This Almond Lemon Poke Cake is actually an old recipe that I’ve been wanting to breathe some life into because it absolutely deserves it.

This is a soft, fluffy almond sheet cake that is then filled with lemon curd and topped with an airy ricotta cream and it’s one of those little effort, huge reward type cakes. Love those.

You should definitely try this Vanilla sponge tray bake too.

A slice of lemon poke cake on a blue plate, with the remaining cake in the background

What is poke cake?

Good question, and once you know it makes complete sense. Nothing to do with raw fish in bowls, poke cake is a sheet cake that is so named as you literally poke holes all over it after it’s been baked and pour over some kind of filling.

Rather than the filling sitting between two layers of cake, it slowly slides down the little holes that you’ve poked into the cake, simultaneously filling it and giving it moisture.

It’s normally topped with some kind of cream or frosting.

What filling to use for poke cake

There is such a variety of fillings you can use for poke cake, from fruit curds like in this one, to jam, glaze,  jelly / jello, syrup or ganache. This really means you can make a poke cake your own and it’s only limited to your imagination.

This Almond Lemon Poke Cake recipe uses lemon curd, let down a little with milk, as it’s filling. Poured all over the top, it slowly seeps down into the holes and gives the almond cake a gorgeous lemon flavour.

For the lemon curd, you can use store-bought or use my recipe for Easy Lemon Curd which only takes around 10 minutes on the stove.

How to make lemon poke cake

The great thing about a poke cake is there is only one layer so no need to split batter up into 2 pans, then layer them together.

Collage of 2 photos showing the mixing of cake batter

Just start by whisking together dry ingredients in a bowl (photo 1) then in a second bowl, cream together butter, sugar, eggs, extract (photo 2).

2 photos: Cake batter in a mixing bowl, then spread into a 9x13 inch baking tin

Incorporate the dry ingredients and buttermilk into the wet mix (photo 3). It’s really important not to overmix batter once you start adding flour as it can make for a tough cake once baked.

Now spread the batter into a prepared 9×13 inch baking tin (photo 4). I like to grease the pan all over, line the base with baking paper, then dust the two end lips with flour.

2 photos showing a baked sheet cake having holes poked into it and covered with lemon curd.

Once the cake is baked and while it’s still warm, poke holes all over it about 1 inch apart (photo 5). You can use the end of a wooden spoon or, as I like to, the widest end of a chopstick.

Pour over the lemon curd (mixed with a little milk), then spread it over the cake evenly (photo 6), nudging it into the holes here and there. Gravity will eventually finish this off for you.

How to make the ricotta cream

This ricotta cream is airy and light and such a lovely way to finish the cake. It has the slightest hint of salt and tang from the ricotta.

2 photos showing how to make Lemon ricotta cream

Start by whipping up regular thickened (or heavy) cream until soft peaks (photo 7). Now add the remaining ingredients – ricotta, sugar, extract and lemon zest (photo 8) – and beat just to incorporate.

2 photos showing lemon ricotta cream being spread over a lemon poke cake

Spread it all over the completely cooled cake (photos 9 & 10) and it’s ready to serve.

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Birdseye view of Lemon Poke Cake slices on a wire cooling rack

It’s simplicity and flavour makes this Almond Lemon Poke Cake recipe is a great cake to share over morning or afternoon tea with friends. A great, easy and delicious cake to have in your repertoire.

Other recipes you might like

A slice of lemon poke cake on a dessert plate.

Almond Lemon Poke Cake Recipe

5 from 4 ratings
Light, fluffy, moist and tangy, this lemon poke cake is the perfect bright and zingy cake. It's easy to make and everyone will be craving seconds.
You can use store-bought or homemade lemon curd.



  • 260 g plain flour (all-purp flour) (2 cups / 9.2oz)
  • 35 g cornflour (US cornstarch) (¼ cup / 1.2oz) (notes)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarb soda)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 300 g white granulated sugar (1 ½ cups / 10 ½oz)
  • 113 g unsalted butter, softened (½ cup / 1 stick / 4oz)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (60ml_
  • 3 large eggs, room temp
  • ¾ cup buttermilk, room temp (180ml)
  • 1-2 medium lemons
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
  • 1 cup lemon curd


  • 2 cups thickened cream (heavy whipping cream)
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • more lemon zest to top

For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided



    Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced) / 350F. Grease and line a 9×13 baking pan with baking paper. If your tin has short sides, make sure the paper comes up past the top edge by a little way.
  • Zest one of the lemons, then juice the lemons until you have ⅓ of a cup. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to lighten and evenly disperse. Set aside.
  • Using a large bowl and handheld electric beater or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat together the butter, oil and sugar until pale and creamy – about 2 minutes.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each until the mixture is smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl from time to time.
  • In a jug, mix together the buttermilk, ¼ cup of the lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla.
  • Add ⅓ of the flour mixture to the butter and egg mix. Beat on low or stir until just combined. Follow with half the buttermilk mixture, mixing until just combined.
  • Now, using a spatula, not the mixer, repeat the process using three more instalments – flour, buttermilk, flour – mixing each time until just combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and gently spread out evenly all over. If you make the centre slightly lower than the edges, you’ll end up with a flatter cake surface as the centre does rise slightly.
  • Bake for around 28 minutes. Start checking 2-3 minutes before by poking with a toothpick – it’s done when the toothpick comes out with just a crumb or two attached.
  • Heat the lemon curd and the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice in a small saucepan until just a little warm and thinned a little.
  • Use the thick end of a chopstick to poke holes all over the cake about 1 inch apart.
  • Pour the warmed lemon curd over the top, then spread it out, making sure to nudge it into the holes so it can seep down.
  • Set the cake aside to cool completely.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment or large bowl with handheld mixer, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until it just reaches stiff peaks - careful not to overmix or it will turn grainy.
  • Spread over the cooled cake, then add a little more lemon zest to the top.
  • Serve immediately or chill until required, brining to room temperature 1/2 an hour before serving.
  • Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.


  1. Tablespoons: I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (equal to 4 teaspoons). Check yours before measuring.
  2. If you'd like to make your own, you can use this lemon curd recipe.
  3. Cornflour / cornstarch: I use corn starch a lot in my baking. Cake flour is a combination of all-purpose and cornstarch but, to save space in my pantry, I use this combo in my recipes a lot instead of buying cake flour.
  4. For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
  5. All ovens vary – always test for doneness 5-7 minutes before the recipe suggests.
Have you tried this recipe?Don't forget to leave a rating and comment below and let me know how it was! I love hearing from you. Nutrition information is approximate and derived from an online calculator. The brands you use may cause variations.

Very closeup shot of a slice of lemon poke cake