The VERY BEST Pumpkin Poke Cake, EVER!!
The ultimate fall dessert! This pumpkin poke cake is drizzled with caramel sauce, frosted with a fluffy cream cheese frosting and topped with even more caramel sauce! You’ll love every single morsel of this uber moist, delicious pumpkin cake!
This post may contain affiliate links. Delightful E Made is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
Do you love an amazing pumpkin cake or dessert once fall hits? This pumpkin poke cake is a has been a huge hit with readers for several years here at Delightful E Made! It has surpassed over a million views and several million pins on Pinterest!
This is for good reason; this cake is incredibly moist, decadent and loaded with all the fall flavors. Its amazing from everything from a pot-luck gathering to your Thanksgiving dessert table.
What do I need to make pumpkin poke cake?
Here’s a quick reference check list of the ingredients you’ll need to make this pumpkin cake recipe. Note that I’ve linked my preferred ingredients to Target (affiliate links), where they offer same day pick-up, drive-up orders or even delivery. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Spice Cake Mix – most stores carry spice cake mix in the cake mix section, however if you cannot find spice cake mix, you can use a yellow cake mix as a substitute.
- Canned Pumpkin Puree – make sure to select a 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie mix. These are not the same product.
- Eggs – eggs are needed for the cake portion of the dessert.
- Vegetable Oil – vegetable oil is needed for the cake, and ensures a moist cake texture.
- Caramel Ice Cream Topping – caramel sauce or topping is the secret ingredient to this dessert! It is not only a topping, but also drizzled into the cake after baking! I like either Smuckers or Torani Caramel Sauce.
- Cream Cheese – the cream cheese topping to this cake takes it from good to incredible! It is wonderfully complimentary to the pumpkin cake below it.
- Milk – you’ll need a bit of milk to help create the cream cheese topping.
- Powdered Sugar – powered sugar is added to the topping mixture as the sweetener. It will create a fluffy, creamy topping.
- Cool Whip – a container of Cool Whip is needed for the cream topping. You’ll find Cool Whip topping in the frozen foods section. If you would prefer to use regular whipped cream, I would suggest using my Homemade Cool Whip, which is a stabilized whipped cream recipe.
For exact ingredient amounts and full recipe instructions be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this post to the recipe card. Thanks!
How do I make a poke cake?
First, start by making a cake in a 9 x 13″ pan. For this pumpkin poke cake recipe I use a boxed spice cake mix (pictured above with the rest of the ingredients), along with pumpkin puree, eggs, oil and water.
Using a box cake mix is a great time-saver when it comes to making a cake dessert. I also use a box cake mix with my Red Velvet Cake Parfaits.
Using either a hand or stand mixer, mix the ingredients together until the batter is smooth and free of any lumps.
Need A New 9 x 13″ Pan? This Anolon 9 x 13″ Bronze Pan with Lid is Amazing!
This 9 x 13″ non-stick pan is a staple in every kitchen. Great for cakes, desserts, casseroles and more, it includes a lid, which makes it ideal for transporting.
What should I use for poking holes into a cake for a poke cake?
When making this cake, I use a technique that I also use when making the Coconut Cream Poke cake. To keep the cake extra moist, I poke the holes in the cake just as it comes out of the oven while it is still warm.
After quite a bit of trial and error, I’ve discovered the best tools to use for poking holes into a cake are either a chop stick or a plastic straw. Paper straws will become soft and sticky from the warm cake and the end of a wooden spoon is a little too big.
One of the ingredients for making this pumpkin caramel poke cake extra decadent is the caramel sauce. Drizzling either Torani Caramel Sauce or Smuckers Caramel Ice Cream Topping into the holes of the warm cake, make is wonderfully moist and sweet.
I like the ease of using the Torani sauce, as it comes in a convenient squeeze bottle that makes it very easy to drizzle into the holes of the cake.
Making the Frosting for this Pumpkin Caramel Poke Cake Recipe:
Once the cake cools, and the caramel has set into the cake, I then add a delicious, fluffy layer of cream cheese frosting.
This cream cheese frosting/filling is made with room temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk and a container of Cool Whip. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the soft cream cheese with the powdered sugar. Add in the milk and beat together until smooth. Then, fold in the Cool Whip.
If you would prefer to use homemade whipped cream, I would suggest using my Homemade Cool Whip recipe, as it is a stabilized whipped cream recipe that will hold up to the weight of the cream cheese.
Once you’ve topped your pumpkin poke cake with the cream cheese topping, drizzle on some additional caramel sauce, as it makes for a very pretty topping.
I’ve used this frosting also as a filling for other recipes, but for this particular dessert, it works wonderfully!
The frosting is fluffy enough to set up nicely, but is also has just the right texture to fill the holes of the poke cake. My Carrot Bundt Cake recipe also includes a cream cheese frosting.
Love a great cake recipe? This Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is one that my grandma Dona is famous for!
Love Caramel Sauce? Check out my other recipes that use caramel:
- Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino Recipe
- Caramel Brulee Latte
- Iced Caramel Latte
- Copycat Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha
- Salted Caramel Apple Galette
- Snickers Apple Salad
If you loved this delicious pumpkin poke cake, check out these other pumpkin recipes:
- No Bake Pumpkin Pie
- Velvety Pumpkin Crumb Cake
- No Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
- Pumpkin Meringue Pie
- Cream Cheese Pumpkin Bread
- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookie Bars
- Pumpkin Sheet Cake
- Layered Pumpkin Dessert
- Pumpkin Dump Cake
Be sure to check out some of my other poke cake recipes:
- Coconut Cream Poke Cake
- Chocolate Poke Cake
- Chocolate Almond Joy Poke Cake
- Red Velvet OREO Poke Cake
- Lemon Poke Cake
Want to know how to turn this glorious pumpkin poke cake into cupcakes? Be sure to check out my post for Caramel Pumpkin Spice Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Filling!
Pumpkin Caramel Cream Cheese Poke Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with baking spray, set aside.
- With a hand or stand mixer, mix together the cake mix, pumpkin, water, eggs and oil stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until smooth. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350 for 30-33 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, and crumb free.
- As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, while it is still hot, poke holes into the cake with the end of a plastic straw or chop stick. In a microwave safe bowl, heat up a 1/2 cup of the caramel sauce for about 20-30 seconds, just to warm (making it easier to pour over the cake). Pour the warm caramel sauce over the top of the hot cake, making sure to get the majority of the sauce into the holes of the cake. Let the cake cool completely.
- Once the cake is cool, prepare the cream cheese topping. With a hand or stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk until smooth and creamy. Add the whipped topping, and fold into the cream cheese mixture. Spread the topping over the top of the cake, gently pressing the frosting into the holes of the cake. Smooth out evenly.
- Drizzle the top of the cake with the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce. For a decorative effect, drag a toothpick through the opposite lines of the caramel sauce in the opposite direction to make a herringbone design. Refrigerate any leftovers. Enjoy!