Caramel Apple Poke Cake

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Caramel Apple Poke Cake is the perfect dessert to celebrate fall with! For people who aren’t pumpkin fans, this easy box mix recipe is bursting with apple chunks, caramel pudding, and fluffy whipped brown sugar cream cream cheese. It’s festively topped off with apples, toffee bits, and as much caramel as you can handle!

bite taken from caramel apple poke cake


Never let anyone tell you box mixes are cheating, especially when they create treats as yummy as this Caramel Apple Poke Cake! I also have an irresistible dessert waiting for you.

I love a good box mix recipe every now and again. As much as I enjoy a fresh and fluffy homemade cake, there’s definitely something to be said about how good a box mix is for the price and convenience.

piece of caramel- apple poke cake

As it turns out, box mixes are absolutely perfect for quick and easy recipes like this poke cake.

Caramel Apple Poke Cake

Not only do you save time by not having to measure out ingredients, the texture of the finished cake is just right to house the slightly more time-consuming but equally satisfying homemade caramel pudding!

top view of caramel apple poke cake

Can you believe boxed caramel pudding isn’t a thing? The closest I can find is butterscotch and it’s still somehow not the same.

I promise, making the extra effort to create homemade pudding is completely worth it – you’ll know with your first bite of this delicious dessert!

Helpful Tips:

  • If you’re not a cake mix person, feel free to use a scratch recipe (like this shortcake or this caramel apple one) as a base. Be sure not to pick a cake that’s overly dense, otherwise the texture of the finished product will be off.
  • Use room temperature ingredients. To ensure even mixing, pull the butter, eggs, and buttermilk from the refrigerator ahead of time. This also helps keep the cake moist and delicious.
  • If you really enjoy apples, double the amount of chopped apples in the cake.
  • If you’re short on time or nervous about making homemade pudding, a box of boxed butterscotch pudding will do here in a pinch.

What you will need:

  • A 13×9 Cake Pan – You need a single layer of cake to hold the pudding without it leaking, and this cake pan is the perfect size! It’s also great for creating larger cakes for parties and events.
  • A Sturdy Wooden Spoon Preferably one with a rounded handle. It creates properly sized holes for grabbing all that pudding!
  • Metal Cake Spatula – These are one of my favorite cake tools and you’ll use them a lot! They spread frosting like a dream, and can also smooth it or create lovely textures.
  • KitchenAid Mixer I use this mixer almost as much as I use my oven! Whether you grab the Artisan or Professional series, this workhorse will be a wonderful addition to your kitchen. Use it to mix the batter as well as the whipped frosting.


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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bite taken from caramel apple poke cake

Check out more of our favorite cake recipes: 

Perfect Peach Cobbler Dump Cake  

Outrageous Cherry Dr Pepper Cake

Ooey Gooey Chocolate Insanity Cake  

Caramel Apple Poke Cake with a bite taken out

Caramel Apple Poke Cake

Donna Elick
A Caramel Apple Poke Cake is the perfect dessert to celebrate fall with! For people who aren’t pumpkin fans, this easy box mix recipe is bursting with apple chunks, caramel pudding, and fluffy whipped brown sugar cream cream cheese. It’s festively topped off with apples, toffee bits, and as much caramel as you can handle!
4.34 stars from 3 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 32 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Method Oven
Servings 20


Apple Cake

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

Caramel Pudding

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Brown Sugar Cream Cheese

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


Apple Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13×9 cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt butter, then allow it to simmer until it begins to brown and smell nutty. Remove from heat and cool.
  • Place cake mix in a large bowl with buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and cooled brown butter. Mix until just combined. Gently fold in chopped apples.
  • Transfer batter to the prepared cake pan. Bake for 28-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven when done and allow to cool 10 minutes, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke many holes all over the cake.

Caramel Pudding

  • While the cake is baking, make the pudding. Combine the brown sugar and water in a saucepan saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until it reaches 215 degrees F and creates a caramel, then remove from heat and set aside.
  • In a separate medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together milk and cornstarch until there are no lumps.
  • Whisk egg yolks in a large heatproof glass bowl.
  • When milk mixture is warm but barely simmering, whisk it into the egg yolks, about 1/4 cup at a time, until it’s all combined. Return the mixture to the saucepan and stir in the reserved caramel sauce.
  • Return the pan to the stovetop. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes until it thickens, then stir in the butter, vanilla and salt. Remove from heat and allow to cool 20-30 minutes.
  • Pour cooled pudding into the holes of the cake, allowing it to sink in before adding another addition. (You may have more pudding than you need.)
  • When pudding has been added, cover pan with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours.

Whipped Brown Sugar Cream Cheese

  • In a large cold bowl, whip heavy cream to stiff peaks.
  • In a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, sugars, vanilla, and salt until well-combined and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
  • Spread frosting on top of cooled cake. Garnish with additional chopped apples, toffee bits, and caramel sauce.


Serving: 1 | Calories: 286cal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 261mg | Sugar: 21g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
caramel apple poke cake -pin
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  1. 5 stars
    My friend recommended this to me, and I have to say I’ll be making these for birthday and christmas now! This was such a flavorful cake and tasted like bakery quality.

  2. 4 stars
    too time consuming to make caramel sauce – can I use caramel sauce from store, or can I just melt some Werther’s caramels?

    1. Hi Judy,
      For the caramel sauce drizzle, yes store bought caramel sauce will do the trick. Hope this helps.
      TSRI Team Member,

  3. 4 stars
    Thank you Judy for the Caramel Sauce question; I was thinking the same. I’d like to start preparing this ahead of time. Would it be okay to chill the cake after I prep the cake with the holes and caramel? Then finalize it with the frosting the day of serving?

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