Best ever Chocolate Poke Cake recipe with no instant pudding or cake mix! Moist, fudgy double chocolate sheet cake with rich chocolate frosting and filling.
This light, moist, intensely chocolatey cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true! From the easy chocolate cake mix to the chocolate filling to the fluffy chocolate frosting, every bite of this Chocolate Poke Cake is packed with rich chocolate flavor. This decadent chocolate cake recipe is easy for anyone to master, no matter what their skill level is in the kitchen.
The best part of this Chocolate Poke Cake is that it’s completely homemade – no instant chocolate pudding or boxed cake mix needed. If you aren’t much of a baker, this is a super easy cake recipe to make from scratch that comes out perfectly moist every time! There are no special ingredients, just regular baking items you have in your pantry like unsweetened cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk.
If you’ve never made a poke cake, be prepared to have your life forever changed. Poke cakes are a regular sheet cake that you poke holes into (hence poke cake) and add a sweet sauce that gets soaked into every bit thanks to the holes. There are lots of ways to make poke cake filling, like prepared pudding or instant pudding mix, but this recipe uses a homemade hot fudge sauce. Using sweetened milk chocolate sauce instead of instant chocolate pudding makes this fudgiest poke cake ever.
Another thing that makes this the Ultimate Chocolate Poke Cake is the deep chocolate flavor in every layer. There are 2 cups of unsweetened cocoa powder total, plus melted chocolate chips and hot coffee to bring out the dark chocolate taste. Coffee may seem like a surprise ingredient but it’s actually a best way to get the most intense chocolate flavor in your desserts! Make it even more intense by adding a tablespoon instant espresso powder.
This decadent Chocolate Poke Cake is ready to serve once it is frosted with the easy chocolate Buttercream Frosting. You could make this cake days ahead of time since it only gets better as the filling soaks into the cake. If you want to skip the chocolate frosting, top your cake with Cool Whip or serve warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream instead.
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VARIATIONS ON CHOCOLATE POKE CAKE
- Chocolate Pudding: Sweetened condensed milk is very sweet, so for a slightly less sweet poke cake you can use chocolate instant pudding mix. Mix chocolate pudding mix with 2 cups milk.
- Cake Mix: Make this cake even easier by swapping the chocolate cake ingredients with a box of your favorite cake mix. Devil’s food cake mix is a popular flavor! Something to keep in mind though is boxed cake mix is usually sweeter than from scratch.
- Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake: Prepare the Chocolate Poke Cake and frost as usual. Drizzle the top of the cake with Salted Caramel Sauce and sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and chopped pecans.
- Peppermint Mocha Poke Cake: Swap ½ cup peppermint white chocolate chips for the chocolate chips in the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Add peppermint extract to frosting and sprinkle crushed candy canes to finish.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Poke: To make Peanut Butter Chocolate Poke Cake, melt ½ cup creamy peanut butter with the chocolate sauce filling. Top with regular frosting in recipe card or substitute Peanut Butter Frosting. Garnish with chopped Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
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HOW TO STORE CHOCOLATE POKE CAKE
- Serve: Cool cake completely before adding sauce filling and frosting. Serve Chocolate Poke Cake at room temperature or warm cake first. Chill cake after 2 hours at room temperature.
- Store: Transfer Chocolate Poke Cake to an airtight container or cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate covered cake for up to 4 days and bring to room temperature to serve.
- Freeze: Once cooled, freeze frosted or unfrosted cake in a sealed container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze Chocolate Poke Cake for up to 6 months unfrosted or 2 months with frosting. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup hot coffee , you can substitute boiling water
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2/3 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking pan with baking spray.
- In a stand mixer on low speed mix together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla then add it to the stand mixer on low then medium speed until just combined and finally add in the hot coffee carefully and stir it in by hand until just combined (do not turn on the mixer, it may splash on you).
- Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes then remove.
- Add chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute.
- Stir the sweetened condensed milk until creamy and smooth
- Using a fork, poke cake all over then pour the chocolate mixture over the top.
- Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan and whisk in the cocoa powder then remove from the heat and let cool.
- Add the cooled chocolate mixer to your stand mixer and whip on medium speed adding the powdered sugar and milk, alternating them ⅓ at a time and finally add the vanilla in last.
- If the frosting is too thick, add a bit more milk.
- Spread over cooled cake.