Salted Caramel Poke Cake

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If you’re a caramel fan, this salted caramel poke cake is just for you. It’s so delicious, quick and easy to make too! Moist chocolate cake, covered with homemade salted caramel sauce, vanilla whipped cream frosting and chunks of salted caramel Twix bars!

Slice of chocolate cake on a white plate with salted caramel sauce poured over it

I’ve been really enjoying the simplicity and the tastiness of a traybake cake lately.

I mean who doesn’t love a cake that they can get in the oven in less than 15 minutes, then frost and cover it in sprinkles in just over an hour?

If that’s not you, then I’m on a mission to convince you to love sheet cakes! And this Twix-inspired salted caramel poke cake is what is going to seal the deal!

This poke cake is sweet, decadent and chocolatey, with a tang of salted caramel and reminds me of my ultimate Twix cake. But in terms of easiness and a dessert that everyone will go crazy for, this poke cake is the way to go!

Chocolate cake on a wire cooling rack with holes poked in the top and caramel sauce poured over

What is a poke cake?

If you’ve never heard of a poke cake before, it’s true to its name and is a cake that has literally had holes poked into it, after baking.

The holes are then filled with a liquid filling like a caramel sauce or even chocolate. You can also use condensed milk, fruit puree or even custard.

What you’ll need to make this cake

The best thing about this poke cake is that not only is it simple to make and tastes amazing, there’s also no fancy ingredients.

In fact, you’ve probably got everything in the kitchen cupboards already. Yes, even if you want to make the salted caramel sauce from scratch!

For the cake, you’ll need to make sure you have vegetable oil, buttermilk, espresso coffee, eggs, plain or all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and soft brown sugar.

For the salted caramel sauce, grab my salted caramel recipe, or if you prefer you can grab a jar from the supermarket instead.

For the vanilla whipped cream frosting, you’ll need whipping cream, vanilla bean paste and icing or confectioner’s sugar.

You can make the cake and the whipped cream frosting in either a stand mixer with the paddle and whisk attachments; or you can use a handheld mixer with a large mixing bowl.

You will also need a 13×9″ sheet pan to bake the cake in – it’s also really handy for transporting the cake if you’re taking it to a celebration. Alternatively, you can divide the mixture into a lined cupcake tray or into two 8″/20cm sandwich tins.

A wooden spoon is handy for making the holes in the top of your baked cake, and an offset spatula for spreading the caramel sauce.

Over head view of a chocolate sheet cake frosted with vanilla cream and chunks of Twix candy bars

How to make salted caramel poke cake

Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card

The base of this awesome cake is my absolute favourite chocolate tray bake cake. All you need to know is that it’s super simple to make, and can be ready for the oven in less than 15 minutes.

How does that sound? I guess you’d like to know how to do it?

The cake layer

In a large mixing bowl, sieve together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar and baking powder.

Using a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, together whisk the vegetable oil and eggs, before adding the buttermilk, espresso coffee and vanilla extract and whisking again.

When the whisked wet ingredients are pale and foamy, pour the mixture in the dry ingredients and fold together. Make sure everything well combined, but don’t over mix otherwise you’ll end up with a heavy, dense cake.

Pour your beautiful chocolate cake batter into a sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.

The frosting layer

Because of that utterly gorgeous, sweet and salty, caramel sauce and the chocolate cake, instead of going for a rich buttercream, this poke cake is topped with a light whipped vanilla cream frosting.

The beauty of the whipped cream is that not only is it quicker to make and a lot lighter, but it makes this feel more like a dessert. So it’s perfect for taking to celebrations or pot lucks!

Slice of salted caramel poke cake with caramel dribbling out

The caramel sauce filling

Now there are two ways of doing this.

You know I love baking from scratch so why not make your own salted caramel. But there’s always a place in quick recipes for a shortcut and store-bought caramel sauce does the job just as well.

Filling the cake with the caramel couldn’t be simpler! Just poke the baked cake all over with a wooden spoon handle to make holes about 1 cm deep, then just pour over that caramel!

Step by step live video

Frequently asked questions

How many does the cake serve?

A 13×9 inch sheet pan will make about 24 slices.
The recipe can be used to make 12 cupcakes or two 8-inch cake layers.

How should the cake be stored?

Due to the whipped cream frosting, the cake must be stored in the refrigerator. The cake is best wrapped in clingfilm or plastic wrap, or kept in an air-tight container.

How long does the cake keep for?

The salted caramel poke cake will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.

Can the cake be frozen?

The cake can be frozen, either frosted or unfrosted, and can be stored for up to 2 months. If freezing, wrap well in plastic wrap or clingfilm and remember to defrost thoroughly before eating.

Slice of chocolate cake being drizzled in caramel sauce

Tips for making the ultimate salted caramel poke cake

This cake is just so easy to make, but here are some hand tips so you can nail the recipe every time.

  • Swap buttermilk for soured milk – If you can’t find buttermilk in the store, don’t worry! Substitute the same quantity of buttermilk for full-fat milk and add a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar. Leave for 10 minutes to allow the milk to curdle. Alternatively, you can swap for half full-fat milk and half soured cream.
  • Use a wooden spoon handle – Poke the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. This is the easiest way to get the best-sized holes to fill with caramel sauce and that are not too big that the cake falls apart.
  • Make the holes while the cake is still warm – This will make it easier to break through the top fo the cake, without tearing it.
  • Make the holes about 1 cm deep – When poking the cake, make sure not to go all the way through the layer, you only want to go about 1 cm down. This will keep the caramel in the cake and stop it seeping out of the bottom.
  • Chill whisk attachment and mixing bowl – Before you start to whip the cream for the frosting, place the whisk attachment and mixing bowl in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes, this will help you get a nice smooth whipped frosting.
  • Don’t overbeat the frosting – Whisk the cream on low speed to start and gradually move up to medium speed. When the cream begins to thicken and form stiff peaks, slow down to low speed. If you overbeat the cream can become too thick and start to split.
For with a piece of salted caramel poke cake on a plate next to a larger slice of cake

Recipe variations

Where to start? There are so many different things you can do with a poke cake, and you don’t even have to have a chocolate cake base. Here are some of my favourite ways to switch up a poke cake.

  • Tripe Chocolate – Go for all the chocolate with a chocolate cake layer, smothered in a chocolate fudge sauce and a layer of whipped chocolate frosting, then cover it in chocolate chips. Heaven!
  • White Chocolate and Raspberry – Switch the cake for a white chocolate version, and soak it with sweet raspberry sauce or jam. Finish off with a white chocolate frosting swirled with more sauce.
  • Boston Cream – I love a Boston Cream doughnut, and you can do the same with a poke cake! Go for a vanilla cake layer and fill it with creamy vanilla custard. Top off with a chocolate ganache and leave it to set.
  • Caramel Apple Crumble – Perfect for Autumn and Fall, try a spiced vanilla cake, filled with caramel sauce, and topped with a layer of apples. Finish off with a layer of crumble topping.

More tray bake recipes to try

If you liked this salted caramel poke cake recipe here are some other recipes that I think you’d enjoy…

Salted Caramel Poke Cake

5 from 1 vote
Serves : 24 slices
This salted caramel poke cake is so delicious, quick and easy to make, with moist chocolate cake, salted caramel sauce, vanilla whipped cream frosting!
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins

Equipment

Ingredients
 

For the Sheet Cake

For the Caramel Filling

For the Frosting

VIDEO

Instructions
 

  • To make the sheet cake: Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a 13×9 inch sheet pan with baking paper.
  • In a large bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder. Mix together until well combined.
  • Add the sugar to the flour mixture and mix until well-combined.
  • Using a stand mixer with the balloon whisk attachment, whisk the oil and eggs until pale in colour and frothy. Alternatively, you can whisk in a large mixing bowl, by hand or with an electric hand whisk.
  • Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract into the oil mixture and whisk well. Add the Espresso coffee and whisk again.
  • Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, and pour in the oil mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold the ingredients together. Mix well to ensure all the ingredients are well combined.
  • Pour the cake batter into the lined sheet pan, and level if required.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until springy to touch and skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  • Add the filling: While the cake is cooling, make a series of holes, about 1cm deep, in the top of the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon.
  • Pour over the salted caramel sauce, and use an offset spatula to help spread the sauce over the cake and into the holes. Leave the cake to completely cool.
  • To make the frosting: In a large bowl or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste on low speed.
  • As the cream starts to form thick peaks, increase the speed to medium and whisk until stiff. Do not over beat as the cream will spilt.
  • To assemble the cake: If transporting the cake you can ice in the pan. Spoon the whipped frosting over the top of the cake.
  • Using a palette knife, spread the frosting evenly across the cake, and add swirls for texture if you prefer. Sprinkle all over with chunks of salted caramel Twix biscuits and drizzle with any remaining salted caramel sauce.

Notes

  • Due to the whipped cream frosting, the cake must be stored in the refrigerator. The cake is best wrapped in clingfilm or plastic wrap, or kept in an air-tight container.
  • The salted caramel poke cake will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
  • The cake can be frozen, either frosted or unfrosted, and can be stored for up to 2 months. If freezing, wrap well in plastic wrap or clingfilm and remember to defrost thoroughly before eating.
  • You can use sunflower or coconut oil instead if you do not want to use vegetable oil. Avoid olive or rapeseed oil as these will taint the flavour of the cake.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of buttermilk, you can substitute with full-fat milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice, or swap for half soured cream and half full-fat milk.
  • If you can’t get hold of espresso powder, you can substitute with a strong instant coffee instead. I recommend the barista-style instant coffees such as Milicano.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 245kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 3gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 48mgPotassium: 160mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17gVitamin A: 208IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 60mgIron: 1mg

DISCLAIMER

The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.

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Hi I’m Lou

… Dessert obsessed baker, busy 9-to-5er, and the recipe developer and photographer behind Crumbs and Corkscrews. Based in the UK, I live in the beautiful Cotswolds. I’m so glad to have you here with me and I can’t wait for you to start trying some of my recipes.

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