This chocolate poke cake recipe is rich, decadent, and unbelievably easy to make. It has five different layers of chocolate in it, making it an extreme dessert for the most serious of chocolate lovers.
Hello Java Cupcake readers!
My name is Becca Heflin and I’m the recipe developer and owner of It’s Yummi. Betsy asked me to share a recipe with you today and I’m honored that she did. There are some delicious looking recipes here on her site, so my extreme chocolate poke cake recipe will be in great company!
I was never taught to cook as a child, so I lived most of my adult life eating out or having frozen dinners and boxed mac ‘n cheese. When I was in my mid-40’s, I became a first-time college student. I decided to major in Culinary Arts, which is where I learned all that I know about cooking and baking. I absolutely love to create recipes from scratch, but I think it’s equally as fun to jazz up a boxed mix or use a starter to get a recipe going. I’m busy, but to be honest, it’s mostly out of laziness! Yep. I’m a lazy chef. I’ll use a shortcut when I can, but I also believe that the way to get the best flavors out of a dish is by making them from scratch.
On top of the chocolate cake layer is a thick layer of chocolate pudding. Again, you can go the homemade route and use my sugar-free chocolate pudding recipe, or you can buy a box of instant chocolate pudding mix. Your poke cake, your rules. 🙂
One of my favorite recipes was used to make the third layer of this poke cake. It’s a 3-ingredient chocolate ganache, made without heavy whipping cream. Ganache is typically made with 1 part chocolate and 1 part heavy cream. I created a recipe that doesn’t use cream because heavy cream has gotten so expensive lately. The last time I was at the store, they wanted almost seven dollars for a quart of it. That’s a big bite out of my grocery budget! You can certainly make your ganache the authentic way if you’d like to.
Anyway, this cake has a nice thick layer of chocolate ganache that sits on top of the pudding layer. It’s rich and loaded with calories, but it’s so flipping good that it’s worth the indulgence. Grab your favorite pair of stretchy pants and you’ll be all set.
Another component of this poke cake is the drizzle of sweet caramel that I used on the top. I have a great tutorial on my Snickers cupcake recipe post that explains how to make caramel from scratch. If you don’t want to fuss with the homemade caramel sauce, you can use store-bought, which is actually what I did when I made these. The nice folks at Best Boy and Co. sent me a jar of their caramel sauce to try, and this was the perfect opportunity to use it. It was very tasty!
OK, enough chattering. It’s time to share this delicious poke cake recipe!
- 2 cups granulated cane sugar (15 ounces)
- 1 3/4 cups flour (7.7 ounces)
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 8 ounces (1 liquid cup) milk, any variety
- 1/2 cup butter (melted and cooled) or vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 small (3.6 oz.) boxes instant chocolate pudding mix, divided in half
- 32 ounces (4 liquid cups) milk (any variety), divided in half
- 8 ounce tub of prepared whipped topping or 2 cups of homemade whipped cream
- Chocolate Ganache
- 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter*
- 4 ounces (1/2 liquid cup) whole or 2% milk*
- 8 ounces good quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup prepared caramel sauce
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 350°F.
- Lightly grease a 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan with butter or non-stick spray.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed with a electric hand or stand mixer for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in the boiling water. (The mixture will look very thin and runny at this point, but that's okay.)
- Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish. Bake for 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean or with just a few crumbs. Remove pan from oven and place onto a wire rack to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- While cake cools slightly, make 2 separate batches of the chocolate pudding according to box directions, but use a large mixing bowl for one batch. To that large batch, use a mixing spatula or spoon to gently fold in the whipped cream until well combined.
- Also while cake is cooling, make a batch of chocolate ganache.
- After the cake cools slightly but is still warm, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke 6 rows of holes into the cake. Each of the 6 rows should have 6 holes across (total of 36 holes in the cake). Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to cover the cake with the chocolate pudding (not the batch with whipped cream added to it). Try to push as much pudding into the holes as you can.
- Pour the chocolate ganache layer over the pudding and use the same offset spatula to spread it evenly across the cake.
- Add the whipped cream and pudding mixture on top of the chocolate ganache and use a spatula to spread it evenly across the cake.
- Next, drizzle caramel sauce over the entire cake and then sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
* If preferred, you can omit butter and milk in the chocolate ganache and instead, use 8 ounces (1 liquid cup) heavy whipping cream)