7ounces(2 3.5-ounce)boxes of cheesecake instant pudding
3½cupscold whole milk
8ouncecontainer of whipped topping thawed
1cupstrawberries washed, dried, capped, hulled, and chopped strawberries (optional garnish)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with baker’s spray (Baker’s Joy or generic version)
Add the cake mix, water, and oil to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Use a handheld mixer on medium speed to mix the ingredients together until well combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg until incorporated and no yellow streaks are visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 25-28 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes away clean.
Allow the cake to cool slightly. Use the handle of a wooden mixing spoon to poke holes in the cake about 1-1½ inches apart. Allow the cake to cool completely.
Add both packages of instant pudding mix to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the cold milk and use a handheld mixer on medium speed to mix for about 1 minute until the pudding begins to thicken.
Add 1½ cups to a disposable piping bag fitted with a large 1A decorator's tip or a quart-size ziplock bag with a corner snipped off.
Pipe the pudding into each hole, filling the holes up completely. (If you have any leftover pudding, add it to the remaining pudding for topping.)
Use an offset spatula to smooth the remaining pudding over the top of the cake.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Evenly spread the thawed whipped topping over the pudding layer. Sprinkle with the chopped strawberries. Slice and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
To Store: Store any leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To Freeze: You can freeze the cake after you have added the pudding for up to 1 month. Allow the cake to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before topping it with the thawed whipped topping and strawberries.
You can also use a long filling tip instead of the 1A decorator's tip to fill the poke holes. It is a matter of preference.
Once the cake is completely cooled, you can go back and re-poke the cake holes with the end of the spoon. That way, if the crumbs of the cake refill in, you will have a cleaner hole for the pudding.
You can add 1-2 drops of red food coloring if your cake batter is a bit too light in color.