If making desserts or baking intimidates you then you should try an easy dessert like this Hot Fudge Poke Cake.
This easy dessert cake is a fun take on an ice cream sundae, sans ice cream. However, there is nothing stopping you from piling a scoop (or two) of ice cream along side this cake.
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Fun fact: Poke cakes first became popular in the 1970’s.
This cake recipe, like most of my desserts, starts with a boxed mix. If you are into boxed mixes that easily get elevated, you might also want to try my Bailey’s Irish Cream Brownies.
What is a poke cake?
The simple answer is, a cake that you poke holes in. The holes get filled with something yummy, typically a sauce or syrup.
- Boxed cake mix and ingredients called for on box
- Instant pudding mix - chocolate or devil's food
- Hot fudge sauce
- Whipped Topping
- Maraschino Cherries
Exact amounts are listed in recipe card below.
I am using a vanilla cake here as a fun play on a hot fudge sundae with vanilla ice cream, but I bet this would be indulgent and delicious with a chocolate cake too.
Bake cake as instructed on boxed mix. This steps and ingredients involved in this step vary with brands so be sure to follow the instructions of the brand you purchase.
Once the cake is baked a cooled a bit, you will use the backend of wooden spoon, or something similarly shaped to poke holes all over the cake.
Warm the hot fudge to make it pourable and pour in all the holes and on cake.
Combine pudding mix and milk. Pour mixture over the top of the cake, creating an even layer.
Place in the refrigerator to set.
Once pudding layer is set up, spread whipped topping all over pudding layer,
Add cherries or whatever other toppings you prefer just before serving.
Drizzle additional hot fudge sauce over each individual piece as you serve it.
Hint: Bake cake in a disposable cake pan so you can leave it right in the pan without losing your good baking dish for days.
I am constantly finding myself “needing” the pan that is already in use.
You can get creative with toppings and flavors in this poke cake. Use what I’ve given you as a guide and change up what you want.
- Cake - Try chocolate instead of vanilla.
- Pudding - Other great options would be french vanilla, vanilla, banana cream or cheesecake flavor.
- Toppings - Chocolate or rainbow sprinkles, chopped nuts or chopped fruit such as strawberries.
TIP: I recommend adding your toppings when ready to serve. Toppings added to far in advance can bleed into the whipped topping, causing discoloration and/or certain toppings could become soggy.
Leftover poke cake can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
After 3 days you can technically still eat it but it is likely that it will be soggy. I do not have any experience in trying to freeze poke cake
Printable Recipe Card
Hot Fudge Poke Cake
- 1 box vanilla cake mix plus ingredients called for on box
- 12.8 ounces hot fudge sauce
- 3.4 ounce box instant pudding chocolate fudge or devil's food variety
- 2 cup milk
- 8 ounce whipped topping
- 10 ounce maraschino cherries
- Prepare cake as per box instructions in a 9x13 baking pan.
- Let cake cool, in pan for about 10 minutes.
- Using the handle of a wooden spoon or similar shaped utensil, poke holes all over the cake.
- Remove the cover from the jar of hot fudge sauce and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Pour hot fudge sauce in all the holes and the surface of the cake.
- In a bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk for 2 minutes. Mixture won't be set. Pour over the surface of cake. Place cake in fridge for pudding to set, about 30-60 minutes.
- Once pudding is set, spread whipped topping over pudding layer.
- Add toppings when ready to serve.
Amanda|The Kitcheneer says
I'm drooling over this cake!
Heather | All Roads Lead to the Kitchen says
Mmmm, not that's my kind of cake! I'm totally craving hot fudge, now. (My daughter's been asking me to make a jello poke cake for about a month now....)
The Food Hunter says
this cake looks delicious. I need to try making it.
Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes says
I eat ice cream no matter what the temperature is! Ha ha. Love this!
I have to make this soon! Looks amazing!
Thanks Colleen! It's a yummy treat and fun for kids to help poke the holes or fill the holes.
I had never even heard of one until I started blogging and then I saw them everywhere. They are really easy and the kids love helping making and filling the holes!