Now, I know that I can’t be a little persnickety about certain things when it comes to food. (Note to self: use the word persnickety more often. It makes me feels like I’m from 1920). For instance: I don’t buy donuts from grocery stores because I want bakery fresh or nothing. I make my own croutons because OF COURSE. And usually, the only pudding that’s anywhere near me is the homemade kind.
However, all rules need to be broken sometimes, and this is a perfect example. The holidays are a wonderful time to bake with and for the ones you love, but let’s face it, sometimes you’re in a rush. Sometimes you have too many other things going on. And sometimes you’d just rather watch Jessica Jones on Netflix. 😎
Everyone loves a dessert made from scratch, but I’m definitely not above using box mixes when the need arises. And I’ve found that sometimes the simplest desserts get the biggest raves. Enter the pumpkin pudding poke cake. This is a spice cake made with a pumpkin pudding packet right in it. Then for good measure you poke a bunch of holes in it and cover it with more pudding. That results in a kind of tres leches texture, which is never a bad thing in my book. 🎉
One of my favorite aspects of this cake is the topping. You whip up some heavy whipping cream, but instead of sweetening it with powdered sugar, you sweeten it with maple syrup, and then add some cinnamon. This is probably my favorite whip cream ever. I’m already imagining it heaped up on a chocolate cream pie. Yum. And then of course the whole cake is topped with cut up Heath bars. Yep. My kind of cake.
I have a soft spot for poke cakes because it seemed to be the cake of choice for a lot of my friends’ birthdays when we were growing up. Pizza followed by poke cake: birthday of awesomeness!
- For the cake:
- 1 box spice cake mix
- 1 3.4 oz pkg pumpkin spice pudding
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup sour cream
- For pudding
- 2 3.4 oz pkgs instant pumpkin spice pudding
- 4 cups milk
- For the whipped cream:
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ¾ cup chopped up Heath candy bars
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- For the cake: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix all the dry ingredients.
- Add in the eggs, oil, milk, and sour cream, and beat on medium speed until completely combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool for fifteen minutes, then poke holes all over the top of it with the end of a wooden spoon or a fork.
- Make the pudding by combining both packages of dry pudding mix with the milk. Whisk until combined, but make sure to hurry and pour it on the cake and spread it evenly before the pudding sets up and becomes thick. Most of it needs to sink down into the cake. A little may remain on top, but that's all right.
- Allow the cake to set up for an hour or two.
- To make the whip topping: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy whipping cream on medium until it forms stiff peaks. Add in the maple syrup and cinnamon, and mix until combined.
- Spread the whip cream over the cake and refrigerate.