Turtle Chocolate Poke 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!

Chocolate Turtle Cake slice on white plate

Easy Poke Cake Recipe

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 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.

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.

slice of chocolate turtle poke cake on white plate

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

So easy, right? 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. 

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! 

Chocolate Turtle Cake slice with bite missing

How to Make a Poke Cake

To make this chocolate turtle cake, 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). 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. 

Spread the whipped topping over the cake, then sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped pecans. Cover it with foil and let it rest in the fridge for at least two hours to give the flavors time to come together. 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! 

bag of Fisher Nuts on counter

Tips for the Best Turtle Cake

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. 

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! 

Also, 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. 

And lastly, you’ll want to store this 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! 

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!!

More Poke Cake Recipes: 

  • 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!
  • 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.
  • Coconut Caramel 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!
Chocolate Turtle 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!
Yield: one 9x13-inch cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes

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)
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Fisher Pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (full-size okay)
  • 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce, or as desired (homemade or store-bought, or regular caramel sauce okay)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  2. 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).
  3. While the cake bakes add the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping to a medium bowl and stir to combine; set aside.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Evenly drizzle the salted caramel sauce before slicing and serving. Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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).

Recipe adapted from my Better-Than-Anything Chocolate Cake.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 261 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 7g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 15mg Sodium: 104mg Carbohydrates: 36g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 28g Protein: 4g

Even More Turtle Dessert Recipes

The Best Turtle Brownies — Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!

The Best Turtle Brownies - Super fudgy and loaded with chocolate, pecans and caramel! So.crazy.good!!!

Homemade Turtles — Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better!

Homemade Turtles - Fast, easy, no-bake and just 4 ingredients! Chewy, gooey, salty-and-sweet! Homemade always tastes better! Yum!!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Turtle Cookies — Biting down through the chocolate-peanut butter cookie dough, and getting a taste of the Turtles with the crunchy pecans and gooey caramel, combined with the salted caramel drizzle is magical.

Turtles Candies Chocolate Chip Cookies — These cookies are big, bakery-style cookies. They’re soft, chewy, and loaded with flavor and texture from the chocolate chips and crunchy yet chewy TURTLES® Minis.

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

81 comments on “Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake”

  1. 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.

  2. Hope to win the contest! Love cold cakes in the summer!

  3. Turtle EVERYTHING-that’s my new motto.

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

  5. I love strawberry mousse on summer, it´s really refreshing!

  6. Anything chocolate is great. Need to try this poke cake recipe.
    Thanks!!!!

  7. I love a black bean/corn/avocado salad for summer.

  8. 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 :)

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

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. Anything Cold! But Especially Mocha/Coffee/Espresso Ice cream :)

  13. This looks dangerous (in the best way possible)!

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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!

    Rating: 5
  18. 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

    Rating: 5
  19. 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!!

    Rating: 5
  20. DELICIOUS!!!

  21. Do you need to let the cake cool for 15 mins (per box recipe) before poking the holes?

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