Decadent chocolate cake filled with chocolate fudge and topped with cherry pie filling and fluffy whipped topping. This black forest poke cake, with simple ingredients and easy prep, is a quick and easy way to enjoy the popular layer cake without all the fuss.
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What is Black Forest Poke Cake?
A black forest poke cake is a rich, chocolate cake that has been poked with holes, filled with chocolate fudge, and topped with cherry pie filling and fluffy cream.
It is just like the popular black forest layer cake, but with much less prep and no fancy equipment or skills required.
Poke cakes are great because they pack a lot of flavour, are super moist, and are easy to prepare.
Because they are made in a 9×13 pan they are easy to transport, cut, and serve and one cake will make anywhere from 12 to 16 servings.
This poke cake is made with a simple boxed cake mix, but if you have a favourite chocolate cake recipe you can use that instead.
For a full list of ingredients and measurements, see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Chocolate Cake Mix (and ingredients to make cake) – You will need 1 box of chocolate cake mix to make a 9×13 cake. I like Devil’s Food as it has a rich chocolate flavour, but you can use any chocolate cake you like. If you’d rather make your own from scratch you can use yor favourite chocolate cake recipe.
- Chocolate Fudge Sauce – This should be the thick chocolate fudge sauce that is sold in a jar, it has the conistency more like a pudding rather than a syrup. You can use hot fudge sauce as well.
- Cherry Pie Filling – You will need 1 can of cherry pie filling. If cherries are in season and you have a favourite homemade cherry pie filling you could use that.
- Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix – You need one box of instant vanilla pudding, this thickens the whipped topping and helps it keep its structure. White chocolate pudding also works well.
- Milk – Milk is needed to make the pudding.
- Frozen Whipped Topping – This creates the creamy frosting. If you prefer, you can use fresh, prepared whipped cream instead.
- Chocolate Sprinkles or Shavings – A little bit of chocolate to decorate the top. Sprinkles, shavings, curls or even chocolate chips work well.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 – Bake the cake according to package directions and allow it to cool. Once it is cool, use the end of a wooden spoon or the wide end of a chopstick to poke holes all over the cake.
Step 2 – Spoon the chocolate fudge sauce into a heat-safe measuring cup and warm in the microwave for about 20 seconds until the sauce is pourable. If you don’t have a microwave you can spoon the sauce into a small saucepan and heat it on the stove.
Then pour the chocolate over the cake paying attention to get it in all of the holes.
Pro-Tip: Space the holes ½ to 1 inch apart and make sure you press the end of the spoon all the way to the bottom. This will ensure the cake is evenly filled with the chocolate fudge.
Step 3 – Spoon the cherry pie filling over the cake and use a spatula or spoon to spread it evenly over the top.
Step 4 – In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk just until it begins to thicken, then fold in the thawed whipped topping.
Spoon the topping over the cake and spread it evenly. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles or shavings to decorate. Then place the cake in the refrigerator for a minimum of one hour to allow the topping and filling to set before serving.
Pro-Tip: It is important to let this cake rest in the fridge before serving as it allows the filling and topping to set and will make it easier to cut. This cake should rest at least an hour but can be prepared up to a day in advance.
Substitutions & Variations
There are a few ways you can customize this cake if you need to.
- Cake – You can use any chocolate cake mix to make your cake or your favourite 9×13 chocolate cake recipe if you want to make homemade. If you want to make things even easier, you can buy a premade chocolate sheet cake.
- Chocolate – You can use chocolate fudge topping or hot fudge sauce. If you don’t have either of those, you can use chocolate pudding instead.
- Cherry pie filling – Cherries are in season and you don’t want to use pie filling, you could use chopped, fresh cherries.
- Frozen whipped topping – If you don’t want to use a tub of frozen whipped topping you can make fresh whipped cream to top the cake.
This poke cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about 4 days.
I don’t recommend freezing this cake as it tends to get a bit soggy when it thaws.
Top Tips & FAQS
Poke cake will keep for about 4 days when covered and stored in the refrigerator.
You can easily make this cake gluten-free by using your favourite gluten-free cake mix or homemade recipe. You will just want to ensure all the other ingredients you use, such as filling and topping are also gluten-free.
More Poke Cake Recipes
Black Forest Poke Cake
- 1 (15.25 oz)box chocolate cake mix and ingredients to make it
- 1 cup chocolate fudge sauce
- 1 (21 oz) can cherry pie filling
- 1 (3.4 oz)box vanilla instant pudding
- 1 cup milk
- 4 cups frozen whipped topping thawed
- Bake the cake in a 9×13 pan according to package directions and allow it to cool completely.
- Once the cake is cool, use the handle of a wooden spoon or the wide end of a chopstick to poke holes all over the cake.
- Heat the chocolate fudge in a microwave-safe dish or in a small saucepan on low heat, just until the sauce is warm and pourable.
- Pour the sauce over the cake paying special attention to fill the holes.
- Spread the cherry pie filling over the top of the cake.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the vanilla pudding mix and milk just until it begins to thicken. Then fold in the whipped topping.
- Spread the topping evenly over the top of the cake.
- Decorate with chocolate shavings or sprinkles and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the filling and topping to set.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
Sunday 31st of July 2022
I made this in the afternoon and served it for dessert this evening and wow, it was amazing! Not only did it look fantastic, but it was also so moist and flavorful too. My sister wanted me to make this again for the holidays and I definitely will! Thank you!
Sunday 31st of July 2022
My partner requested this for this birthday cake. I was amazed for something so beautiful, that it wasn't actually that hard to make! It looks so impressive and tastes even better. The fudge sauce and cherry go so well. I am going to save this to make again for Thanksgiving :)
Friday 29th of July 2022
This was delicious! I am a HUGE fan of poke cakes and especially love the uncommon flavors. This recipe caught my eye on Pinterest. Made it for a family cookout and I was asked for the recipe multiple times! Thanks!