Chocolate Caramel Cake

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Chocolate Caramel Cake is a delicious poke cake recipe that is ultra moist and delicious & fully loaded with caramel!

A decadent cake soaks up caramel for a moist and rich dessert that everyone goes crazy for!

Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake on a plate

You know how you have those few recipes you’re known for.  The recipes and dishes that people always expect you to bring to events…  *this* Chocolate Caramel Cake (along with my famous Carrot Cake) is the cake I’m known for.  I am ALWAYS asked to bring this poke cake and it always gets rave reviews!

It has been known in our family as Divorce Cake for years… the first time I made it, my husband loved it so much that he ate the WHOLE cake!  He then told me if I made it again he’d have to leave me… and “Divorce Cake” was born!  Our friends have called it divorce cake for as long as I can remember and even though I always make it…  he’s still here (I think he stays for the cake).

What is a Poke Cake?

If you’ve never had a poke cake before, this will rock your world! A poke cake is exactly what it sounds like.. a fluffy cake poked all over and usually topped with a sauce like caramel or chocolate.  I have a killer Chocolate Poke Cake From Scratch that I top with a homemade pudding mixture.  Any kind of cake works and I even make a colorful Red White and Blue Poke Cake for the holidays but I do think this Caramel Chocolate Cake is my fave!

Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake in a clear dish

The caramel chocolate cake starts with a cake baked to tender perfection and while still warm, like a typical poke cake, I poke holes all over the top.  The cake is then topped with caramel sauce and sweetened condensed milk which will seep into the holes and make it insanely moist.

I make this cake using a from-scratch cake mix but you can also use a boxed cake mix to save time if you’d like!

The whole cake is then cooled and topped with whipped topping (or freshly whipped cream) and drizzled with more caramel and chocolate.  I love to add shavings of chocolate and even Heath Bits to decorate it.

Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake on a white plate

One thing I love about this cake is that it’s better if it sits overnight.  That means it’s easy to make ahead of time and perfect for potlucks, parties, and dinners.

closeup of chocolate poke cake with a caramel and chocolate topping
5 from 19 votes
Review Recipe

Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Author Holly Nilsson
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Chocolate Poke Cake loaded with caramel is the perfect cake for any gathering! A delicious from scratch cake soaks up caramel for a moist and rich dessert that everyone goes crazy for!


  • 1 9 x13 chocolate cake either boxed or homemade recipe below
  • 1 can sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup Caramel Ice Cream Topping or homemade
  • 8 ounces whipped topping or 2-3 cups whipped cream
  • chocolate sauce & chopped chocolate for garnish
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brewed coffee cooled
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

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  • Cake (if using a box mix, follow the directions for a 9×13 pan)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease & flour a 9×13 inch pan.
  • Combine milk & lemon juice and set aside. (The mixture will thicken slightly)
  • Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & baking powder in a large bowl.
  • Add eggs, coffee, soured milk, oil and vanilla. Beat medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pans. (Your batter may seem runny at this point but it will bake up beautifully.)
  • Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Be sure to check the cake at 30 minutes so it doesn’t over cook.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and cool 15 minutes.
  • Poke holes all over the entire cake using the end of a wooden spoon. Pour the sweetened condensed milk and ¾ of the caramel sauce over the cake allowing it to seep into the holes.
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight (minimum 4 hours, longer is better)
  • Top with whipped topping, remaining caramel sauce, chocolate sauce and chopped chocolate.

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information does not include toppings.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 272, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 203mg, Potassium: 161mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 23g, Vitamin A: 123IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 55mg, Iron: 1mg

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword Chocolate Caramel Cake

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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I’m almost done making the cake recipe, and I notice there’s no salt!! This can’t be right, with baking soda and baking powder. Right?

  2. I made this cake also the chocolate cake from scratch and brought it to bible study for dessert and it was a hit. Thank you. Will be making this again.5 stars

  3. In your recipe for homemade chocolate cake, you add lemon juice to your milk. why don’t you just add buttermilk? Thanks for your recipes!

    1. You can use buttermilk if you’d like. Many readers don’t have buttermilk on hand so soured milk is a great option.

  4. Love the idea for this recipe and going to make it for our Christmas get together. Should I add the whipped cream right before serving? OR should I add it after it cools off a little in the fridge? I am making this the night before our get together.5 stars

  5. Have you ever tried to make this in cupcake form?
    I’m considering it for a work function, it sounds delicious, but I was hoping for cupcakes.

  6. Hi,it sure looks incredible,I was wondering if I can make it using round tin instead of 13*9 also using caramel sauce n condensed milk will it turns out to b more sweet? Thanks

  7. I have a can of sweetened condensed caramel flavored milk that I’d love to use – but do you think that might be TOO much caramel? (Like that’s even a thing, right??)

  8. I was just wondering why there is no slat in this cake recipe? Did you find it works better without or doesn’t need it. I am making it right now and was curious. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. You’re welcome! I find the cake doesn’t need salt, but feel free to add some if you like a little salt in your cake.

  9. Gosh this recipe look heavenly!!  I like to make cakes from scratch when I can, but the coffee concerns me a bit as I don’t like the taste of it at all.  I know coffee is often used a chocolate flavor inhanser.  Will there be a hint of coffee flavor in this cake after using a cup?  Thanks so much for sharing this recipe.  I can’t wait to make it for the family!

    1. I don’t taste the coffee but I love the flavor of coffee. You could replace it with a different liquid (water would be best). Enjoy!

  10. I’m in process of making this cake. One question.  Do I mix the condensed milk and 3/4 cup caramel sauce together and then pour over cake?

  11. Hi Holly! I am making this cake for my boyfriend’s birthday (he LOVES caramel and chocolate!). I am trying to keep it a surprise and it would make things easier if I could make the cake two nights in advance. Do you think that would work or will it not taste as good?
    Let me know as soon as you can (would love to make it tonight!). I am very excited to try it out. I know he will love it!

  12. Hey, Holly! I happen to have a quart of milk just barely sour from a night of the refrigerator having shut off. I was going to toss it, but would that work in place of combining lemon juice and milk to sour? Can’t wait to try this recipe either way, thanks!

    1. I would not suggest using spoiled milk as spoiled milk can have bacteria while this soured milk is just curdled.

  13. I had this cake at My oldest daughters in Abilene, TX for New Eve. I made it about a month ago the same as she made it. We used Duncan Hines Swiss chocolate cake mix, I always add milk instead of water. When taken out of oven poke with holes all over top with wooden spoon handle. I mix the Carmel ice cream topping and sweetened condensed milk together and pour on top of cake. Cool. When cool I add a small carton of extra creamy cool whip and crushed heath bits on top. If I’m taking this anywhere but home I DO NOT use nuts.

  14. I’ve a question. I opened my can of condensed milk. It looks brown, not white like it normally does. It is old, but not expired. Do you think it’s still safe to use, or should I discard it, and get a fresher can? What would you do?

    1. There should be a date on the can somewhere. While a brownish condensed milk should be safe to use if the date is fine and it is sealed, I personally would use a fresher can.

  15. I am making this cake for the Mahjongg class
    tomorrow night. These ladies are so patient with me as a “new” student so I wanted to show my appreciation. That’s my excuse, because I truly love to cook and bake.

    1. The cake is refrigerated overnight, and then the whipped cream is placed on top of the cake when it’s time to serve!

  16. Just saw your recipe for Caramel Chocolate Poke Cake. Looks great. Gonna give it a whirl and see how it turns out. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Should the sweetened condensed milk be warm before I pour it over the cake? Or will it absorb from the warmth of the cake.

  18. This has been one of my favorite cakes for as long as I can remember and it’s now my husband’s favorite cake that he requests every year for his birthday. I’ve always known it as “Better Than Sex” cake lol. The only difference from the recipe I’ve always used, compared to yours (which also sounds like a wonderful idea!) is adding crushed Heath candy bars in place of the pecans. I add a layer of the crushed Heath bars on top of the caramel/sweetened condensed milk and also sprinkle the remainder of the crushed candy bars on top of the cool whip. This is an amazing cake, no matter what you add to it!

    1. Crushed heath is an AMAZING addition to this cake but I’ve never tried them under the Cool Whip! I’ll try it next time for sure!

    2. I don’t have enough powdered sugar to make whip topping. Do you have a recipe for a chocolate pudding frosting for this cake

  19. I have the homemade cake in the oven now and it smells incredible. Can’t wait to taste the final product.

  20. I tried this recipe and it tuned out really well! I didn’t have any whip cream on hand but it still came out really good!

  21. Hi Holly, I just wondering if you mix the sweetened condensed milk with the Carmel sauce before you pour it over the cake or do you pour them separately unmixed and just drizzle both over ?

  22. Hi, I have a silly question! I am using the box chocolate cake this time around. Im assuming the first few steps are skipped but do you reccomend adding coffee or vanilla to the cake box mix or just skip it all together ?

    Thank you!

    1. You could either make the cake just per the box directions or replace the water called for on the box with coffee. Either would work just fine. :) Enjoy!