And it is officially fall. Food blogs are filled with anything and everything pumpkin and ghoulish. And this Halloween Poke Cake couldn’t be easier to make!
Truth be told, I like Halloween, but I like the cutesy side, not the Zombies and spiders side, so my Halloween treats are generally simple, kid friendly and colorful. Purple frosting or green frosting, a fun monster cake- you get the idea.
This year I made a Halloween Oreo Poke Cake. Using boxed cake mix and instant pudding with America’s favorite cookie, you will have a crowd pleasing dessert that will feed up to 20 people, all for about $10.
I have several other fun desserts for your spread. No Bake ghost cookies always please, caramel apples, candy corn cookies and of course, my Halloween Rice Krispie Cake! And don’t forget the savory snacks like Halloween Snack Mix and Mummy Hot Dogs!
How to Make a Poke Cake
There are several elements to make a poke cake. First, you’ll need the ingredients which are easily customized to your liking. The basic are:
- Cake– I used a chocolate cake mix
- Pudding or filling– I used vanilla with orange food coloring
- Topping- I like a crunchy topping, so I used crushed chocolate and vanilla Oreo cookies
The trick to any poke cake is to generously poke it with large holes. The pudding seeps on through, keeping the cake moist and flavorful for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Poke your cake generously and make sure the holes are large enough for pudding. I use a chopstick or the round end of a wooden spoon.
When using instant pudding, it sets mighty fast. In order to get it to sink into the holes, it needs to be poured before it starts to thicken. Making sure the cake is still warm also assists to seeping into easing into every nook and cranny.
After filling with pudding, tap it several times on the counter to really help it sink down in. The cover and refrigerate to set.
After it sets, add your topping, gently pressing into the pudding to stick. Mine is black and white which is a blend of classic and golden Oreos. I also add festive sprinkles.
Why You’ll Love This Halloween Poke Cake
The perfect chocolate cake with a creamy pudding filling, topped with crunchy Oreos- what’s not to love!
- Easy to decorate – You can add some fun things to the top of the cake to make it so much fun. Meringue ghosts, black cat sprinkles or even black buttercream would be fun.
- Full of chocolate flavor – With a moist chocolate cake and Oreos on top, this gooey chocolate cake is perfect for any chocolate lover and all Halloween parties!
- Fun and festive – If you’re looking for spooky Halloween cake recipes to entertain your Halloween party guests, this is the cake for you!
You only need a handful of simple ingredients to make this easy dessert.
- Chocolate cake mix – You can use your favorite brand of box cake mix. Make sure you also have all of the ingredients needed to make the cake.
- Vanilla instant pudding – Vanilla pudding is the easiest to color with either red food colouring, green or orange.
- Skim milk – This is used for the pudding. I use skim milk because it makes the pudding easier to pour into the holes of the cake.
- Oreos – nothing says happy Halloween like when crushed Oreos sprinkled on top of the cake looks like dirt!
- Orange food coloring – I like to color the pudding orange. The combination of the chocolate cake and the orange pudding really brings out the Halloween spirit!
- Festive sprinkles – There are so many fun Halloween sprinkles out there. They take his perfect Halloween cake up a notch!
How to Make Halloween Poke Cake
You are going to love how easy it is to make this spooky dessert!
- Make cake batter. Prepare cake according to package directions in a large bowl. Spread into a 9×13 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for least amount of suggested time.
- Poke holes. Remove from the oven and poke generously with the end of a wooden spoon or a straw. Make many holes. The more holes, the more space for the delicious pudding to hide.
- Make pudding mixture. Allow the cake to cool slightly to room temperature. Meanwhile whisk together pudding mix with skim milk and food coloring. Mix until blended, but BEFORE it starts to thicken and set. I should still be a little runny.
- Pour over cake. Pour pudding mix over cake, patting down into the holes. Tap the whole dish several times to allow the pudding to settle into the cake.
- Crush cookies. Put Oreo cookies into a large freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Or place cookies into a food processor and pulse until cookies are crumbled.
- Chill in fridge. Cover and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Sprinkle over cake. Spread Oreo crumbles over pudding layer and pat down, top with festive sprinkles. Don’t top until you are ready to serve so cookies stay crunchy.
There are plenty of ways you can make this Halloween poke cake your own!
- Halloween cupcakes – Instead of making a sheet cake, try different cake pans. Cupcakes, a Halloween layer cake or even a Halloween bundt cake would be fun. Just make sure to adjust the bake time accordingly.
- Pudding – Pudding can also be customized. I wanted this bright orange color so I needed something white (or cream). Chocolate is a standard option, you can even do peach.
- Cake mix – You can use any flavor of cake mix you’d like. Funfetti is always great and white cake with Halloween sprinkles is even more fun! Red velvet cake would add fun color. Pumpkin cake with chocolate chips would be good too.
- Spooky decorations – Or if you plan to make something like a dirt cake or a graveyard cake, pick mint or pistachio for green “grass”.
- Toppings– The top of the cake is Oreo, but Nilla Wafers and any other crunchy cookie work. I prefer a course chip so I place mine in a plastic bag and then whack it a few times. A food processor can be used for a finer crumb.
- Frosting – Alternatively, some people like whipped cream. You can’t really do a traditional frosting because the texture of the pudding is impossible to spread evenly over.
Make Ahead & Storage
Make ahead: This cake can be made up to a day in advance. Like any baked good, it is best sooner to be baked. Wait to add cookies until you are ready to serve. While it will still taste good, they lose their crunchy appeal pretty fast.
Storage: However, poke cakes (or pudding cakes) are unique because the pudding helps keep it moist and fresh. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. If it lasts that long…
Freezing: I do not recommend freezing this cake.
More Easy Halloween Desserts
- Halloween Sugar Cookie Bars
- Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Pumpkins
- Cake Cone Witch Hats
- Caramel Apple Cookies
Easy Halloween Cake Recipe
- Prepare cake according to package directions. Spread into a 9×13 glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for least amount of suggested time.
- Remove from the oven and poke generously with the end of a wooden spoon or a straw. Make many holes. The more holes, the more space for the delicious pudding to hide.
- Although the cake to cool slightly. Meanwhile whisk together pudding mix with skim milk and food coloring. Mix until blended, but BEFORE it starts to thicken and set. I should still be a little runny.
- Pour pudding mix over cake, patting down into the holes. Tap the whole dish several times to allow the pudding to settle into the cake.
- Put Oreo cookies into a large freezer bag and crush with a rolling pin. Or place cookies into a food processor and pulse until cookies are crumbled.
- Cover and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
- Spread Oreo crumbles over pudding layer and pat down, top with festive sprinkles. Don't top until you are ready to serve so cookies stay crunchy.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or ratings.