Banana Poke Cake

banana poke cake with vanilla wafers
The Spruce / Diana Rattray
Prep: 18 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Chill/Cool Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Total: 2 hrs 58 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 1 9-x 13-inch cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
322 Calories
16g Fat
41g Carbs
5g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 322
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 32mg 11%
Sodium 304mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 41g 15%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 24g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 120mg 9%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 129mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This irresistible banana pudding poke cake has all the flavors of a delicious homemade banana pudding. It is unbelievably easy to prepare with a cake mix, vanilla wafers, packaged instant pudding, and frozen whipped topping. If you're a banana pudding fan, you'll love this creative take on an old-fashioned Southern favorite.

The basic yellow cake is infused with rich and creamy banana pudding, then it's topped off with a fluffy whipped topping and crumbled vanilla wafers. For an extra-special presentation, finish each slice of cake with more vanilla wafers and some sliced banana. It's a fantastic dessert to take along to a party or potluck!


  • 15.25-ounce package yellow cake mix (or vanilla)

  • 3 large eggs (or as directed)

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or as directed)

  • 1 cup water (or as directed)

  • 2 (3.4-ounce) packages banana pudding

  • 3 1/2 cups cold milk

  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (thawed)

  • 12 vanilla wafers (crumbled, plus more for garnish)

  • 1 medium banana (thinly sliced)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for the banana pudding poke cake
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-x 13-inch baking pan with butter, then dust with flour (alternatively, you can just grease with baking spray and omit the flour).

    grease and flour the cake pan
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Prepare the cake mix with eggs, vegetable oil, and water, as directed on the package.

    prepare the cake mix
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Spread the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.

    cake batter in the pan
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Following the directions on the cake mix box to bake the cake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the cake on a rack and let it cool for 10 minutes. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke large holes all over the cake.

    poke holes in the yellow cake
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. Prepare the banana pudding with the cold milk, as directed on the package.

    mixing the banana pudding
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Let the pudding stand for 1 or 2 minute to thicken slightly, then pour over the cake, letting it flow into the holes. Spread the pudding evenly to cover the cake. Chill for at least 1 hour or until the pudding is firm.

    spread the banana pudding over the cake
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Spread the thawed whipped topping over the chilled cake, then sprinkle with the crumbled vanilla wafers.

    banana pudding cake overhead with vanilla wafer crumbs
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  9. Serve slices garnished with extra vanilla wafers and banana slices, if desired.

    banana pudding poke cake on a plate
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How to Store and Freeze Leftover Cake

  • Cover uneaten banana poke cake and refrigerate it within 2 hours. Refrigerated, the cake should last for up to 3 days. If using fresh bananas, about 2 days.
  • To freeze individual slices of cake (without garnishes), place slices on a baking sheet and freeze until solid. When the portions are frozen solid, place them in airtight containers. Freeze the cake for up to 3 months.

Recipe Variations

  • To make the cake with fresh bananas, place a layer of sliced bananas over the pudding layer; top with the whipped topping and crushed vanilla wafers. Garnish servings as desired.
  • Replace the frozen whipped topping with freshly whipped cream.
  • Vanilla wafers are the classic cookie, but feel free to use crumbled shortbread cookies or graham crackers for the topping.
  • For a tropical flavor boost, top the pudding with about 1/4 cup of toasted coconut along with the vanilla wafer crumbs.

Can I make this with fresh, homemade ingredients?

Absolutely! You can make this banana pudding cake with a from-scratch yellow cake, homemade pudding (flavored with mashed banana or banana flavoring), and sweetened freshly whipped cream.

What is the best way to thaw frozen whipped topping?

  • The best way to thaw frozen whipped topping is in the refrigerator, which takes about 4 to 5 hours. Since it is a dairy product, never leave it out on the countertop for more than 2 hours.
  • To quickly defrost the whipped topping, fill a large bowl with cold water. Place the unopened frozen whipped topping in the cold water and let it float for about 30 minutes. Check to make sure it has thawed and return it to the fridge until you're ready to use it.