Chocolate Poke Cake — A FAST and EASY cake that’s perfect for all the chocaholics! Moist and tender chocolate cake, filled with chocolate syrup, and topped with whipped chocolate frosting! A no-fuss chocolate cake that everyone will adore!
Chocolate Poke Cake Recipe
Over the years, I’ve made my fair share of poke cakes, meaning a cake that has holes poked into it after baking. If poking holes in a freshly baked cake has you wondering, why?
The answer is because a sweet chocolaty syrup mixture gets poured into those holes before topping the whole cake with a light and fluffy chocolate frosting.
Like most poke cakes, this one begins with a box of chocolate cake mix that I then doctored up.
Ingredients in Chocolate Poke Cake
This easy chocolate pudding poke cake is made with common fridge and pantry ingredients. I have broken the recipe into three components — cake, filing, and frosting.
You’ll need to have on hand the following ingredients:
- Chocolate cake mix
- Chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Vegetable or canola oil
- Vanilla extract
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Chocolate syrup
- Heavy cream
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
How to Make Chocolate Poke Cake
The batter for this chocolate cake is so easy to whip up! Simply combine all the ingredients, mix, pour into a 9×13-inch pan, and bake until done, about 30 minutes.
The batter will be thick so make sure to use a spatula to spread it out in the pan.
After baking and cooling the cake, poke holes in the cake using the tines of a fork, mix together the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate syrup, and evenly drizzle it over the top of the cake.
It may take a few minutes for all of the chocolate mixture to soak in, so have patience.
In a large mixing bowl, add the frosting ingredients and beat with a handheld electric mixer or do it in your stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
Evenly spread the frosting over the cake, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve the poke cake.
Do I Have to Use Cake Mix?
Can the Sweetened Condensed Milk Be Substituted?
No, you must make this poke cake with sweetened condensed milk, no substitutes will work. Do NOT try substituting evaporated milk for sweetened condensed milk because they’re not the same consistency.
Is Pudding Mix Required?
Dry instant pudding mix is used in both the cake batter and the frosting in this chocolate poke cake recipe.
You aren’t actually making pudding, you’re simply adding in the dry mix in both stages in the recipe that the pudding mix is called for.
Make sure to select dry instant pudding mix and not cook-and-serve.
I have never tried this recipe with sugar free pudding mix and can’t say how the results will be.
While you could probably omit it from the cake batter, in order to achieve this exact type of frosting consistency and mouthfeel, it’s necessary.
However, you can make a favorite scratch frosting if desired.
Frosting Options to Try
For this chocolate pudding poke cake, I was really going for a full-out chocaholics dream and therefore the frosting is also chocolate.
Although, if you wanted to use a vanilla or white frosting, that would be just fine.
Additionally, whipped topping like Cool Whip is also great on poke cakes and so easy. Just spread one tub over the top and voila, your cake is frosting.
Another option is to use store bought shelf-stable frosting in a tub in whatever flavor tickles your fancy including white, chocolate, or buttercream.
Storing and Serving Chocolate Poke Cake
This cake should be refrigerated within 2 hours after frosting the cake, or the frosting can get really dark and dense.
Most poke cakes keep for up to 5 days airtight in the fridge, noting they do become moister (a little bit soggier) as time goes by so take that into account.
I like to serve this cake chilled. It tastes even more decadent but if you’d like, you can allow it to come to room temp before serving.
Adding some fresh fruit, especially berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries is a nice touch, but optional.
Tips For the Best Chocolate Poke Cake
For this chocolate poke cake, I poked the holes using a fork. For other poke cakes I’ve made over the years, I have also used the blunt end of a wooden spoon which makes much bigger holes.
The only caveat with this is that at times when you slice into the cake and are looking at a cross-section of an individual piece, it can appear that there are a few chunks here and there that are “missing” but it’s simply just the result of the wooden spoon.
If you don’t have as much patience, use a wooden spoon as simply just poking holes with the tines of a fork means that it will take longer for the chocolaty sweetened condensed milk mixture to soak in.
Pin This Recipe
- one 15.25 ounce box chocolate cake mix
- one 3-ounce package of chocolate fudge instant pudding mix, dry
- 5 ounces plain greek yogurt or sour cream
- ¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ½ cup milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup chocolate syrup (such as Hershey's)
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup confectioners' sugar
- ⅓ cup chocolate fudge instant pudding mix, dry
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and mix with a handheld electric mixer or stir by hand. Note that the batter will be thick*.
- Bake for about 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes.
- Using the tines of a fork, poke holes all over the cake, going down nearly do the base of the cake, and I estimate I poked the cake in about 50 different places.
For the Filling:
- To a medium bowl, add both ingredients, and whisk to combine.
- Evenly pour the filling mixture over the cake, noting that it may take a few minutes for all of the mixture to soak in, but it will so have patience.
For the Frosting:
- To a large mixing bowl, add all the ingredients and beat with the whisk attachment of a handheld electric mixer or do it in your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- Evenly spread the frosting over the top of the cake, cover, and refrigerate** until serving.
*Pudding mix: You are not making pudding, just add the pudding mix straight from the box into the mixing bowl. Make sure to use instant chocolate pudding mix and not cook-and-serve pudding mix. I have only used regular and don't know how sugar free pudding mix will work. I have only made this cake using boxed cake mix.
Chocolate cake mix: For the chocolate cake mix, any brand between 15.25 to 16 ounces is fine; and a 3 to 3.9-ounce box chocolate pudding mix is also fine.
**This cake should be refrigerated within 2 hours after frosting it (although I recommend immediately) or the frosting can get really dark and dense.
Storage: Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days, noting it will become moister (soggier) as time passes; this is simply the nature of poke cakes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 489Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 451mgCarbohydrates: 69gFiber: 2gSugar: 50gProtein: 9g
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