Pumpkin Poke Cake — Easy and the BEST PUMPKIN CAKE ever!! Two kinds of CARAMEL sauce, TOFFEE bits, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, whipped topping and more!! A total WINNER you must make!!
Easy Poke Cake Recipe
Welcome to pumpkin season! I’ve got quite the showstopper of a pumpkin cake for all you pumpkin fiends.
It’s a ridiculously easy cake that starts with a boxed mix of spice cake, a can of pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice. If you need an easy pumpkin dessert, look no farther than this cake. I wish I had put it in my pumpkin cookbook. Everyone who tried it loved it.
I originally posted this cake in 2016 on the same date ironically, the 26th of August, and it’s been a reader favorite ever since!
Poke cakes get their name because after baking, you poke holes over the surface of the cake and flood it with a sweet mixture. Here it’s a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and caramel sundae topping.
Pumpkin baked goods are notoriously moist and tender. Between the pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, and caramel sundae sauce, it’s one of the moistest cakes you’ll ever eat.
The pumpkin caramel poke cake is finished with whipped topping, toffee bits, mini chocolate chips, and salted caramel sauce. The salted caramel adds a salty-sweet element, the toffee bits and chocolate chips add texture and contrast to the fluffy whipped topping and uber soft, melt-in-your-mouth cake.
What’s in Pumpkin Poke Cake?
To make this poke cake with sweetened condensed milk, you’ll need:
- Spice cake mix
- Pumpkin puree
- Pumpkin pie spice
- Sweetened condensed milk
- Caramel sundae topping
- Whipped topping
- Toffee bits
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Salted caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
How to Make Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake
Mix together the cake mix, pumpkin puree, egg, oil, and pumpkin pie spice. Turn into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and bake until done.
Remove cake from the oven when it’s done and use the blunt end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake. Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk and caramel sundae topping, then evenly pour over the cake.
Refrigerate cake for about 15 minutes, then evenly spread the whipped topping over the surface, sprinkle with toffee bits, chocolate chips, and evenly drizzle with salted caramel sauce. Return to refrigerator for another 2 hours before serving.
How to Store Poke Cakes
Store this pumpkin poke cake in the fridge (covered) for up to 5 days. It actually gets better with age as the sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce oozes into the cake.
Tips for Making a Poke Cake
Note that this recipe calls for sweetened condensed milk and not evaporated milk. They’re two different products.
When poking the cake with the end of a wooden spoon, be sure to evenly space out the holes and to poke the cake all over.
You want the caramel sauce and sweetened condensed milk to seep into all parts of the cake.
Because this cake needs to be refrigerated before slicing into it, it’s great for making the day before a party or family gathering.
Please note that this is a heavier, denser, practically dripping wet cake. If you are looking for a light and airy cake or pumpkin dessert, this is not the one. It’s also pretty sweet.
For me super moist and sweet cakes always will have a place in my heart – or stomach!
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Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake
Easy and the BEST PUMPKIN CAKE ever!! Two kinds of CARAMEL sauce, TOFFEE bits, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, whipped topping and more!! A total WINNER you must make!!
- one 16.50-ounce box spice cake mix
- one 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- one 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- one 12-ounce jar caramel sundae topping
- one 8-ounce container whipped topping, thawed (I used fat free)
- 1/2 cup toffee bits
- 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce (storebought or homemade
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large bowl, add the cake mix, pumpkin puree, egg, oil, pumpkin pie spice, and beat with a handheld electric mixer on high until smooth and combined, about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Bake for about 27 to 30 minutes, or until cake is set in the center, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs but no batter.
- While the cake bakes combine the sweetened condensed milk, caramel sundae topping, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- Remove cake from the oven when it’s done and use the blunt end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake. I didn’t count but I estimate I poked the cake in about 60 places, evenly spaced over the surface.
- Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk and caramel mixture over the cake, taking your time to evenly distribute it.
- Place cake in the fridge for about 15 minutes to cool slightly before adding the whipped topping so it doesn’t melt.
- Remove cake from the fridge, evenly spread the whipped topping over the surface, evenly sprinkle with toffee bits, chocolate chips, and evenly drizzle with salted caramel sauce.
- Cover cake and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best) before slicing and serving.
Storage: Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 514Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 64mgSodium: 220mgCarbohydrates: 67gFiber: 2gSugar: 50gProtein: 7g
More Easy Pumpkin Desserts:
50+ Pumpkin Recipes on my blog including sweet, savory, breakfast, desserts and more!
Cooking With Pumpkin: Recipes That Go Beyond the Pie is my second cookbook and was released October, 2014. There’s over 50 pumpkin recipes including sweets, savory, drinks, and a photo for nearly every recipe. I’d be super grateful if you headed over to Amazon!
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Originally posted August 26, 2016 and reposted August 26, 2022 with updated text.
This cake is one of my new favorites! I stuck tightly to the recipe (just didn’t use the tinfoil in my pyrex dish). The flavor was wonderful! And it was incredibly moist! The homemade salted caramel sauce wasn’t difficult to make – a perfect addition to the other wonderful toppings! I took it to a church event, and it was a big hit! Will definitely make it again! Thx for sharing!
Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad that it’s one of your new favorites! And that you made the homemade salted caramel sauce, too. That’s wonderful!
Thank U Averie I’m going to try the yellow cake mix and increase the pumpkin spice do u think that would work
You can’t just omit the canned pumpkin all together without replacing that with something. It’s a significant quantity so like I said, I suggest boiled sweet potatoes in lieu of the pumpkin.
Hi Averie I want to try this recipe but I can’t use pumpkin what else can I use
Well since this is a pumpkin cake, and you can’t use pumpkin, that is going to be a problem.
You could possibly used boiled and mashed sweet potatoes, about 1 3/4 cups worth. Although I haven’t tried it.
Look over my hundreds of other non-pumpkin cakes too which may be easier https://www.averiecooks.com/category/dessert/cake/
Hello! Do you think there is anything I could do to replace the eggs in this recipe? Looks delicious but we have an egg intolerance in our house.
I would say do what you normally do when you make a cake mix cake. Do you use an egg replacer? If so, do that.
If you don’t make cake mix cakes, I don’t know what to suggest because I’ve never tried to go eggless when working with cake mix. So I can’t say what will happen other than try an egg replacer.
Ive made this cake a few times and it is amazing!! I love how the pumpkin and caramel flavors combine. Its always a hit at work events and I never bring home leftovers!
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad you’ve made it a few times and that it’s always been a hit and you never have leftovers :)
This cake looks so YUMMY. This will definitely be a recipe that I will be making next weekend when my children will be here. Great Fall cake.
can you use yellow cake mix instead of spiced?
Yes, but it won’t have quite the depth of flavor, as long as you know that going in.
Any recommendations for making this with yellow cake mix? Increase pumpkin pie spice, maybe?
Sounds like a great start to me!
Do you think I could bake the cake a day ahead and then poke the holes, do the milk/sauce/cool whip the next day and refrigerate?
Yes you could BUT I would honestly just bake the cake and make it from start to finish on one day, and then refrigerate until the next day. I do this all the time with cakes for photo shoots. Bake/make at night, photos the next day midday. Works just fine with poke cakes, they still taste great!
I’m going to make this today and I have a question. What is the reason for lining pan with foil? Is it just for easier cleanup of the pan? If you could respond back by email. Thank you
Yes for easier cleanup.
I am going to try the golden yellow cake mix, because I couldn’t find the spice cake.
Could I make this in 2 8×8 pans? I was thinking of taking one to my in laws and one to my family’s house for thanksgiving.
I’m sure that would be fine.
Why is lining the pan with foil necessary?
You don’t have to but I don’t like doing dishes so that helps save a lot of cleanup time.
This looks great! Will have to give it a whirl! Thanks!
Rave reviews from my guests last night. All I could hear is YUM coming from 6 people as they devoured this scrumptious dessert. Of course, I was asked for the recipe. Thank you so much! This will be on our Thanksgiving menu for sure!
Thanks for trying the recipe and so glad it got rave reviews and will be on your TG menu!
I made this last night and am eating it for breakfast this morning. ;) Vegetable, right? It is SO GOOD! Thank you for sharing this recipe, Averie! I followed yours exactly except that I used regular-sized chocolate chips because that’s what we had. Phenomenal!
Thanks for trying the recipe and I’m glad it came out great for you!
This looks AWESOME. I am definitely whipping this up over the weekend!!! I’m ready for fall…and for this cake!!!
Hope you enjoy it!
Do you think you could go with a cream cheese whipped topping? Any ideas on how to do this with out it being overly heavy? Thanks
This is already a pretty heavy cake and I personally think the cream cheese whipped topping, although delicious, could push this into overly rich territory.
I would just google various ‘cream cheese cool whip frosting’ combos and see what you come up with. For me, whenever I add cream cheese to Cool Whip, the cream cheese instantly ‘takes over’ and all of a sudden you don’t have fluffy Cool Whip anymore, you have a much denser and less sweet cream cheese creation that you will likely need to add sugar to. Or you can make a regular cream cheese based frosting with butter, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, but again, the heavy/rich factor will come into play.
Feeling so thankful it’s pumpkin time again!! This looks amazing, I bet it’s so moist with the pumpkin AND all of the extras!
I am right there with you and happy it’s pumpkin time again! So, so moist as you know poke cakes are!
This sounds great- I love the combination of flavors.
Hey girl this looks amazing!
Oh my! This is like heaven on a plate! :-)
Honestly, the only thing I can say is OHMIGOD.
I’m ready for the change of seasons–pumpkin caramel poke cake sounds like a great way to usher in autumn!
I was having a massive pumpkin craving in the dead middle of the summer…and this cake just hit the spot!
I think I have just seen the ultimate fall dessert!! You have the most delicious collection of poke cakes. I ‘d have a hard time choosing a favorite.
Thanks, Paula! This one really hit the spot because I hadn’t made anything pumpkin in months prior to this!
You have done it again! Managed another jaw dropping pumpkin recipe. I need to pick up the spice cake mix and I will make this tomorrow. Btw, I commented on your PB&J crumble bars…seriously Averie, those were so divine. :) thx for this
I saw your comment, glad you loved those bars!
This cake will be a big hit too if you make it, I guarantee it!