This hot chocolate poke cake is a decadent chocolate cake filled with pockets of marshmallow fluff and topped with fluffy chocolate whipped cream, marshmallows, and chocolate sauce. It tastes just like a cup of hot chocolate in the form of dessert. This cake is quick, easy, and made with simple ingredients. A delicious treat any time of the year.
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What is Hot Chocolate Poke Cake?
A hot chocolate poke cake is a decadent chocolate cake poked with holes and filled with creamy marshmallow fluff. It is then topped with a light whipped cream frosting that has been flavoured with hot chocolate mix and then sprinkled with mini marshmallows.
It is all the flavours that you’d find in a cup of hot chocolate in a delicious dessert.
Starting with a simple chocolate cake mix, this cake is quick and easy to prepare. It will serve 12-16 people and will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
The whipped cream frosting is light and fluffy, without being overly sweet, and compliments the cake and sweet vanilla marshmallow fluff nicely.
Get as creative as you like when decorating this cake. In addition to the mini marshmallows, you can top it with shaved chocolate, chocolate or caramel sauce, or nuts. If you want to get fancy, you can use a small kitchen torch to toast the marshmallows lightly.
No matter how you decide to serve this cake, it’s sure to be a hit.
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 one 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. You can also use your favourite chocolate cake recipe if you’d rather make your own from scratch.
Marshmallow Fluff – Marshmallow fluff tastes just like marshmallows. It is sweet, sticky and flavoured with vanilla. But instead of the soft, squishy marshmallows sold in a bag, marshmallow fluff is sold in a jar and is spreadable. By adding a bit of water and heating, it liquifies to a pourable consistency, making it easy to fill the holes of the poke cake. If you don’t like marshmallows, vanilla pudding is a great substitute.
Heavy Cream (whipping cream) – This creates a soft fluff topping for the cake. If you don’t have heavy cream, or don’t want to spend time whipping, you can use frozen whipped topping instead.
Powdered Sugar – This is used to sweeten the whipped topping. You can substitute granulated sugar if needed.
Hot Chocolate Mix – This gives the whipped topping a light chocolate flavour. You can use your favourite, but I find the darker chocolate varieties will provide a slightly stronger chocolate flavour without adding too much sweetness. If you don’t have hot chocolate mix, you can use unsweetened cocoa powder, but you will want to reduce the measurement to about one tablespoon.
Mini Marshmallows – Hot chocolate is always better with marshmallows! However, if you don’t like them, you can leave them off.
Optional Toppings – Think of all your favourite hot chocolate toppings. This cake is delicious, drizzled with chocolate sauce, sprinkled with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, or even caramel sauce.
Step by Step Instructions
Bake the Cake
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.
Fill the Cake
Step 2 – Scoop the marshmallow fluff into a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan and add the water. In the microwave, heat the cream for 10-second intervals, stirring between intervals until it is smooth and runny.
If using the stovetop, heat it over medium-low heat, stirring until it is smooth and runny.
Drizzle the melted marshmallow fluff over the cake, paying particular attention to filling the holes you created.
Pro-Tip: Space the holes 1/2 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 marshmallow fluff.
Decorate the Cake
Step 3 – Pour the heavy cream into a chilled metal or glass bowl and add the powdered sugar and hot chocolate mix. Using a hand mixer, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Spread the cream over the cake and sprinkle with marshmallows.
Chill the cake for at least 1 hour before serving to allow the cream to set.
Serve the Cake
Step 4 – Once the cake is thoroughly chilled, cut it into desired slice size. Serve slices drizzled with chocolate sauce or sprinkled with chocolate shavings if desired. A scoop of ice cream would be delicious as well.
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.
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 it homemade. You can buy a premade chocolate sheet cake if you want to make things even easier.
Marshmallow fluff – If you don’t like marshmallows or can’t find marshmallow fluff, you can substitute it with vanilla pudding. Mix one box of instant vanilla pudding with one and a half cups of milk and whisk until it begins to thicken, then pour over the cake filling the holes. If you want this to be super chocolatey, you can use a fudge sauce or chocolate pudding.
Whipped cream topping – If you don’t want to make your own whipped cream you can use thawed, frozen whipped topping instead. You can leave it plain or make it chocolate by mixing one box of chocolate instant pudding with one cup of milk until it begins to thicken, then fold in four cups of whipped topping until combined.
If you love hot chocolate, you will love our hot chocolate bombs! They are easy to make and make great gifts.
Leftovers can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for about 5 days.
I don’t recommend freezing this cake as the whipped cream topping can become watery when it thaws.
Top Tips For Making Poke Cake & FAQS
- For best results make sure the cake is completely cooled before poking the holes.
- When poking the holes, make sure they are big enough that they will be easy to fill, but not so large that the cake will fall apart when you cut it. For thinner fillings such as jello, a chopstick works well. For thicker fillings such as marshmallow fluff, pudding or fruit curd 1/4 inch holes is a good size.
- Allow the filled and decorated cake to chill for at least an hour before serving to let it set. This will help prevent it from crumbling when sliced.
This hot chocolate poke cake can easily be made gluten-free by either using your favourite gluten-free cake mix or gluten-free recipe.
Poke cake needs to be refrigerated due to the filling and cream topping. Wrapped in the refrigerator, it will keep for about five days.
More Poke Cake Recipes
Hot Chocolate Poke Cake
Optional Ingredients for Decorating
- chocolate shavings
- chocolate sauce
- Bake the chocolate cake according to the box directions or the recipe you are following and allow it to cool completely.
- Poke holes in the cake about 1/4 inch in diameter with the end of a wooden spoon or another round object, such as the wide end of a chopstick.
- Scoop the marshmallow fluff into a microwave-safe bowl or a small saucepan and add 2 tbsp of water.Using the microwave, heat the fluff at 10-second intervals stirring between intervals until smooth and runny.If using the stovetop, heat on medium-low heat, stirring while it heats until smooth and runny.
- Pour the melted fluff over the cake, paying particular attention to filling the holes.
- In a large bowl, add the heavy cream, powdered sugar, and hot chocolate mix. Use a hand mixer to beat until soft peaks form, starting the mixer on low and gradually increasing the speed to avoid splashing.
- Scoop the whipped cream onto the cake and spread it to cover the cake. Sprinkle the top with mini marshmallows and any optional toppings you desire.
- Chill the cake for at least one hour, then serve.
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.