Chocolate Poke Cake From Scratch

This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you’ll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness in the cake while adding a rich layer of homemade pudding keeps it extra moist!  It’s all topped off with a simple one minute chocolate frosting!
This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you'll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness!

Chocolate Poke Cake

This is one of the most amazing chocolate cakes of all time!  My son calls this his favorite cake hands down!

Making a chocolate poke cake from scratch is easier than you think and it’s so worth the extra time!  If you love a great chocolaty flavor, I have a little secret to share with you!  Adding just a little bit of coffee to the batter brings out the rich chocolate flavor (but don’t worry, you don’t taste a coffee flavor).  This even works in place of water if you’re making a boxed mix!

This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you'll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness!

Originally I made this cake for my son’s 18th birthday..  but of course when you have a house full of teenage boys and a chocolate cake, getting photos is kind of challenging.  *Sigh*..  so I had to make the cake AGAIN, oh the hardships, more chocolate cake!  And it was just as amazing!

The cake itself is decadent and moist with an amazing rich chocolate flavor…  even without the pudding on top, it is excellent!!  The homemade pudding is super easy and quick and takes this cake to the next level!  The whole thing is topped with my absolute favorite one minute easy chocolate frosting.  This “poured frosting” is quick to make and requires not spreading, just pour over the cake and tilt to spread!

REPIN Chocolate Poke Cake

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This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you'll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness!

Items you’ll need for this recipe

* 9 x 13 pan * chocolate chips * cocoa powder *

This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you'll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness!
3.65 from 14 votes
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Chocolate Poke Cake

Author Holly N.

Ingredients

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Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 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
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Pudding Layer

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Frosting

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter , softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease & flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. Combine milk & lemon juice and set aside. (The mixture will thicken slightly)
  3. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda & baking powder in a large bowl.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.

Chocolate Pudding

  1. In a saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt, mix well. Add in cold milk, stir until combined.
  2. Turn heat to medium high stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil.
  3. Allow to boil for 1 minute while stirring, remove from heat and stir in butter.
  4. Allow to cool for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Poke the cake all over with the end of a wooden spoon. Pour warm pudding over warm cake. Tap the pan allowing the pudding to seep into the cake. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. (Frost after slightly cooled, about 30 minutes)

Poured Frosting

  1. In a saucepan, combine milk, butter, & sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and allow to boil 45 seconds. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Whisk until smooth and shiny and immediately pour over the cake. Refrigerate until set.

More dessert recipes

Love chocolate?  Here are a few more recipes you’ll want to check out!

Triple Chocolate Banana Bread

Cake adapted from allrecipes.com

This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you'll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness in the cake while adding a rich layer of homemade pudding keeps it extra moist!  It's all topped off with a simple one minute chocolate frosting!
This chocolate poke cake from scratch is one of the most amazing and moist cakes you'll ever have! A secret ingredient brings out the chocolatey goodness in the cake while adding a rich layer of homemade pudding keeps it extra moist!  It's all topped off with a simple one minute chocolate frosting!

Holly Nilsson

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!

172 comments on “Chocolate Poke Cake From Scratch”

  1. when you say cake / pudding/ frosting sugar which type are you using? And is the flour you use a non rising flour is that why you use the baking powder and soda?

  2. You’ve listed cocoa and cocoa powder. Are they the same thing ?

  3. Best cake I have ever made! Already have request for it for family gathering! Thanks.

  4. The pudding step:
    Do I “cool completely” or cool for 5 minutes?

    The frosting: is it frost 30 minutes after the pudding goes in or after the 4 hours or overnight refrigeration (which would make it a cold cake).

    If you mean frost after 30 minutes, then please move the refrigerate 4 hours or overnight after frosting instructions, not after the pudding instructions.

    • I have tried the pudding both ways and it worked best if it was still warm when poured over the cake.

      The frosting is separate from the refrigeration as not everyone will choose to add the frosting portion.

      • I still don’t understand Holly. I want to add the pudding layer AND the frosting. Do I add the frosting 30 mins after the pudding layer is added to the cake OR after the refrigeration of the cake for 4 hours/overnight?

        • Yes, you would add both, you just need the pudding layer to cool before adding the frosting.
          Bake the cake and while the cake is warm, add the pudding layer. Once you have added the pudding you can refrigerate the cake and let the pudding cool for 30 minutes.
          Once the pudding has cooled 30 minutes, you can add the frosting and continue to refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

  5. The sugar that you used in frosting and pudding is it the confectioners sugar or the regular sugar?

  6. If you really hate coffee . can you just add more milk?

  7. Can I add m&ms on chocolate frosting to decorate the cake for kids’ birthday?

  8. I made this cake today, and the end result was delicious!

    However, I did not think the cake would come out properly until after I took the first bite. The cake batter was incredibly runny, so much so that I questioned whether it would become cake at all. I had to leave the cake in the oven much longer than planned in order for the center to cook. I made the requisite holes for the pudding, but it seemed like more of the pudding went over the sides of the pan than in any of the holes I made. By the time I had poured frosting onto the cake, my 9X13 was so full that one wrong move on the way to the fridge would have sent a searing waterfall of chocolate pain over my hands.

    • Thank you so much for this comment, I am in the middle of making this cake with my kids now, and I was worried I had missed something as the “batter” (I don’t think I could even call it that!) is so runny, but I’m glad to know that it turns out well in the end.

      Thanks again :)

  9. I tried to make this today but the batter turned our so runny that I thought that there would be no chance of it turning out all right and I threw it away. I was so sure i got the ingredients right. Now I’m annoyed because I should have tried it!!!

  10. What kind of coffee did you use?

  11. can i leave out the pudding layer if i really cannot stand pudding? will it still be cake with yummy frosting?

    • Yes, the cake will still be moist & delicious!
      If you don’t like pudding, there are lots of other things you can pour over a poke cake including sweetened condensed milk (my favorite) or ice cream topping as well.

      • Would you pour one or two cans (the smallish cans) of sweetened condensed milk? I’m thinking two because when I have done a poke cake half the size I used one, BUT it was also a very dense cake.
        I guess I can bake it and see how things look, but any input would be appreciated :-)

        • Great question. I often do a 9×13 cake with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk and one small can of caramel ice cream topping and it’s amazing. I would start with one can, you want to make sure there’s enough to seep into the holes and soak into the cake and add a second can if you think you need more to soak in.

  12. Can I use a cup of hot chocolate (cold , of course) or chocolate milk in place of coffee?

  13. I just made this. HOLY CHOCOLATE GOODNESS! I did every step as you have in the recipe. It turned out better than any cake I’ve ever made. To those that it didn’t turn out, I’m truly sorry. This is the best PMS cake, ever. I can’t wait to add some Vanilla ice cream to this!

  14. Tried it yesterday. Turned out great.
    Thanks!

  15. This is incredible. I’m sharing it and making it and really going to like eating it! Thanks for the post! #ilovechocolate

  16. Good morning! Do you think I’d be able to use two 9″ pans with this recipe? I am eager to try it out, but I prefer double layered cakes instead of pan cake. My only concern is that the batter will not set correctly if I layer them.

    Thank you,
    Meaghan

  17. A lot of first time cooks, i see.

  18. If I’m out of corn starch can I use regular Jello Pudding? I’d love to try this out tonight!

    • I have only tried the recipe as written but I have seen other recipes using Jell-o Pudding. If it is the cooked pudding that should work well.

  19. Does the pudding soak into the cake? I don’t like the texture of pudding but it might be ok if it soaks into the cake. Any feedback n this?

  20. Can I substitute equivalent amount of buttermilk for the lemon juice and milk?

  21. How many does this serve?

  22. Just made a “3” hole chocolate cake! Easy and delish! The recipe sounds good – I would cut out some sugar!!!!

  23. I made this cake last night and I can’t wait to try it tonight. Should It be stored in the Fridge even after it sets?

  24. Do we put the pudding and frosting together?

  25. I made this today for my husbands birthday. Really yummy. I halved the cake recipe and used a 9 inch round pan-it baked in 25 minutes. I made the full amount of pudding because my husband is a big pudding fan (freak). Loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

  26. Quick question: is the frosting supposed to harde or become the consistency of a can of frosting? Mine got hard right away. Just curious! Thanks!

  27. I recommend removing all the icons from the left side of the screen, as it makes it hard to see the article and recipe… just a suggestion!

  28. This is very yummy! I am always afraid of making recipes I see on pinterest because I have been so excited about a recipe then it turns out tasting aweful. I try and read comments before making something but some times all there are are a bunch of comments saying it LOOKS good nothing stating that they tried it and it was good. This said lol it is a very good recipe. I did however have to change a couple of things with the pudding. I did not have corn starch so I used flour so if anyone runs in to tha problem they can use 1tbl of cornstarch=3 tbl of flour. And I ran out of cocoa so had to use part cocoa and part chocolate cooking bar. It probably would have been better if I was able to follow the recipe exactly but it still turned out great! Also, I did not let it sit for 4 hours. For one, I don’t like cold cake and for two I am not that patient lol. I ate a piece after about a hour of it being in the fridge so it was still a little warm and gooey. Thank you for the recipe

    • I just made this today and i made it in 3 round pan…baked 20 min …i actually stacked it in a trifle dish…filled it to the top and will be taking it to a party tomm evening…It looks pretty impressive… I will have to cut and scoop out of the dish but I am use to serving trifle so should be fine!! I am excited to taste and I think it would be great with vanilla ice-cream. Thank- you.

  29. This cake is famous around my household. They’re known to eat 4-5 pieces in one sitting. It’s kind of gross to watch. But seriously, this cake is amazing.

  30. I really hate coffee, does this have a strong coffee flavor. If so can I substitute the coffee for something else, that will still give the same result

  31. Trying with cupcakes tonight. Hope it turns out!

  32. STILL A LITTLE CONFUSED….. DO YOU POUR FROSTING ON BEFORE OR AFTER YOU REFRIGERATE CAKE OVERNIGHT?

  33. Ingredients list says milk… The directions say soured milk… What does this mean and how does one turn regular milk into soured know quickly? Sorry new at this baking thing:-)

  34. Does it matter what kind of milk you use? We drink skim milk – would a different milk taste better? I can’t wait to try this!

  35. Very Good, I cooked this for my Granddaughters today.

  36. I’m in the middle of making this now for my husband and I’m a little worried. I didn’t notice that the “pudding” had to set! We are having a birthday celebration this evening… just wondering if it’s ok to eat before its completely set? I’m thinking it’ll get about 1.5 hours, maybe the freezer instead of fridge?

    • Oh yes, it should be fine in 1.5 hours. The setting just allows time for the pudding to soak into the cake making it extra moist. I would suggest just leaving it in the fridge.

  37. How far are the holes supposed to go down?

  38. Hi holly, the amount of sugar is too large in the cake.. Can i use a lower amount? Like 3/4 cup which i think would be enough to get regular sweet taste.
    If yes would i decrease any of the liquid ingrediants?
    Same questions goes for the pudding.
    Thank you

    • I have only made the cake as written and it turned out perfectly for me as well as many other readers. I can’t say for sure how it would work if you reduce the sugar.

  39. IS the soured milk butter milk?

    • You can use buttermilk in place of soured milk or you can make your own soured milk by adding 1 cup milk & 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar and letting thicken for 5 minutes or so.

  40. Thank you Holly for this fabulous cake recipe! I needed a last minute cake for my moms birthday and this was perfect especially since I had all the ingredients. The recipe was super easy to follow…..i put it in the back in oven right before serving. It was warm and delicious and went great with ice cream. It blew everyone away at the party :) Thanks again lol!

  41. Este es el pastel de chocolate mas delicioso que he probado en mi vida!!!!! Me quedó PERFECTO!

  42. So after 1 week in the fridge, I finally ate the last piece of this cake. It held up well in a airtight container. I followed the directions, and cake was a bit runny when I put it in the oven. I had to bake it an extra 10-15 minutes longer than stated. Othet than that i followed the recipe exactly, quite easy to follow, and all I have to say is WOW!! This has been by far the best chocolate cake I have ever had, and I’m pretty picky. The moistness of this cake is to die for, not to mention that it is so rich! Better have your glass of milk handy…. you will definitely need it. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cake!

  43. Do i take the cake out of its mold?

  44. I made this poke cake with some changes. To make it more healthy i just pour chocolate frosting all over the cakewith some holes in the cake and it came out delious and not to sweet

  45. Has anyone ever froze this cake? I am dying to try this out! Thanks

  46. How far in advance can the cake be made? I need to bring a cake to a dinner party tomorrow evening around 6 – can I make it tonight and keep it in the fridge until I have to leave for the party? Thanks!!

  47. I had to make this twice because everyone at work loved it! My boss is on a carb free diet but she had to have a second piece.Thank you for the recipe!

  48. What could I use instead of Lemon Juice?

  49. Can this recipe be doubled?

  50. I made this last week, Turned out fantastic, My husband loved it!! will absolutely be making this again

  51. Can you taste the coffee in the finished product?

  52. Hi,so do you use All-purpose flour

  53. I just made this and I have a question. Is the pudding suppose to cover the top after poured over? I guess I was just thinking it would somehow get sucked down into the holes. I did tap the pan several times. It just seems like a lot of pudding on top. I’m sure it will be delicious either way. I was just curious. I still need to make the frosting and pour over, but I’m excited to try it! Yesterday was my birthday and I wanted to make this, but the day got away from me so I’m doing it today. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Happy Birthday! I hope your day (and your cake) was wonderful! It does sit on top and create a layer. While it rests for 4 hours a lot of the pudding will seep into the cake but you will still have thin layer on top.

  54. I have a recipe similar to this one but I will give this one a try my chocolate

  55. If i had to remove the eggs in this recipe bcos of egg allergy would you know what i could replace it with for it to still work?

  56. I made this last week and my family love it. Can I substitute the vegetable oil with melted butter?

  57. Can I reduce the sugar content? If so, by how much?

  58. I made this wonderful recipe for a picnic and it was fantastically delicious! I absolutely love the THREE layers of chocolate! The cake was moist. The pudding layer was an added bonus. The frosting supurb! This will definitely go on my fav list!

  59. How do I print the recipe without printing 40 pages of other stuff?

  60. When go you add milk and lemon juice,it says set aside
    Then no further directions are given

  61. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Do you use butter milk (is that the sour milk you use?) for all the parts that require milk or just for the cake portion? Thanks!

  62. I was reading through all the comments and noticed you said in one response that you use Non-Rising all purpose flour. Does that just mean it’s regualr all purpose flour and NOT self rising flour?

  63. I’m planning on serving this cake this Sunday around dinnertime. Would it be alright to make it on Friday or is that too long to let it hang out in the fridge? This looks amazing btw! Thanks!

  64. Hi from the UK. Itching to try to make this but always get confused as to the conversion into grams and ml. Do you have a recommended link or way of working these measurements out please? Thanks in advance x

  65. I was craving chocolate so I searched “chocolate cake” on pinterest. This was the one I had to try…and let me tell you….it is absolutely the most delicious chocolate cake in existence. Also, the way you write your recipe is so easy to follow. Thank you for this recipe!

    ✌️ Keli

  66. Can I substitute the lemon juice with lime juice in the cake?

    • The lemon juice is to sour the milk in this recipe (it doesn’t add flavor). I would suggest substituting it with white vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice or to replace the milk/lemon juice with buttermilk.

  67. Does the cake have to stay refridgerated, after fully making it? Or can it be out?

  68. This cake looks amazing! Would love to try it. Has anyone made it using gluten-free flour? If so, what kind? Thanks.

  69. This looks really delicious – however…………I count 3 2/3 Cups of sugar – that is a TON of sugar for one cake.

  70. I’d love to try this recipe, but am unsure about using cup measurements for the butter and chocolate chips in the frosting, as we would you gram measurements in the UK. Can you advise how much the weight would be in grams please?

  71. Trying this today!!!

  72. Just finished making this cake, got it in the frig and WOW! I can’t wait to have a slice. Heading to the store for some vanilla ice for when it’s ready. I haven’t tasted the cake but did lick the spoon from the pudding and frosting, awesome! And I used all dark chocolate . Thank you for what I am sure the only chocolate cake for this house.

  73. Instead of 1 cup coffee, could you use a cup of Coca Cola?

  74. I love your chocolate poke cake. It’s easy, tasty and entire,y homemade. Great job.

  75. Do you store the cake in the fridge?

    • You can refrigerate the cake (because of the pudding layer) but leave it out about an hour or so before serving.

  76. Hi Holly
    How can I make a vanilla moist came out of this recipe. I live chocolate but my husband love a moist vanilla cake. Would love to hear from u.
    Thanks

  77. I love your recipes. So easy to follow and they are all good. Thank you.

  78. One of the better chocolate cakes I have ever made. Super moist. Easier to make than I thought it would be, especially the pudding. Did not add the frosting this time. Maybe next time. Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. Extra yummy. I highly recommend this cake. 4 1/2 stars.

  79. It’s a snow day! I thought I had more coffee and all I have is pumpkin flavored coffee and espresso. Do you suggest I do a long espresso and add water to make a cup or just use the pumpkin?? Thank you!

  80. Delicious but recipe calls for a TON of sugar. I used 1/2 the sugar in the cake and pudding, and no sugar in the frosting, and it still turned out decadent and sweet!

  81. Do I have to refrigerate the cake for 4 hours? I am making this cake because guests are coming and time is not with me. Can I represent the cake while it is warm?

    • Letting is set for 4 hours allows a chance for the pudding to soak into the cake and make it moist. It would still be good warm though! Enjoy!

  82. The cake was really good! Everyone in the fam loved it! Thanks for this cake, cuz it’s AWESOME!!!

  83. Best cake I have ever made, and I am an avid cook. Someone else mentioned it’s a “PMS cake” ….YES! I will be making this cake once a month for life and passing it on to younger generations. It is THAT good. Satisfies every type of chocolate craving I have at once. And it’s soo easy. And I usually have all ingredients in hand. Thank you for sharing!

    • I am so glad you like the cake, Melissa! It is definitely the go-to cake for chocolate cravings!

  84. Can it be served warm after the refrigeration sets it? If so, how would you recommend?

    • I would serve this room temperature. If you’d like it warm you could microwave it very slightly however this would likely cause the frosting to melt.

  85. Soured Milk??? What is that?

    • To sour milk you add a bit of lemon juice to milk. It is listed in step 2 of the directions. Hope that helps!

  86. I was a little worried about trying a new recipe when I had to make enough for 50 people, but I read the comments, and decided to give it a try. I bake a lot, and make this quantity once a month, and this was absolutely one of the best chocolate cakes I had ever made. The recipe was easy to double, so I only had to make two batches, the instructions were very clear, the results, delicious. The only problem I had was the pudding never boiled, so it might have gotten a bit thick before pouring over the cake, but I will watch out for that next time.Leftovers stayed nice and moist in the fridge for several days.Thank you so much for a wonderful chocolate cake!

    • I am so glad you enjoyed this Karen! Thank you for your kind words, you really made my day!

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