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This Pumpkin Poke Cake is a deliciously rich and ultra moist cake with a creamy, crunchy topping. Every bite tastes like fall!
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Just like the name implies, Poke Cake is made by poking holes into the cake after baking, which are then filled with yummy goodness like pudding, jellos, cream, condensed milk… basically anything that is deliciously rich and decadent. You can use the end of a wooden spoon, a knife sharpening rod, or a straw to get those holes just the way you like them.
How Do I Make the Batter for this Pumpkin Poke Cake?
Poke Cake is famous for its drizzly toppings that seep into the cake to add extra flavor. But the batter itself is where you can layer even more goodness together. For this easy Poke Cake recipe, there are a couple of ways you can prepare the batter:
- Prepare and bake the box mix as directed on the package, then poke the holes and add toppings. This method creates a fluffy, light texture that is to die for!
- Combine the dry cake mix with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice and bake. The result is a dense, pumpkin flavored cake, more like a pound cake. It is rich, supremely moist and full of fall flavor.
Try either method (or both!) It’s like getting two recipes in one! They’re both so delicious, you’ll want to make them time and again all season long.
Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling
Make sure to buy pumpkin puree and NOT pumpkin pie filling for this recipe. Pumpkin pie filling is too thin and runny and will not give the cake the right texture. Pure pumpkin will give it the dense, rich texture and flavor you’re looking for.
How to Crush the Candy Bars
Here’s a non-messy way to get those Heath or Skor bars crushed up:
- Unwrap several bars
- Place them in a gallon sized ziplock bag
- Using a rolling pin, hit the bag or roll over it a few times.
- You can also just toss them in the blender or food processor for a few seconds. You want the candy to be small but not crushed to powder.
Ingredients for Making Pumpkin Poke Cake
Create an easy pumpkin dessert with simple ingredients and baked to perfection! No need for eggs, all purpose flour, or salt. This cake has all it needs with less ingredients and is loaded with all the pumpkin spice flavor!
- Cake mix – You will not need to make the cake. Pour the cake mix in a large bowl and add in the list of ingredients below.
- Pumpkin puree – Add in this fall favorite as the substitute for the eggs and oil. Pumpkin is known to be a wet ingredient.
- Pumpkin pie spice – This is a blend of fall favorite spices that is the perfect for pumpkin season.
- Sweetened condensed milk – Sweet and creamy filling.
- Caramel sauce – Bring on a sweet and creamy sauce with this caramel topping.
- Cool whip – Whipped topping adds a light and airy sweetness.
- Cinnamon – Adds a kick spice!
- Candy bar – I used a Heath or a Skor bar crushed into bits.
Variations of Frosting
It is hard to choose the perfect frosting for this pumpkin cake when most frostings will be delicious on top. Using an electric mixer, mix together a homemade frosting, or purchase a store bought one. Make this cake as easy or homemade as you would like!
- Whipped cream – Store bought or homemade this whipped cream adds a light sweetness to this pumpkin poke cake recipe.
- Cream cheese frosting – Has a strong flavor of cream cheese frosting with a hint of vanilla extract and powdered sugar for sweetness.
- Whipped cream cheese frosting – This is a blend of cream cheese frosting and whipping it in a stand mixer until there are soft peaks formed.
“Best cake ever! Pumpkin isn’t even one of my favorite things, but this was delicious. And it just gets better the longer you let it sit. A winner for any occasion or get together.”-Erica
Frequently Asked Questions for Poke Cake
Nope! This is a simple recipe and you will only be using the dry mix from the box.
Change up the flavor using spice cake or white cake or pumpkin cake. Depending on what flavor you are wanting, switch up the box mix.
It is best if you don’t use pie filling. You will want to use pumpkin puree.
Candy toppings are always fun but try a more savory topping. Pecans, walnuts, and nutmeg seasoning are the perfect toppings to have or leave the top with plain with frosting.
How to Store Pumpkin Poke Cake
Leave the cake in the baking dish or place the cake in an airtight container or cover the cake with saran wrap or a lid for the cake. Store it in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
More Poke Cake Recipes
This Pumpkin Poke Cake is perfect for autumn time, but there are so many varieties for any season of the year! Try some of our favorites:
Pumpkin Poke Cake
- 9 x 13 Baking Pan
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix together the yellow cake mix, pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice until it forms a batter.
- Pour into a well-greased 9×13 pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Let cool completely.
- Using the bottom of the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake (about 1 inch apart).
- Mix together sweetened condensed milk and ½ of the jar of caramel topping. Pour evenly over the cake.
- Cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hour.
- Right before serving, mix the Cool Whip and cinnamon. Spread over the top of the cake.
- Sprinkle Heath or Skor bits over the top of the cake and drizzle with the remaining caramel topping.