Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake

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Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It’s so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It's so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

Easiest Recipe for Turtle Cake

I love turtle anything. Gooey caramel contrasted with crunchy pecans and decadent chocolate is a combination I can’t resist!

Put that in poke cake form and you’ve got yourself a mega hit. This turtle chocolate poke cake is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made and we absolutely loved it.

Poke cakes get their name because after baking you poke holes in the cake and drizzle in a sweetly satisfying mixture usually consisting of sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce, but it can vary. 

The sauce seeps into the holes, which renders poke cakes incredibly soft and moist and this turtle cake is no exception. When you put a slice of the cake on a plate, you can literally see the caramel mixture oozing out of the bottom of the cake.

Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It's so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

I topped this chocolate turtle cake with whipped topping (you can use whipped cream, but whipped topping holds up better at room or warmer temps and doesn’t deflate like whipped cream), salted caramel sauce (which is a great salty-sweet contrast to the sweet elements in the cake), chocolate chips, and Chopped Fisher Pecans. So many textures and flavors in every bite!

I love the sensation of taking a bite of chilled cake on warm days. It just hits the spot.

This turtle cake will be a guaranteed party favorite and I highly recommend putting it on your summer party menu — or any party menu, for that matter.

Love Chocolate Cake?

Try making my Coca-Cola Cake recipe next! It’s not a poke cake, but it’s still ultra moist and can be made in advance.

Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It's so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

Chocolate Turtle Cake Ingredients 

This turtle cake recipe couldn’t be simpler to make! You’ll need just seven ingredients to make this cake, most of which are pantry staples.

To make this cake, you’ll require: 

  • Devil’s Food chocolate cake mix
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Caramel sundae topping
  • Whipped topping
  • Chopped Fisher pecans
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Salted caramel sauce

Can I Make This Recipe From Scratch? 

Yes! If desired, you can swap out the store-bought ingredients I’ve listed for homemade versions.

I have a great chocolate cake recipe on my blog that can be used instead of boxed cake mix, and you can also make my salted caramel sauce to go on top. 

Just do whatever is easiest for you! This turtle chocolate poke cake will turn out perfectly no matter which route you go. 

bag of Fisher Nuts on counter

How to Make a Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

This turtle cake is quick and easy to make, thanks to the baking shortcuts I used! Here’s a look at how the turtle caramel cake comes together: 

  1. You’ll first need to make the boxed cake according to package instructions (note that you’ll likely need a combination of oil, water, and eggs to do so).
  2. Once the cake is out of the oven, poke it all over with the end of a wooden spoon, then pour over the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping. 
  3. Spread the whipped topping over the cake, then sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
  4. Cover it with foil and let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours to give the flavors time to come together.
  5. I prefer to let me cake chill overnight, but two hours should do the trick if you’re in a rush! 

When you’re ready to eat the cake, drizzle the salted caramel sauce over top and slice. You’ll definitely want a second slice of this cake! 

Chocolate Turtle Cake - The flavor of the famous candy in a decadent chocolate cake with tons of CARAMEL and pecans!! Easy, super soft and moist, and a crowd FAVORITE! One of the BEST CAKES ever!!

Which Boxed Cake Mix Should I Use? 

I used this Classic Devil’s Food Cake Mix from Duncan Hines, but any box mix should work!

However, I find that with most box cakes I have to take my cake out of the oven a good 5 minutes before instructed, otherwise my cake turns out too dry. So keep an eye on your cake the last few minutes it’s in the oven! 

How Long Do Poke Cakes Last? 

This turtle chocolate poke cake will last up to five days in the fridge. Just keep in mind that the cake will soften over time as it soaks up more of the caramel sauce. 

Can I Halve This Recipe? 

Since this recipe uses boxed cake mix, it can’t be halved. If you make the cake batter from scratch, you could fiddle with whatever recipe you’re using to halve it, but I can’t give you any more tips besides that. 

Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It's so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

Storage Instructions for Turtle Caramel Cake

You’ll want to store this chocolate turtle cake in the fridge after you’ve served it. It’ll last up to five days in the fridge, and I personally think it gets better with age.

The caramel-condensed milk filling may settle into the bottom of the cake, but that’s normal! 

Tips for the Best Turtle Cake

Lining your pan: I highly recommend placing aluminum foil on the bottom of your baking pan before pouring in the cake batter. This makes cleanup so much easier, and will ensure that the poke cake doesn’t stick to the pan at all. 

Poking the cake: When poking holes into the cake, make sure you go to the edges of the cake. You don’t want a single bite of poke cake to be missing that delicious gooey filling! 

Before adding the whipped topping: Before spreading the whipped topping over the cake, I recommend chilling it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes. If the cake is too warm when you spread the topping on, it may slide around and melt. 

Chocolate Turtle Cake — This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It's so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!

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4.47 from 131 votes

Chocolate Turtle Cake

By Averie Sunshine
This decadent poke cake is topped with whipped topping, salted caramel sauce, mini chocolate chips, and chopped pecans. It's so easy to make, and a huge hit at parties!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 16
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Ingredients  

  • one 15.25-ounce box devil’s food chocolate cake mix*
  • one 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • one 12-ounce jar caramel sundae topping
  • one 8-ounce container whipped topping, thawed (I used fat-free)
  • ½ cup Chopped Fisher Pecans
  • ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, full-size okay
  • cup salted caramel sauce, or as desired (homemade or store-bought, or regular caramel sauce okay)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Make cake according to package directions (likely adding 3 eggs, water, and oil) and bake as directed (I find my cakes are done about 3 to 5 minutes faster than the box directions and if baked as long as indicated, I find the cake is too dry but bake as necessary).
  • While the cake bakes add the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping to a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
  • Remove cake from the oven when it’s done and using the blunt end of a wooden spoon, poke holes over the surface of the cake. I didn’t count but I estimate I poked about 60 holes, evenly spaced over the surface.
  • Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk and caramel mixture over the holes, taking your time to evenly distribute it so that all the holes receive some. 
  • Place cake in the fridge for about 10 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 the pecans and chocolate chips, cover cake, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (overnight is best).
  • Evenly drizzle the salted caramel sauce before slicing and serving.

Notes

*If you'd like to make your Devil's Food cake from scratch, I suggest following this recipe (make only the cake itself, not the frosting).
Storage: Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days
Recipe adapted from my Better-Than-Anything Chocolate Cake.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 261kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 15mg, Sodium: 104mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 28g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Poke Cake Recipes: 

All of my poke cake recipes! 

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!

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!

Better-Than-Anything Chocolate Cake — Worthy of its name and one of the BEST cakes you will ever eat! Doesn’t get any better than chocolate, caramel, whipped topping, and candy in an easy, no-mixer cake!

S’mores Cake — Chocolate cake gets poked all over and soaked in a marshmallow creme mixture before being topped with crushed graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, and hot fudge sauce. 

Better-Than-Anything Peanut Butter Cake — A peanut butter lovers dream: PB, PB chips, and PB cups! An easy, no-mixer poke cake that’s drenched with caramel to keep it super moist! Lives up to it’s name and tastes amazing!

Strawberries and Cream Poke Cake — This Strawberry Poke Cake uses just four ingredients and is a hit at parties and potlucks! It’s a moist, refreshing dessert you’ll definitely want seconds of! 

Caramel Poke Cake — Poke cakes are always supremely moist and this one reminds me of a cheater’s version of Tres Leches Cake because it’s sweet and creamy.

Caramel Coconut Poke Cake — An incredibly EASY super moist cake thanks to a creamy caramel mixture that’s poked into the cake. Topped with crispy toasted coconut, this cake is a DELISH winner!

The BEST Tres Leches Cake— This easy tres leches cake melts in your mouth and requires just 15 minutes of hands-on prep!!  This is an authentic three milk cake your family will love! 

This post is brought to you by Fisher Nuts. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own. #fisherunshelled

Originally posted August 19, 2016 and reposted with updated text February 4, 2022.

About the Author

Welcome to AverieCooks! Here you’ll find fast and easy recipes that taste amazing and are geared for real life. Nothing fussy or complicated, just awesome tasting dishes everyone loves!

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

Recipe Rating




Comments

  1. 5 stars
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I’m not the biggest chocolate lover but I can honestly say this was genuinely the best chocolate cake ive ever had 😋 it was super moist and not overly sweet. I made this for my mom for her birthday and she loved it! I’ll definitely be making this again. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

  2. 5 stars
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I’m not the biggest chocolate lover but I can honestly say this was genuinely the best chocolate cake ive ever had 😋 it was super moist and not overly sweet. I made this for my mom for her birthday and she loved it! I’ll definitely be making this again. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

    1. Thanks for the 5 star review and I am glad to hear it was the best chocolate cake you’ve ever had, not too sweet, and perfect for the birthday girl!

  3. Oooh this looks so good! You had me at caramel….

    Not a big fan of whipped toppping, for me it’s freshly whipped cream or nothing, so might try that or might whip up a vanilla frosting. Going to try it this weekend!

    1. I would go freshly whipped then to cover the holes you will make in the cake, noting it does deflate faster than whipped topping. Enjoy the cake!

  4. How do I get to your recipes without having to scroll and scroll practically to the end of the email. Your recipes are great. However it takes so long to get to the recipe that it becomes frustrating. Am I missing something? On other sites you can just jump to recipe. Thanks.

    1. Scrolling takes a couple seconds on most phones or lap/desktops at most. I do not have a Jump button as of now.

    1. Yes you can. I don’t like parchment because it twists and lifts and wiggles around more than foil but use what works for you.

  5. Made this cake for a birthday, it was a big hit ! Only difference was I used caramel sauce but not the salted one and  I used Cool Whip topping.

  6. Can you double this recipe with only one pan? Like almost make two layers with just some filling and the poke whip on top 

    1. I have only made it as written so if you want to double the recipe, you’d need to divide the batter between two 9×13 pans.

  7. Averie, have you ever made the poke cake ahead and frozen? I was thinking of making the cake, poking the holes and filling with caramel sauce and freezing. Then when ready to serve I would defrost and make the topping. Any comments appreciated! Thanks!

    1. I never have but it may work out fine. You could always make the cake and freeze half of it to see later what happens. That way if it doesn’t work you’re only out half a cake.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this for a Valentines Day social at our condo building. There were only 2 pieces left at the end of the evening. I toasted the pecans and because I forgot to get Cool Whip at the store, I used canned whipped cream from the grocery store. It made for a beautiful presentation because of the rows of whipped cream. This is one dessert that people will ask for your recipe. And it was super easy!! Super yummy!!

    1. Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it was such a hit at your V-Day party and that there were only 2 pieces left!

  9. 5 stars
    well HELLO;

    I used to do blogging too . It became too much once my business & career took off after Culinary School. YES, I made your recipe today. I made some changes to it…I baked it in loaf pans. I will attempt to post a pic. I put toasted coconut on the sides

  10. 5 stars
    Hello Averie,
    I wanted to let you know that I baked the Turtle Poke Cake. Well, sad to say that I only had a chance to enjoy one piece of it! I had a two other couples over and they demolished the cake and packed pieces up to take with them. They were eyeing that cake during the entire meal!

    I was quite pleased with the cake and it has become my current fave! The flavors are rediculously insane! The salted caramel ties everything together. Oh, and to see the caramel oozing out of the cake after it’s plated makes the plates completely lickable! Yea, uncouth, but I know I’m not the only one that’s licked or scraped that plate clean.

    I wish that I could post the picture, but alas…I can’t. Thank you for sharing your recipe. My IG followers love it as well.

    All the best to you and keep cooking!

  11. My favorite summertime dessert is homemade Butter Pecan Ice Cream! There is nothing like the smell of sauteed pecans in butter and then sprinkling brown sugar and vanilla on top all while your ice cream machine is churning that rich cream! I’m going to make some this week and make the poke cake recipe as well. Turtle anything is always a favorite of mine, so I have no doubt that my toes will be wiggling happily as I eat the combo dessert, which I often devour before my actual dinner! I wouldn’t want to be too full and not be able to enjoy a good dessert, so I eat it first! #dontjudgeme #imstrangelikethat

  12. I live in south Florida and the summer brings so many wonderful fruits to enjoy. I grow pineapples and this year had a record crop of 51. Homegrown pineapple is so sweet and delicious. My neighbor’s grow mangos and bananas. I love to whip up mid morning smoothies for a pick me up of fresh fruit flavor. We also enjoy fruit salsa over fish. 
    Love the poke cake, can’t wait to try it out.
    Smiles, Sue

  13. I’d have to say my favorite summer recipe is for baked Panky zucchini fries with Sriracha aioli. It’s perfect for the bountiful zucchini in the summer and makes it worthwhile putting the oven on in the summer!

  14. My summer time favorite is any kind of fruit pie, whatever is looking best at the time. I like it served cold with whipped cream or ice cream. Every once in awhile I’ll make up a cream pie, banana is my favorite!

  15. There are SO many wonderful things during the summer which my family loves from grilling, salads, summer fruits, etc. We try not to use the oven in the kitchen adding more heat to our already hot Florida summer days. This turtle poke cake is mouth watering & looks Amazing! I will definitely make it for the family to try. Unfortunately I won’t be able to try it or any of your fantastic banana bread recipes – I LOVE them!! Let me explain, in June 2014 I lost my tongue & lymph nodes on the left side of my neck due to cancer. However, that hasn’t & won’t stop me from being in the kitchen cooking, baking & experimenting with recipes for my family. Anyways, thank you SO much for your wonderful recipes & beautiful photos of your creations! I look forward to receiving your emails to find out what’s your latest master piece. Thanks again, Averie! #cancersurvivor

  16. My favorite summer recipe is no-bake cheesecake with graham cracker crust! Cool and light, perfect to eat outside on the porch! ?

  17. My favorite summer recipe is a pineapple pie that I love making for my family in the summer! It’s dangerously addicting and very easy to make :)

  18. This is literally my favorite cake… of all time! It’s so good and so moist and… so good!

  19. My favorite summer recipes are fried chicken with cream gravy and peach cobbler with Blue Bells Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (it’s amazing) for dessert.

  20. My favorite summer recipe is anything that involves local sweet corn which is absolutely delicious this time of year!

  21. I can’t wait to make this for my mom’s bday! My favorite thing to make in the summer is grilled corn on the cob. I usually use it to make a corn black bean salsa, which can be added to brown rice, greens, or just eaten with chips. Yum!

  22. My favorite summertime recipe is a summer pasta salad.  It has cold cooked pasta, fresh mozzerella, fresh basil, yellow or orange bell pepper, fresh chopped tomato, small cubed salami, dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with salt and pepper to taste.  It is really addicting, especially if you love fresh veggies and good vinegar.

  23. I love to bake but in the summer it is all about fresh fruit watermelon, cantelope, blueberries, strawberries, peaches….. Anything fresh

  24. Ooh, I LOVE lemon bars for summertime desserts!! The creamy lemon filling, crisp shortbread crust, powdered sugar. And you’re SO right, a bite of chilled cake (or LEMON BARS!) On a warm day is perfection!!!

  25. Recipes with fresh peaches is my favorite. Even plain peaches works for me.
    My husband would sure love this cake though.

    Thanks for the chance to win. Nice giveaway!

  26. I’m so with you regarding turtle anything so thank you for this amazing recipe! Hope you had a great summer xoxo

  27. My favorite summertime recipe is strawberry jello pretzel salad. I use pretzels with crushed nuts for the base, whipped cream and cream cheese filling with fresh strawberries and jello topping.

  28. I’ve never done a chocolate poke cake, will for sure try this.  Brilliant!  My favorite summer recipe is ice cream pie…so many variations of chilly goodness!

  29. A fresh peach pie made either with a cream filling and peaches sliced on top or a peach jello filling and fresh peaches is my favorite summer dessert.  We have wonderful, sweet peaches in NE Louisiana all summer!  I am definitely going to try this recipe for chocolate poke cake.

  30. Home made cherry vanilla ice cream is our family’s absolute favorite!  However, this turtle poke cake might give the ice cream a bit of competition!  Thanks for sharing your most creative recipes!

  31. My favorite summer recipe is a berry summer tart! I can’t believe I haven’t tried a poke cake yet, I have to get on that before summer is over!

  32. Oh shoot. I just bought the ingredients for an ice cream cake for my son’s birthday. He SO would have loved this. I’ll just have to find another cake-worthy event. :)

  33. My favorite summer recipe is my Garden Tomato Salad. Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Onion, Garlic, and Grilled corn marinated in a homemade Italian dressing! Mal ng some TODAY!

  34. You’ve created so many fantastic poke cakes and this one also made me think wow!! I share your love for turtle anything. My favorite summer recipe is your 12 foods super salad. I make it (or some variation) weekly since I grow my own kale.

    1. I didn’t know you made it that often! That’s great to hear! And also that you have so much homegrown kale!