Monday, August 9, 2021

Chocolate Poke Cake

Chocolate poke cake is soaked in a rich filling and topped with thick whipped cream. Throw this together for an impressive last minute dessert! 

Some of my favorite desserts start with a store bought cake mix, and this one is no exception.

With a few extra additions and some pantry staples, you can easily create a drool-worthy treat in under an hour. In fact, you may already have all of the ingredients right at home!

Love this chocolate poke cake? Try my Reese’s peanut butter and marshmallow smores versions, or a lemon blueberry delight that’s bursting with fresh flavor.

I also have pudding poke cake recipes like chocolate mint and caramel apple that double as holiday desserts!

chocolate poke cake slice on a plate

Chocolate Poke Cake - Ingredient Notes

  • Boxed mix - I used Betty Crocker’s Fudge mix, but most standard chocolate mixes should work as well. Or, use your favorite homemade recipe as long as it makes the same amount.
  • Sour cream - Plain yogurt is a great alternative and Greek versions are the closest in texture.
  • Oil - Feel free to substitute canola for the vegetable oil if needed.
  • Chocolate syrup - Either homemade or store bought is fine, as long as it is the thinner version and not thick hot fudge.
  • Pudding - Check the label closely to be sure it reads Instant, otherwise the frosting won’t set up correctly.
poke cake ingredients

Topping Ideas

While this is certainly delicious as is, you can’t wrong with a little something extra on top! Sprinkles will create a colorful display, and drizzle of caramel makes it more interesting.

Fresh fruits like berries, cherries, and bananas add an extra punch of sweetness and can help balance the rich flavors in each bite.

Or, chop up a variety of candy bars and sprinkle them over the top to make this chocolate poke cake extra indulgent.

pudding poke cake batter in a pan

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Use room temperature ingredients. Let the milk, eggs, and sour cream rest on the counter for 30 to 45 minutes before you get started. This ensures even mixing and helps to keep the dessert moist and delicious.
  • Want larger holes? Swap the fork for a large straw or the rounded end of a sturdy wooden spoon.
  • Chill right away. This dessert should be refrigerated within 2 hours or the frosting can get really dark and dense. Cover leftovers with foil or plastic wrap and enjoy within 4 days for best results.
chocolate poke cake with fork marks all over the cake

Kitchen‌ ‌Tools‌ ‌You‌ ‌Will‌ ‌Need‌ ‌

  • 9x13 Baking Dish - This set is one of my favorites! It comes with a lid for easy storage and is great for casseroles too.
  • Mixing Bowls - I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • Stand mixer or large mixing bowl with hand mixer for whipping up the frosting
  • A sturdy silicone spatula can be used for scraping, stirring, and smoothing and is easy to clean too! 
poke cake chocolate condensed milk poured over top

FAQ‌ ‌-‌ ‌Common‌ ‌Recipe‌ ‌Questions‌

Can I make pudding poke cake ahead of time?

I recommend whipping up the frosting just before serving, but you can bake and soak the cake up to one day in advance.

What can I use in place of sweetened condensed milk?

Cream of coconut is a nice option. It will give you a little coconut flavor. Yum. Evaporated milk can be used in a pinch. It won’t have the same sweet, caramelized flavor, but the consistency is similar and will soak into the holes nicely.

pudding poke cake frosting on cake


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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poke cake with forkful out of cake

Yield: 12 slices
Author: Donna Elick
Chocolate Poke Cake

Chocolate Poke Cake

Chocolate poke cake is soaked in a rich filling and topped with thick whipped cream. Throw this together for an impressive last minute dessert!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 40 Min


  • 1 16 ounce box of chocolate cake mix
  • 1 3 ounce package of chocolate fudge instant pudding, dry
  • 5 ounces sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate syrup
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup chocolate fudge instant pudding mix


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9x13 cake pan, set aside.
  2. Mix together all ingredients until fully combined and transfer to the prepared cake pan. The batter will be thick and you will need to use a rubber spatula to spread it out.
  3. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Let cool for 30 minutes and stab with a fork all over the top of the cake.
  1. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate syrup until fully incorporated.
  2. Once fully mixed, pour over the top of the holes in the cake.
  1. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the frosting ingredients until thick and fluffy.
  2. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake and top with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, or fruit, if desired.

chocolate poke cake closeup

Originally published August 2021

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