Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

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This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into a delicious cake form. This decadent dessert is a chocolate lovers dream. Perfect for a holiday celebration!

This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration! | Persnickety Plates

Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

It’s Thanksgiving week! Are you ready?! That also means that Christmas is just over a month away.

A sure sign that the holiday season is upon us? I made two batches of cookies last night and a dish for my husband’s office potluck. The holiday season is in full swing.

My mother-in-law is coming into town tomorrow and will be staying with us. She hasn’t met Julia yet so we’re looking forward to that. [But, we’ve never had a house guest before. Say a little prayer for me and my OCD ways.]

My brother will also be coming home from school this week. Then my other brother will be coming from Florida in a couple weeks.

This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration! | Persnickety Plates

Throw in holiday baking, shopping, decorating, and togetherness and this season is going to be full of fun.

We’re also going to have a “Friendsgiving” tomorrow night before the full family dinner on Thursday. I’m usually in charge of side dishes or desserts on holidays. They’re my thing. I’m bringing this cake.

This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration! | Persnickety Plates

Hot Chocolate Poke Cake Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • Cake Mix – Use your favorite chocolate cake mix – I like Dark Chocolate Fudge.
  • Chocolate Pudding Mix – You’ll need two 3.4 ounce boxes of instant chocolate pudding. One for the cake mix and one for the pudding layer.
  • Eggs – Large eggs are what I tested the recipe with.
  • Vanilla – Pure vanilla extract instead of imitation for the best flavor.
  • Chocolate Milk – I originally used International Delight heat and serve hot chocolate in this cake but it may have been discontinued because I haven’t seen it recently. If you can’t find it, you can use chocolate milk in this recipe.
  • Vegetable Oil – For the cake mix.
  • Sour Cream – Makes the cake extra moist.
  • Hot Fudge Sauce – Don’t get chocolate syrup, get hot fudge sauce, like Sanders.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream – To make the homemade whipped cream.
  • Cocoa Powder – Unsweetened cocoa powder to make the whipped cream with a bit of sugar.

Making a slow cooker hot chocolate bar would be fun (dish it up with a ladle, have fun toppings…) but I wanted to incorporate it into a tasty cake. It’s really chocolatey so if you’re a chocolate fan, you won’t be disappointed.

If you’re not in the mood for cake, you can make some cosmic brownie hot chocolate bombs.

If you want a fun gift idea, try my homemade hot cocoa mix.

This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration! | Persnickety Plates

Given that it snowed about a foot here on Saturday, hot chocolate anything is appropriate.

If you haven’t made a poke cake before, they’re really easy. A few steps, but easy steps.

How to make Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration! | Persnickety Plates

This poke cake starts with a doctored cake mix, then you poke holes in it, pour on some hot fudge sauce, top that with a layer of chocolate pudding, then smother it with a chocolate whipped cream.

Drizzle on some more hot fudge sauce and sprinkle on some marshmallow bits and mini chocolate chips and call it a day.

This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration! | Persnickety Plates

Other poke cakes you might like:

Pistachio Pudding Cake

Caramel Apple Poke Cake

Halloween Jell-O Poke Cake

Cannoli Poke Cake

Click here to view my entire collection of cakes.

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Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

Melissa | Persnickety Plates
This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake takes everything you love about hot chocolate and puts it into cake form. Perfect for a holiday celebration!
4.49 from 77 votes
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 446 kcal


For the cake

  • 15.25 ounce chocolate cake mix I like dark chocolate fudge
  • 3.9 ounce instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate milk chilled
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup sour cream I used light

For the Fudge Layer

  • 1 cup hot fudge sauce

For the Pudding Layer

  • 3.9 ounce instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk I used 2%

For the Whipped Cream

Optional Toppings

  • hot fudge for drizzling
  • marshmallow bits
  • mini chocolate chips


To make the cake

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add all the "cake" ingredients (cake mix, one instant pudding mix, eggs, vanilla, chocolate milk, vegetable oil, and sour cream) and beat on medium speed until well combined.
  • Pour into the 9×13 baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let cool for approximately 10-15 minutes then poke holes all over it using the end of a wooden spoon or something of similar size & shape.

For the hot fudge layer

  • Pour 1 cup of hot fudge sauce into a bowl and warm for approx. 20 seconds. Pour it over the cake and let it absorb into the holes, spreading with a spatula to evenly distribute. Place cake into the fridge to completely cool.

For the chocolate pudding layer

  • Once the cake has cooled, prepare the pudding layer. In a medium bowl, add the instant chocolate pudding mix and 2 cups of milk. Whisk together and immediately pour over the cooled cake. Put the cake back in the fridge to set.
  • While the cake is setting, put the bowl of your stand mixer (or a metal mixing bowl) and whisk attachment into the freezer to get them really cold, for about 15 minutes.

To make the chocolate whipped cream

  • Remove the mixing bowl and whisk from the freezer. Add the heavy cream, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar to the chilled bowl and mix on medium-high until stiff peaks form. This can take up to 8-9 minutes.
  • Remove the cooled cake from the fridge and top with the whipped cream, spreading it evenly with a spatula.
  • Drizzle with hot fudge sauce and top with marshmallow bits and mini chocolate chips.



This recipe was originally written with International Delight Hot Chocolate, which has since been discontinued. It has been updated to include chocolate milk in place of the hot chocolate.
Cool Whip or plain whipped cream can be used in place of the chocolate whipped cream.
Store cake covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Serving: 1gCalories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 47gProtein: 6gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 72mgSodium: 451mgPotassium: 241mgFiber: 1gSugar: 28gVitamin A: 500IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 131mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying/pasting and/or screenshots of full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected.

For another delicious chocolate cake recipe, try my Chocolate Snack Cake!

Do you have family or friends coming in for the holidays?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of International Delight. The opinions and text are all mine.

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  1. Healing Tomato says

    5 stars
    This looks absolutely heavenly! I love the the chocolately goodness.

  2. Melanie says

    This looks delicious! I may have to make it soon!

  3. Debra says

    Oh my word. This sounds so heavenly! I want a slice!

  4. LydiaF says

    5 stars
    What a clever idea for a poke cake! Everyone already loves the flavors so it’s sure to be a hit!

  5. Rebecca Brosemer Miller says

    5 stars
    Yes! My sister, brother-in-law and nephew will be coming for the holiday!! They would absolutely love this cake!!

    • Melissa Williams says

      Your first married holiday? Have fun!! =)

  6. Meagan says

    This is mouthwatering! I love that you used hot chocolate too. I’m definitely going to be making this during the holidays.

  7. Matt @ Plating Pixels says

    I just hosted a Friendsgiving and cooked my first ever turkey. Hope you have for fun with yours! Yum on this too, and now I know what a poke cake is!

    • Melissa Williams says

      I’m pretty new to poke cakes, too, but they’re fun =) Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Kadie says

    WOW! This recipe looks so GOOD! I’m totally going to try it my family loves chocolate this looks so rich and perfect. 🙂

    • Melissa Williams says

      Thanks, Kadie. It definitely is rich =)

  9. Cathy M says

    I hardly use this word because I hate the way it sounds, but your cake looks so “moist!!!” It looks amazing!! Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  10. Jesenia says

    This looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Kathy says

    Sounded so rich and fun to try. The center never gets done. Going in 45 minutes in a 9×13 pan at 350. So many ingredients that waste. Won’t try this again.

    • Melissa Williams says

      Sorry it didn’t work out. It sounds like an issue with your oven. It’s just a doctored cake mix – there’s no reason it shouldn’t bake in 20-30 mins.

    • Lane says

      I had this exact issue too. I added extra fudge on top, hoping that salvages the rest. I got it out after 30 minutes and the middle was so liquid that as soon as I set it down, it deflated and the toothpick came out completely covered in liquid. I cooked it an extra 10 mins, seems to be done now, but the outside is definitely crunchy!

    • Melissa Williams says

      Are you in a high elevation? I just made this again this week to shoot the video & it was done right around 35 minutes.

  12. Elizabeth Tjarks says

    Soooooo I used hot chocolate mix….. is it supposed to be prepared liquid hot chocolate?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yes, I used prepared. Let me know how it turns out with the mix…

  13. Abby says

    What do you suggest if I can’t find the international delight hot chocolate?

    • Melissa Williams says

      chocolate milk will work 🙂 I updated the text to reflect that, though I think Kroger still carries the ID version.

  14. Kim says

    Can you make this cake without the sour cream?
    I can not have it due to food allergies.

  15. Marlene says

    For your recipe for Hot Chocolate Poke Cake, how many boxes of instant puddings do you need? List of ingredients say 1 but directions call for 2.. Could you clarify? Thanks

    • Melissa Williams says

      Hi Marlene – there are two in the ingredient list. One under the “cake” section and one under the “pudding” section. You need two.

  16. Jenny says

    4 stars
    Is this cake meant to be eaten cold? Also, I forgot the pudding layer. Can I make it and add it on top?

    • Melissa Williams says

      I don’t think I’d put it on top of the whipped cream, but it’ll be good without it. Yes, I keep it chilled.

  17. Karrie Lambert says

    5 stars
    Made and took this cake along with the chex mix to church and brought very little home. I love your site and your recipes. Soon I’ll make some dinner ones, I can’t wait!!

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