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Boston Cream Poke Cake

by on March 15, 2012 · 16 comments

After making a gelatin poke cake and going on and about how I didn’t like the lime flavor, I moved on to the pudding variation.  Much better!  Now I’m officially a poke cake fan.  The scratch poke cake was really good, but the point of poke cake is to take advantage of various cake mix and instant pudding flavors, so I decided to try another convenience version.  This time, with a Boston Cream Pie theme.

Boston Cream Poke Cake

I posted the recipe below.  You make a yellow cake, poke holes in it, pour in the pudding, then add a scratch (but easy) Boston Cream Pie glaze.    For my poke cake, I actually weighed out half a box of cake mix, used half the ingredients called for and made the cake in an 8 inch square pan.  That was the perfect size for us, but next time I’d definitely make a full batch, so I’ve typed up the recipe as a full batch cake.  Let me know if you try it!  It really does taste like Boston Cream Pie.

Boston Cream Poke Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
An easy Boston Cream Pie flavored poke cake made with pudding, cake mix and a simple homemade glaze.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • 1 box yellow cake mix plus eggs, oil and water as directed -- or halve all ingredients and bake in an 8 inch square pan
  • 4 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 (3.4 ounces each) boxes of French vanilla pudding
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Bake the cake as directed for a 13x9 inch pan. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, then poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Try to space them a little less than 1 inch apart and make sure they're pretty deep.
  2. Combine one box of pudding mix and 2 cups of milk in a large mixing bowl (preferably one with a spout). Using a handheld electric mixer, beat just until smooth - -about a minute. Pudding should still be thin and runny. The point is to just get rid of the lumps. Carefully pour the pudding into the holes. Do this slowly until holes are completely filled, but pudding is not flowing all over the top of the cake. You’ll probably have some leftover pudding.
  3. Put the cake in the refrigerator and chill for about an hour. At this point, the pudding holes should be about half or a little more than half full. Make the second batch of pudding and repeat, fill the holes until the pudding comes to the top, but don't spread remaining pudding over the top of the cake. Save it for something else.
  4. Prepare the topping. In a large (3 quart), nonstick saucepan, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Let cool for 4 minutes, then with a wooden spoon, beat in the sugar and boiling water, beating until smooth. Beat in the vanilla. Pour over the cold cake. Return to the refrigerator and let the frosting set. Chill until ready to serve.

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Published on March 15, 2012

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Cookie Sleuth March 15, 2012 at 9:27 am

This sounds like a great version! There are so many great flavors and ways to go with poke cake.

Lisa Ernst March 15, 2012 at 10:36 am

Ok, now I get what a poke cake is. To me, its a new concept and I was clueless before. I love the idea of poking holes in the cake and filling with pudding. This gives me an idea for coconut cake and coconut pudding with chocolate ganache on top.

Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet March 15, 2012 at 11:27 am

Love it!

Adam March 15, 2012 at 11:43 am

Every time you post anything Boston Cream related I kind of lose myself for a second. I then realize it’s something I haven’t attempted yet. And I love the idea of the poked holes holding the filling only. Sounds fantastic :). Great, now I want a doughnut :).

Karen March 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Sounds excellent! I have got to get a scale so I can weigh out halves of things like cake mixes. LOL
This is my favorite poke cake recipe, I had to dig it out… since you talked about St. Patrick’s Day, this one fits.
Creme de Mint Cake
1-white cake mix with the pudding already in it
1 c. water
3 egg whites
1/3 cup oil
3 Tablespoons creme de mint (regular)
(I haven’t looked lately, but years ago I used to find the green colored creme de mint and then couldn’t find it anymore. Maybe at the liquor store?)
Mix ingredients together, bake in a greased 9×13″ cake pan as directed.
While cake is still hot, use a meat fork and poke holes all over the cake. Pour 1 can of Hershey chocolate syrup over the cake, work in slowly.
Let cool.
8 oz. tub of Cool Whip
3 Tablespoons of creme de mint (See why you need green?)
Keep refrigerated.
I was thinking about this and wondered what it would be like to substitute a bag of Andes Creme de Menthe chocolates in place of the Hersheys. Hmmmmmm.

Anna March 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm

When I was a kid they called it “Stripe it Rich Cake”, so poke cake is kind of a new term for me also.

Karen, thanks so much for the recipe! I am definitely going to try this. Maybe I’ll make it on the 17th. And yes, halving cake mix is really simple if you have a scale. Hope you try it.

Darlene March 15, 2012 at 2:38 pm

This recipe has my name written all over it! I’ve only ever made a poke cake with jello gelatin, never pudding. I’m definitely going to make it for my family.

Martha in KS March 15, 2012 at 6:03 pm

I think you might be able to use pistachio pudding for a St. Pat’s cake. As I recall, the pudding doesn’t really have a strong flavor – just a green color. My mom used to make a grasshopper pie using Creme de Menthe & Creme de Cacao.

Gloria March 15, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I’ve never made a poke cake, but my mom wants a sugar free cake this weekend…she would be so happily surprised if it had sugar free pudding poked into it!!! Thanks for the great idea!

Sue March 15, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Fun! How did Todd like it?

beth March 17, 2012 at 8:06 am

I am going to have to try this. Easy and yummy are always high on my list. Let me know how the mint version is. I’d like to try it. I have a bottle of Creme de Menthe that’s been hanging around for years! Luck O’ the Irish to all!


Anna March 17, 2012 at 8:38 am

Email me if you have any problems! It’s pretty easy, though.

I’m making the mint one right now.

Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie March 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Mmm I’ve always loved the ease of poke cakes!

Lindsey March 22, 2012 at 4:57 am

I really want to make this! I love poke cakes! They are so much fun (and DELICIOUS!)

Sarah B August 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Does it matter if you use instant vs cook and serve pudding? I assume it is instant, as that is the kind that sets up in the fridge, but I wanted to check. Thanks!!

Anna August 13, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Hi Sarah,

I’ve only made it with the instant, but I think cooked would work. The important thing is to pour it on before the pudding thickens so that it’s thin enough to fall into the holes.

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