Hot Chocolate Poke Cake
Hot chocolate poke cake takes the flavors of hot chocolate and elevates them into a delicious cake that will satisfy any chocolate-lover’s sweet tooth.

We had an early Christmas celebration this past week, and of course, I volunteered to make dessert. I knew I wanted to make a cranberry orange tart that I first tried last Christmas (check out my website for that one), since I had a full bag of cranberries in my crisper drawer, but I was feeling completely uninspired about what else to make.

So, I sent a text to my sister to ask the most creative person I know—my 5-year-old niece—what I should make.

The answer came back: chocolate chip cookies.

OK, so not the most creative answer. But my sister saved the day, sharing a recipe she was eyeballing, and it turned out to be a huge hit and an absolutely delicious dessert.

This comes from the blog “Persnickety Plates.” You can find the original post at I didn’t do any playing with the recipe outside of clarifying a few directions.

Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

Hot chocolate poke cake takes the flavors of hot chocolate and elevates them into a delicious cake that will satisfy any chocolate-lover's sweet tooth.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake mix, chocolate cake, chocolate chips, dark chocolate, easy dessert, hot chocolate, hot fudge topping, instant pudding, mini marshmallows, whipped cream


  • 15.25 ounce dark chocolate cake mix
  • 2, 3.9 ounce instant chocolate pudding mixes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cold chocolate milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 11 to 12 ounces hot fudge topping
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • mini marshmallows and chocolate chips for topping


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the cake mix, one box of instant pudding, eggs, vanilla, chocolate milk, oil and sour cream until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour it evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes, and then, using a skewer or the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the cake.
  • Heat the hot fudge topping in the microwave until it is easy to pour, and then pour over the cake, spreading it out with a spatula, if necessary, to get it evenly distributed.
  • Let the cake cool completely, either on the counter or in the refrigerator before continuing to the next step.
  • Once the cake is completely cooled, add the other box of pudding mix along with the two cups of milk to a bowl and whisk until they are well combined. Pour the pudding mixture evenly over the cake and put it in the refrigerator to set. (I let mine set overnight.)
  • For the whipped cream, add the heavy cream, cocoa powder and powdered sugar to a mixing bowl and beat on high for several minutes until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  • Spread the whipped cream evenly over top of the cake and finish it off with some mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.
  • Keep the cake refrigerated until you’re ready to serve it, and keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

This was chocolate cake, elevated to a whole new level. The hot fudge and pudding layers kept it especially moist, and there’s nothing to complain about when it comes to fresh chocolate whipped cream.

My little cousins really enjoyed it, and my sister gave the recipe two thumbs up, as well.

My niece also seemed to enjoy it, so I was glad I didn’t disappoint her by skipping out on her chocolate chip cookies. I’ll have to make her a batch sometime soon, although by then, she’ll probably have a new kind of sweet on her mind.

This piece first appeared in print on Dec. 22, 2022.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.