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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!
Featured with this recipe
- Ingredients for Pumpkin Poke Cake
- How Do I Make the Batter for this Pumpkin Poke Cake?
- Pumpkin Puree vs. Pumpkin Pie Filling
- How to Crush the Candy Bars
- Variations of Frosting
- Frequently Asked Questions for Poke Cake
- How to Store Pumpkin Poke Cake
- Tips for Making Pumpkin Poke Cake
- More Poke Cake Recipes
- How to Make Pumpkin Poke Cake
- Pumpkin Poke Cake Recipe
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.
Ingredients for 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 like to use Heath bars or a Skor bar crushed into toffee bits.
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 cake 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.
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
If the cake seems too soggy and it is still warm, you can pop it back into the oven for five to ten more minutes until it solidifies a bit more.
This cake recipe calls for holes to be poked in AFTER baking, then a liquid poured over the cake to soak in the cake holes. So yummy!
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.
Tips for Making Pumpkin Poke Cake
- Allow the Cake to Cool: Let the cake cool completely before poking the holes and adding the filling. This prevents the cake from falling apart or becoming too soggy.
- Choose the Right Size Poke Holes: Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake. Make sure the holes are large enough to allow the filling to seep in but not so large that they create big craters.
- Evenly Distribute the Holes: Space the holes evenly across the cake to ensure that the filling is distributed throughout.
- Pour Slowly and Evenly: When adding the filling, pour it slowly and evenly over the cake, making sure it fills the holes.
- Let the Cake Chill: After adding the filling, refrigerate the cake to allow the flavors to meld and the cake to absorb the filling.
- Serve Chilled: Pumpkin poke cake is best served chilled, as the flavors develop further after being refrigerated.
- Experiment with Toppings: Feel free to experiment with different toppings to suit your taste. Try chopped walnuts, chocolate chips, Snickers (or other chopped candy bars), or any other toppings you think would be delicious!
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:
How to Make Pumpkin Poke Cake
Pumpkin Poke Cake
- 9 x 13 Baking Pan
- 1 yellow cake mix
- 1 14 ounce can pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 12 ounce jar caramel topping
- 1 8 ounce Cool Whip
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 Heath or Skor candy bars crushed into bits
- 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.
Storing Pumpkin Poke CakeLeave 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.
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