawberry & Blueberry Poke Cake Decorated with Fresh Berries and Real Whipped Cream

What I really love is that just by changing up some colors and garnish, this Strawberry and Blueberry Poke Cake could be perfect for Mardi Gras, Christmas, St. Paddy’s Day, Valentine’s Day; even a birthday cake with the recipient’s favorite colors. Different fruit syrups and different colors and voila, it’s a year round cake! That it tastes SO good is almost a bonus!

When I made this cake I was in between homes and living with neighbors in my old neighborhood waiting for the house I’m in now to be finished. For a July 4th party at their home, I forgot that people would have no clue about what I do; I know I overheard, “Why the heck is one slice already cut from what would be a perfectly pretty cake?”

Oops…but it’s what I do; hey, maybe I could simply call it quality control and everyone would be happy? 🙂

A Strawberry & Blueberry Poke Cake with Real Fruit Syrups and Whipped Cream

I love this country of ours; the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, the US seems to be loved and hated with equal measure around the globe but I can not think of any other place on this planet that I would want to call home.

I often wish others could see the real America; not the abrasive politics or the idiotic celebrities but the real common person, the neighbor next door and for me now, the wonderful kids all up and down my street.

The land of millions of people who are kind and thoughtful and too often unheralded. It is to you that I wish a Happy Fourth of July. God Bless America…the land that I love.

Source: The Galley Gourmet – Cake Adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, and

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As mentioned, this weeks theme for the Food Network #SummerSoiree is anything goes for the 4th of July so you have a wide selection of great foods to choose from. Salads, veggies, burgers and a bunch of desserts. I’ll see you again tomorrow with a cocktail I think perfect for the 4th. There is bourbon and cherries; don’t miss it!

The Heritage Cook: Tangy Caprese Salad with Pickled Cherries (Gluten-Free)
Bacon and Souffle: Red, White and Blue Bark
Healthy Eats: 5 Frozen Treats for a Sweet Fourth
Taste with the Eyes: Dessert for the 4th of July: Elderflower Berry Pavlova
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Best Ever Elk Burgers For The 4th of July
Red or Green: Roasted Sweet Pepper Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Heirloom Tomato Pie
Homemade Delish: 4th of July Cheesecake
FN Dish: Portable Picks to Make and Take on July 4th

PIN IT! ‘Fresh Strawberry and Blueberry Patriotic Poke Cake’

A Strawberry & Blueberry Poke Cake with Real Fruit Syrups and Whipped Cream
Fresh Strawberry & Blueberry Poke Cake with Real Fruit Syrups and Whipped Cream

Strawberry and Blueberry Patriotic Poke Cake

An old fashioned cake updated with fresh ingredients; this Red, White and Blue Poke Cake is patriotic and delicious!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Cakes, Cupcakes & Cheesecake
Cuisine American
Servings 10 Servings
Calories 465 kcal


For the Cake:

  • 2 ¼ cups cake flour
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¼ cups buttermilk room temperature ( I substituted with 1 1/4 cups 2% milk and a Tbsp of lemon juice that I allowed to sit for 5 minutes before mixing)
  • 4 extra large egg whites; room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons 4-ounces unsalted butter; room temperature
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Blueberry Syrup:

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon berry-flavored gelatin
  • 3 drops of blue food coloring optional

For the Strawberry Syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries hulled
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Strawberry gelatin

For the Frosting:

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons Knox gelatin
  • 3 ½ cups whipped cream
  • 3 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Strawberries and Blueberries for garnish


For The Cake

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round baking pans and set them aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until they are light and creamy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla and scrape down the sides of the bowl; beat again.
  • Add one-third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
  • Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.
  • Add the rest of the milk-egg mixture, beating until the batter is smooth and then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared baking pans and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.Let cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack, at least one hour.
  • Remove cakes from pans and place on a piece of plastic wrap.

For the Blueberry Syrup

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the blueberries, 3/4 cup water, and 2 Tbsp sugar, partially covered, until blueberries are softened, about 8 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl and discard solids.
  • Whisk berry-flavored gelatin and food coloring into the juices and cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

For the Strawberry Syrup

  • In another medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the strawberries, 1/2 cup water and 2 Tbsp sugar, partially covered, until berries are softened, about 15 minutes.
  • Strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl and discard solids.
  • Whisk strawberry gelatin into the juices and cool slightly, about 15 minutes.

To Assemble the Cake

  • Using a skewer, poke 25 holes in the top of each cake, twisting gently to form larger holes. Pour cooled blueberry syrup over one cake layer.
  • Repeat with cooled strawberry syrup and second cake layer.
  • Cover cakes with plastic wrap and refrigerate until gelatin is set, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours. I put mine in the freezer overnight; I think frozen cake layers are much easier to frost.

For the Frosting

  • Make the whipped cream stabilizer by adding the gelatin to the cold water and letting it sit for a minute. Microwave on high for just long enough to become liquid; mine took about 10 seconds then let cool for one minute.
  • In a large chilled bowl, beat cream and sugar until soft peaks form; while mixer is running add stabilizer and mix thoroughly to incorporate. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To Assemble the Cake

  • Place blueberry cake, syrup side up, on a platter. Spread 1 cup of whipped cream over top.
  • Place strawberry cake layer, syrup side up, on top of whipped cream.
  • Spread remaining whipped cream over top and sides of cake.
  • Garnish with additional blueberries and strawberries.


I used a serrated knife to smooth the top and sides and an icing tip to decorate the borders with the whipping cream.
Cake can be made and refrigerated or frozen up to two days in advance. [br][br]If freezing; remove from freezer one hour before serving.


Nutrition Facts
Strawberry and Blueberry Patriotic Poke Cake
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword blueberries, dessert, fourth of july, july 4th, poke cake, strawberries
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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    1. Thanks…we do tend to devour this one pretty easily and I always wish I had made two for a crowd.

  1. Used this cake recipe, not as poke cake, but for birthday layer cake. So light, moist and fluffy. I have not had good success with high altitude recipes for white cake, so I am excited to have this one. Delicious! Made it in a 9″ x 13″ pan and it worked very well and stayed nice and level.

    1. That is great to hear! I didn’t revise it for high altitude but I actually had a baker tell me that the best method for baking at altitude less than 5500 feet was to simply up the oven temp a bit and cook for shorter times. The higher temps will help dough to set as it rises faster and it’s been working for me. Glad you enjoyed!

  2. This looks really good. I can’t wait to try this. I love making poke cakes and did one red, white and blue for memorial day. MaryKaye recently posted.. You are what you eat. Did I read that right?

    1. Thanks Liz, I was beyond pleased with the results. Even if I want to try a different method to get the syrups to navigate further down (I’ve heard I should try a straw), the taste and texture was simply wonderful (Did you notice a reference to Dorie…we know any cake of hers is going to be good, right?). As much as anything I love that the syrup is on the inside…it can be made in so many different flavors and colors but best of all? It’s a surprise! 🙂

  3. The last few sentences resonates with the exact sentiments I have for this country. I can’t wait for the day when I take the oath for US citizenship. Only a few more years and till then, I’ll enjoy all the freedom and meeting kind loving people around me 🙂

    Happy 4th, Barb. A beautiful celebratory cake!

  4. What passion, love and honest efforts you put into making this blockbuster cake ! I could eat the whole thing in a wink…yes, it looks THAT good 🙂

    Happy 4th of July !

  5. What a pretty cake, Barb! If anyone asks or complains about the missing slice then don’t serve them any!! I love the effort you went to making the colorful syrups– really worth it when you see your finished product. I am tempted to drop by your house and make it two pieces of missing cake! Hope you enjoy the 4th!

    1. Better hurry; we’re having company just for dessert today! Have a great holiday Holly AND…busy Monday evening? I’ve been invited to bring some friends to Macaroni Grill and I’ve been too busy to do a good job of putting it together. Please join us if you can…let me know; probably 6ish. The usual suspects. 🙂

  6. Happy 4th! Funny, I was going to make a similar cake for today but husband nipped it in the bud and not because he is French (bleu blanc rouge!) but because he is dieting. I want a slice of that cake. And I am writing a 4th of July post in extremis (I never DO holidays!) and preparing a different sweet treat. But I still want a slice of this cake.

    1. If not for company coming over today I would have hesitated…but then I could be eating a piece for breakfast now huh. Shoot, shoulda thought of that! Wish you were here to help me. 🙂

  7. I know how you feel. I live in Australia but I’d never give up my American citizenship. It’s who I am.

    That cake would be perfect any time of the year, just remove the sparkly thing. I love it.

    1. But I love the sparkly thing and think one can serve cake with sparkly things all year round! How about for Bastille Day?

      1. I REALLY hesitated with the sparkly thing…but thought it was simple enough to not make it look gaudy. I like sparkle but tasteful sparkle? 🙂

  8. What a pretty cake! And I love that you made it from scratch. It has been a long, long time since I made a “poke” cake. They make such a lovely presentation.

    And…so totally agree with your remarks about the “real” America. Too bad the rest of the world doesn’t get to see it from the inside like we do.

    1. It’s my first poke cake and I have some learning to do…I expected striations from top to bottom…guess I need a bigger poker! Thanks Lana and have a wonderful holiday.

    1. Thanks Laura…I was pleased with it and now it’s been the devil keeping people’s hands off it for today; finally tucked it in the freezer to get it out of sight!

  9. I wish we could have seen the picture of Emily but I will wait patiently for next year! This is a lovely looking cake and thank you for your dedicated quality control efforts.
    For those that would have the gall to state that the cake would be perfect save the missing slice…No Cake For You!!!
    Thanks so much for the mention Barb, I really appreciate it. As much as I love my country, I know it is not perfect. We have our issues North of the border just as you do in the States. I have been to some of your States and I’ve met some of your citizens and I think no matter where you travel, everyone is proud to pieces of their homelands. Some scandolous politians and self-centred celebrities, we all have them but thankfully they are not truly representative of the wonderful peoples of all of our nations which so proudly make up our countries.
    Wishing you a wonderful Independence Day Barb and very honoured to call you my American friend.

    1. I know…so wish I could have included it too Paula; so much stuff I miss…I am DYING to get my own home as soon as possible!

      I’m honored back…I simply adore you!

  10. Just lovely, Barb–and I’m totally with you. Not a fan of the whole boxed mix/canned frosting shenanigans that I see so frequently around the blogosphere.

    I also love what you said about the *real* USA. Hear hear. =)

    1. You aren’t??? Well color me red, white and blue! Oh Barb would NEVER use a boxed mix! She’s one of us 🙂

      1. Thanks Jamie…but I must confess. I make a great rum cake from one of those very old recipes that uses a box mix, a package of pudding and some booze. I’m recreated it from scratch but my friends urge me to reconsider; thinking it’s OK if I offer one recipe that’s quick and easy, especially over the holidays. I’m pondering…would the memory be the same if the recipe were totally different?

  11. I hope I’m not double commenting here – the last one disappeared into the ether! Anyway, people who visit our house are also used to weird food presentations – the missing slice and all. This is a terrific looking cake – it looks totally gorgeous. For someone who doesn’t do theme foods, this is wonderful (and all the people that love to do theme posts are jealous!). Fun post. I hope you have a happy 4th!

    1. I don’t know why that happens sometimes John…but I’ve deleted the 2nd one. Thanks so much for your kind words; I used to make and decorate a lot more cakes when my children were younger. Those were hard…ballerinas, music notes, even a bubble gum machine. But I like to bring out the trusty tips occasionally…amazing what a serrated blade and an icing tip can do to fuss up a plain cake! Wishing the same to you John!

  12. What a lovely looking cake, so pretty! It looks lovely and light too! Wish we could share some together. Happy 4th to you Barb! x

    1. My wish too Jayne…the only negative about Twitter is meeting people you just seriously want to know IRL and they live across a stupid ocean from you!

  13. Just beautiful, Barb! And, hooray! I’m so glad you did this red, white and blue patriotic layer cake in celebration of our independence from England. It is a stunner of a cake and probably tastes eons better than those Jell-O “poke cakes” made from a boxed mix and frosted with Cool Whip! Was so proud of Michelle over at Brown Eyed Baker, too, for going red, white and blue with a “from scratch” cake. Hers is decorated with berries to resemble our beloved American flag. I’m feeling guilty that I didn’t feature a red, white and blue dessert. (I’ve been on a berry kick though!) But, I decided to concentrate on what I’m making for our celebration as well as wrapping up a gluten-free cake flour blend to help those celiacs and wheat sensitive peeps out when it comes to converting recipes calling for cake flour. You did it for all of us! Beautiful piping and photography, too. Thanks so much for sharing. Wish I could share a slice with you and have you over to share our offerings. Fun cocktails are planned, too! Have a happy, fun and meaningful Independence Day celebration and an enjoyable long holiday weekend, my friend! Pinning! xoxo

    1. Know the difference between me and a recipe developer? I just make it once and pray. 🙂 And this time it worked…the cake is absolutely fabulous but then I knew it had some of Dorie Greenspan in it and I had little to worry about. I saw Michele’s cake too…I’ve ton flag cakes when my kids were younger but know what I love about this cake. Change those colors and you can celebrate almost any holiday! I’ve already had a friend ask me to make one for a Broncos game in the fall…orange and blue are not my favorite color combo but I can handle them INSIDE!

      Have a great holiday Stacy and stay safe!

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