This easy and delicious pumpkin poke cake is a perfect fall dessert.
I first made this cake a few years ago for a dessert when we had family over. I was just going to make a pumpkin sheet cake, but for some reason at the last minute I was worried it might seem a bit bland, so poke poke poke, add some caramel sauce, and voila, pumpkin poke cake. It turned out being one of my family’s favorite desserts that they ask for year round. Who am I to judge if they want pumpkin poke cake in February? I mean pumpkin is a vegetable, so basically this pumpkin poke cake is health food, right? (Work with me on that one).
I find that from season to season, canned pumpkin can vary a bit in consistency. Every now and then it seems like there are batches of really runny pumpkin. If you have what seems to be a rather runny can of pumpkin, you can always increase the flour by a tablespoon or two to help compensate. To make this cake I mix my wet ingredients together, mix my dry ingredients together, then combine the two.
I’ve made this as both a sheet cake, baking in a jelly roll pan, and in a 13×9 pan.
Once all ingredients are combined you pour your batter into a greased jelly roll pan. The standard size for a jelly roll pan is 15 inches by 10 inches, and at least 1 inch tall on the sides. I have a pan with 1 1/2″ sides, which I prefer, but either will work. After baking your cake, you remove it from the oven and poke holes into it. You can use the back of a spoon, a lollipop stick or a straw to do this. I used a lollipop stick for this cake. You are simply creating areas for the caramel to seep into when you pour it on. You can use a store-bought or homemade caramel sauce for this recipe. Both will be delicious.
After pouring on the caramel you can either let the cake cool, then frost, frost immediately allowing the frosting to seep into the cake, or skip frosting all together and serve as is. It will be delicious any way you go. I made a caramel frosting to go with my cake, but this cake is also fantastic paired with a cream cheese frosting. This pumpkin poke cake recipe is a flexible one.
PUMPKIN POKE CAKE
Pumpkin Poke Cake
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1-15 oz can solid pack pumpkin not pumpkin pie mix
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 caramel sauce click here for recipe for Easy Salted Caramel Sauce
- Caramel Frosting:
- 1/2 cup butter
- 6 tbsp milk
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup caramel sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, oil and eggs until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Stir well to combine. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined but do not over mix.
Pour batter into a greased jelly roll (15" x 10") pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and allow to cool 2-3 minutes. Using a round item such as a straw, poke approximately 16 holes into the cake, then drizzle caramel sauce over cake and into the holes.
To make caramel frosting, beat butter with a mixer until light and creamy. Add in remaining ingredients and beat with mixer until well combined. Frosting can be spread over cake while warm (this will allow frosting to melt into cake partially) or when cool, which is more of a traditional frosting method, and will help to cover the holes created in the cake for the caramel sauce.
Makes approximately 24 servings.
Craving more pumpkin? I’ve got some pumpkin recipes you will want to try!