Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Poke Cake

Goodness, summer has come in with something of a bang!

Coming from Texas I am used to the heat, and I sort of perversely look forward to summer baking. Yes, the oven makes the house hot but if you plan it just right you can get a cake baked before the heat of the day and have it cooled and ready for dinner. This is just such a cake. It is great because you serve it chilled because of the scrumptious pudding filling/topping. This is my take on the old fashioned poke cake. Most recipes for poke cake call for boxed cake mix, boxed pudding mix, and frozen whipped topping. My recipe uses homemade chocolate cake, homemade peanut butter bourbon pudding, and freshly whipped cream. Yeah, this is my ultimate summer treat!

I love the rustic nature of this cake. It is very random, with little pockets of creamy pudding scattered throughout each slice. It is very comforting, and it is lovely on a warm summer day because you serve it pretty cold.  There are two specific tips I can offer that will help you make the best possible poke cake. First, do not over-bake the cake. That means at the 25 minute mark you need to check it. It goes from moist and perfect to dry and over-baked in a matter of minutes, so please check early and check often! Second, try to time it so the pudding is done about 5 minutes after the cake comes out of the oven. If you start the pudding at about 12 minutes before the cake is done you will be about right. It is something of a balancing act I know, but the cake is better if you can pour the piping hot pudding onto hot, fresh cake. They seem to meld together better, and each benefits from the flavor of the other.  The pudding calls for a tablespoon of bourbon, but you could use rum, whiskey, scotch, or leave it out if you prefer. I like the subtle smoke it adds, as well as that little bite it gives the pudding. This is a lovely end to a meal of smoked meats, BBQ, or any dish served pool side!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Poke Cake    Serves 8

For the cake:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cake flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup milk, 2% or higher

For the pudding:
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon grated chocolate, for garnish

Heat the oven to 350 F and spray an 8×8-inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line the pan with parchment paper, making sure there is a two inch overhang on either side of the pan, and spray the parchment with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until well combined and somewhat lighter in color. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until uniformly mixed.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk into the butter in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread so the patter is even. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center, and the edges of the cake pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not over-bake.

During the last 12 minutes of baking prepare the pudding.

In a blender combine the milk, brown sugar, peanut butter, cornstarch,  and egg yolk. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds, then transfer the mixture into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for 1 minute then remove from the heat. Add the butter, bourbon, and vanilla.

Once the cake comes out of the oven immediately poke holes into the cake with the end of a large wooden spoon. Pour the hot pudding over the cake, tapping the cake gently on the counter to release any air bubbles and make sure the pudding is in the holes. Cover the cake with plastic and cool on the counter for 1 hour, then chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Just before serving prepare the topping. In a stand mixer, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Whip until the mixture forms soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Spread the whipped cream over the cake and garnish with grated chocolate.




© 2012, Evil Shenanigans. All rights reserved.

Author: Kelly

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  • Good lord this looks good. Pinned, will share on Facebook soon! Can’t wait to try it.

  • Oh those layers look wonderful together! And pudding sounds extremely good!

  • Oh boy…this is pure awesomeness.

  • Anu

    Love the look of the cake ,and the way the pudding seeps into the cake.I am just a starting out baker :)and love your blog .
    However i am not a fan of peanut butter .could you suggest anything else that i can add to the pudding like maybe coffee or would it be better if i left out the peanut all together .

  • Anu – You could use any flavor pudding you like that compliments chocolate. If you leave out the peanut butter you would just have vanilla, but you could add 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder to make chocolate, or you could sub another nut butter for peanut butter. Almond butter or cashew butter would be very good here!

  • It has been way too long since I visited your little corner of utter deliciousness – oh my this sounds absolutely amazing!!

  • OH. MY. GOD. That’s all I have to say.

  • Dear Lord I want a piece of that cake!!!

  • Best.Idea.Ever. Must make this immediately!

  • love that you created a homemade version and love even more the fact that there is bourbon in the pudding 🙂

  • Leaving for the beach in two weeks, have a few pounds to loose and THIS is NOT helping…. scrumptous!

  • I’ve never heard of poke cake and reading through this post and I certainly see how it came by it’s name! Love that you made everything from scratch here and the chocolate cake itself looks wonderful. The toppings are incredible and I can imagine how delicious this is.

  • I keep seeing all these different versions of poke cakes showing up but chocolate AND peanut butter? Must have! But there is bourbon in the pudding? Really Must Have!

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  • Poke cake? This is all new to me, but it looks fantastic!

  • Peanut butter bourbon pudding?! Um, sold! This looks absolutely fantastic, Kelly.

  • Caitlin

    Just wanted to say I’m new to your website (thanks to Pinterest)and I’m mining your archives for recipes. Cream cheese pancakes…chorizo dip…chocolate chip cardamom oat blondies?! THANK YOU!

  • I am would like to pinch this recipe and add it to my collection on “Just a Pinch” . However, I will not do it without your permission. Do you have plans to allow “pinching” to Just a Pinch? I did get here through Pinterest, but the only thing wrong with that is that often, I find I cannot access the recipes that I have saved because the site is no longer active, or no longer is featuring the recipe that I am looking for. Some of them have archives available, but some do not. A response would be so appreciated. Thank for your consideration.

  • Can’t wait to try this! I absolutely LOVE that it is made from scratch. I found the recipe via Pinterest and almost didn’t click through because I fully expected it to be made from boxed ingredients. We love chocolate and peanut butter so I’m sure this will be a hit!

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  • I really Love Chocolate and peanut butter together and this sounds and looks delicious and scrumptious ooh my i don’t know if i can wait until the 27th for our Church Dinner! But I think i should because ui am on a diet and i am trying to stop eating so much which with these kind of recipes Is A Little Hard To Do! But I will Try and Make It..!!

    Thanks So Much For The Recipe, Sincerely Joy Barker…

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  • I haven’t made this as of yet but you bet your bottom dollar I will be making it before to long and I love whipped cream on anything so it sounds delicious and yummy!! I will be making this next week and I will see how my church likes it So Thank You For Sharing this Wonderful Recipe,
    Sincerely Joy Barker…..

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