A Healthy Spin on Classic Poke Cake
Your soon-to-be favorite cake recipe has arrived! This delectable and absolutely heavenly poke cake is perfect for summer entertaining!
Moist, light, creamy… can it get any better than that? It does! Lemon and Elderberry are joining the party, and they’re here to take this cake to a whole new level.
This Lemon Elderberry Poke Cake is made with a healthy vanilla cake mix doctored up with lemon zest. Then, it’s covered in elderberry sauce and topped with a sinful whipped cream topping and fresh berries. Yum!
If your mouth isn’t watering yet, it will be soon… Get ready to indulge in this scrumptious cake and feel marvelous about your health at the same time. This guilt-free recipe is proof that sweet treats can also be nutrient-dense and immune-boosting. This cake is the best of both worlds.
What Makes This Poke Cake so Healthy?
This Lemon Elderberry Poke Cake is loaded with real and clean ingredients — from the cake to the frosting, and everything in between.
Let’s take a look at each layer and what makes them so delightful for not only your tastebuds but your overall health and immunity as well.
Have you heard of the brand Simple Mills? It’s a favorite in our household. Only whole food ingredients, nothing artificial ever!
For this recipe, we’re going with Simple Mills Almond Flour Vanilla Cupcake & Cake Baking Mix.
There are eight ingredients total in this gluten-free cake mix. Seven are from the cake mix, and we’ll be adding some lemon zest to liven things up a bit.
- Almond Flour
- Organic Coconut Sugar
- Organic Coconut Flour
- Baking Soda
- Sea Salt
- Vanilla Bean
- Lemon Zest
This almond flour cake mix is also grain-free and paleo-friendly. The cake mix calls for:
THE BERRY SAUCE
Now we get to my favorite part of the cake, the berry sauce. It’s jam-packed with vitamins A, B, C, and powerful antioxidants.
The sauce is the key ingredient in this recipe. It’s who we can thank in the end for a moist and flavorful cake.
Make this delicious sauce with 3 simple ingredients:
- Organic Elderberry Syrup – try to use syrup sweetened with honey
- Strawberries – fresh or frozen, whichever you prefer
- Cornstarch – always look for non-GMO
It’s as easy as slicing up strawberries, adding in the elderberry syrup and cornstarch — then allowing these ingredients to simmer and thicken.
Creamy, light, and oh so dreamy! The frosting makes or breaks a cake, and I’m here to tell you — this frosting won’t let you down.
It’ll even convince you to come back for seconds. It’s ok though, we’re a fan of seconds around here.
We’ll whip up this gorgeous fluffy frosting with just two ingredients:
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Honey or Maple Syrup
This frosting is so easy to make that you can even have the kiddos jump in to do this one on their own.
Gluten-free and easy to spread, this will be your favorite go-to for all your frosting needs.
What Exactly Is a Poke Cake?
A poke cake is a cake that you poke holes in after baking. True to its name, and there’s a purpose. After poking holes, you pour over the delicious sauce that runs down into those holes and soaks into the cake.
The intent is to lock in extra moisture, flavor, and color into every slice.
Poke cakes started appearing in American kitchens in the 1970s. A Jello ad promoted this quick-and-easy dessert with cake mix, jello, and cool whip.
The original poke cake was a white cake mix so that it became a blank slate for all the different colors the Jello brand had to offer.
Today we’ve crafted all sorts of versions of this traditional poke cake. Different flavors of cake, cakes made from scratch, and a variety of clever fillings to pour over these holey desserts.
I’ve been craving this dessert lately and seeing recipes pop up everywhere now that warmer weather is approaching.
I wanted to find a way to make this cake delicious and nourishing, and that’s exactly what this recipe delivers.
How To Make This Glorious Cake
Here’s what you’ll need.
- 1 box of Simple Mills Almond Flour Vanilla Cupcake & Cake Baking Mix
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Organic Elderberry Syrup
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 Tbsp honey or pure maple syrup
STEP 1: BAKE THE CAKE
First, you’ll want to make the cake! Simply follow the instructions on the back of your Simple Mills Baking Mix box.
Mix according to directions. Then add fresh lemon zest to the batter.
Be careful to not over stir. Once in the oven, it’ll take about 30-35 minutes.
STEP 2: MAKE THE SAUCE
Let the cake cool slightly, and while you’re waiting — start your sauce.
In a pot, you’ll mix elderberry syrup, diced strawberries (fresh or frozen), and cornstarch. Cook over medium to simmer and thicken. This won’t take long so watch carefully.
Once the sauce is thickened, immediately add fresh lemon juice. Stir the lemon juice in well and remove the sauce from heat.
STEP 3: POKE THOSE HOLES
Now comes the fun part… poking those holes in your slightly cooled cake!
If you start poking holes when the cake is too warm, you’ll get a lot of crumbly pieces on top of your cake which can make it harder to frost later.
For poking holes, I typically use the thick end of a chopstick. Other utensils you can use could be anything such as a straw, a knife sharpening rod, or the end of a spoon.
Just make sure the holes are large enough to allow the sauce to fill in.
STEP 4: FILL THOSE HOLES
Cake… check! Sauce… check! Time to bring these two together.
Pour your homemade sauce over the cake allowing it to fill and soak into all of the holes you’ve made.
Some of the sauce will be left sitting on top of the cake, especially the strawberries. This is exactly what you want.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably tempted at this point to pick a little and taste. But just hold on!
Put the cake in the fridge to cool while you make some super easy and super creamy frosting.
STEP 5: MAKE THE FROSTING
In a mixing bowl, you’ll combine heavy cream and either pure maple syrup or honey — your choice. Whip on medium-high until stiff peaks form. Once your cake is cooled, frost away.
Don’t be shy with it! I mean c’mon… you can never have too much frosting!
STEP 6: ADD TOPPINGS
Garnish away! Sprinkle this gorgeous cake with fresh fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, and even shredded coconut.
This is what you’ll get. A gorgeous summer cake bursting with fresh flavors. Nourishing with real whole foods and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. I promise you’ll love it!
The most important part of this step? Indulge in a piece or two (no one’s telling) and give your tastebuds the satisfaction they’ve been craving from the start.