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!
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!
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.
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.
Chocolate Caramel Cake
- 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
HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE (OPTIONAL)
- 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
- Cake (if using a box mix, follow the directions for a 9×13 pan)
HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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When you make the poke cake do you poke the holes in the cake with an ice pick or with the handle of a wooden spoon? Trying to decide how big you want the holes! Thanks so much! Making this for my husband’s 80th birthday party. There will be 60 guests so should I make 4, 9X13 cakes?
I use the end of a wooden spoon or the back of a chopstick. 4 cakes should be perfect. Enjoy Ann!
I have no lemon juice, would lime juice work? Thank you!
I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Jess, but that should work just fine. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!
I’m going to be making your chocolate caramel poke cake for a birthday soon. I have just one question: Do you mix the sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce together before pouring over the top, or pour them on separately? Can’t wait!
I pour them over separately. Enjoy Joanne!
This is, by far, the best cake I’ve ever made. Went with the homemade cake and caramel. My family raved about it. Thanks for posting this delicious recipe.
Can you freeze poke cakes?
Hi Tracy, I haven’t tried freezing this recipe but most poke cakes do well when frozen. Once cooled, cover well and freeze. To defrost, let it sit in the refrigerator overnight or until thawed then serve.
I am not a fan of coffee. I was wondering if I left it out of the recipe, would it do much to the cake itself?
You can substitute water for the coffee in this recipe, just make sure you use the same amount of water as you would coffee!
This cake is amazing. A real hit with the family. Thank you so much for the recipe
You’re welcome Phyllis, so happy to hear that!
How do you make the chocolate caramel poke cake in a layered cake instead of a sheet cake?
I’ve never tried making it as a layered cake but I think it’ll work. I’d use round cakes, and make sure they have a flat top before poking and adding the sauce. Let us know how it turns out if you try it Susan!
What do you use the lemon juice and condensed milk for?
This is the soured milk that is added in step 4.
The very best banana bread I’ve ever tasted or made in my life and I’m 60 years old
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?
You can add a pinch of salt to the homemade cake if you’d like.
1/2 tsp of salt definitely needs to be added.
I’m making this!!