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Pumpkin Poke Cake

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This easy Pumpkin Poke Cake is soaked in pumpkin spice pudding and topped with a light and airy cinnamon maple whipped cream. This simple cake is bursting with pumpkin flavor and perfect for fall baking.

Easy Pumpkin Poke Cake

Are you looking for an easy fall baking idea that’s filled with seasonal pumpkin flavor? This recipe is it! this cake has double the pumpkin flavor thanks to a fluffy pumpkin cake case and a perfectly spiced pumpkin pudding that’s poured on top. The pudding soaks into the cake, which is finished off with a creamy cinnamon maple whipped cream. The end result is out of this world delicious!

This is by far my favorite fall cake. A good pumpkin dessert will never go out of style.

I first posted this recipe way back in 2013, but since then, I’ve updated the recipe to include my pumpkin cupcakes recipe as the base for this cake.  The original version of this double pumpkin poke cake was made with a cake mix. If you want that recipe, you can find it in the recipe notes below. However, this new version is much more pumpkin-heavy.

Why You’ll Love This Pumpkin Spice Cake

  • Easy. The pumpkin cake is actually super easy to make. It’s an oil-based recipe, so you don’t even need to worry about creaming together butter and sugar. Plus, oil-based cakes tend to be more tender and moist.
  • Full of fall flavors. This cake is topped with a sweet homemade cinnamon maple whipped cream. If you’re not comfortable making whipped cream yet, be sure to check out my tutorial on how to make whipped cream. The combination of warm flavors like pumpkin, cinnamon, and maple, makes for an extra special fall dessert!
  • Rich, gooey, and creamy. Between the pudding, moist pumpkin cake, and airy whipped cream, every bite of this cake is rich, gooey, and creamy. In other words, totally irresistible!

Wondering what a poke cake is? Learn all about poke cakes in this post with my 15 most popular poke cakes!

A pretty slice of pumpkin cake with a big bite missing, showing the inside of the cake.

What You’ll Need

This recipe looks like it requires a lot of ingredients, but you probably already have most of them in your kitchen. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this cake. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.

  • Sugar: Light brown for the cake and powdered for the whipped cream.
  • Vegetable Oil: Adds moisture.
  • Eggs
  • Maple Syrup: For both the cake and the whipped cream.
  • Pumpkin Puree
  • Flour: I used all-purpose.
  • Spices: Cinnamon and pumpkin pie.
  • Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Acts as a leavening agent.
  • Salt
  • Milk: I used non-fat, but any type of milk will do
  • Instant Pumpkin Spice Pudding: See below for where to find this.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: For the whipped cream topping
  • Health Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits are optional but make a great topping

Where do I buy pumpkin spice pudding?

Pumpkin Spice Pudding can be hard to find in many grocery stores. I’m usually able to get it at Walmart or Safeway brand grocery stores. However, I will also order it from Amazon if I can’t find it locally. 

This item is a seasonal release, so it’s not available all year round. However, if you just can’t find pumpkin spice pudding in the store, I recommend using an instant vanilla or caramel pudding and whisking it with 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice.

A jar full of Cinnamon Maple Whipped Cream with a frosting piper swirling it out in front of the jar.

How to Make a Pumpkin Poke Cake

This moist and gooey cake is one of my favorite fall recipes. Here’s how you make it:

  • Prepare a pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9″x13″ pan with cooking spray.
  • Start the batter. Combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, maple syrup, and vanilla at medium speed in a large mixing bowl. Mix for about 2 minutes until well incorporated. Then, add the pumpkin and beat until everything is well combined.
  • Combine and add the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, mix the rest of the dry ingredients. Alternate adding half the dry ingredients with half of the milk at a time until all ingredients are added.
  • Bake the cake. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes then cool completely.
  • Create holes in the cake. Use a wooden spoon or some other round object to poke holes over the top of the cake (this is what makes it a poke cake!).
  • Make the pudding and pour it over the cake. Whisk the instant pudding with the milk in a small mixing bowl. Pour the pudding over the top of the cake, trying to fill in the holes. Place the cake in the refrigerator until the pudding is firm, or for about 10 minutes.
  • Prepare the equipment for the topping. Place the mixing bowl and the whisk attachment in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Make the topping. Remove the whisk and bowl from the refrigerator and pour in the whipping cream. Then, use an electric mixer to beat the cream at medium-high speed until it thickens to soft peaks. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, maple syrup, and cinnamon and continue beating at high speed (just until stiff peaks start to form).
  • Assemble the cake. Finish the cake by spreading the whipped cream topping over the top. Once you have an even layer of whipped cream, garnish with caramel sauce and milk chocolate toffee bits.
A gold fork with a big bite of cake on it showing the 3 layers of cake, pudding and whipped cream.

Tips For Success

From choosing the right equipment to knowing your cake is done cooking, here are a few tips for making the best pumpkin poke cake:

  • Pouring the pudding over the cake: Make sure to do this immediately after mixing so that the pudding doesn’t set.
  • Use an angled spatula after pouring the pudding over the cake: You can use this to brush the pudding back over the cake, as it tends to fill in the sides and corners. I recommend just wiping it back into the center and filling up all those holes. If you don’t have one, try with a regular spatula.
  • Test the cake with a toothpick: Once the cake has baked for about 20 minutes, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, you can remove the cake from the oven.
  • Add the toppings just prior to serving. I always like to finish off my cake with drizzle of caramel and some crushed toffee to add a little texture. 

How to Store a Poke Cake

The great thing about poke cakes is that they stay soft and moist for longer periods of time. The pudding filling means these cakes don’t dry out like others.

Once the cake has been topped with pudding and whipped cream, it needs to stay refrigerated. Just cover it, then store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Since I use a 9″x13″-inch pan to bake the cake, I usually buy one that comes with a lid. Otherwise, I cover it with tin foil.

Can I Freeze A Poke Cake?

Poke cakes can be tricky when it comes to freezing. If you want to freeze this cake, I recommend doing so before you top it with whipped cream. Once the pudding has chilled, place the cake (or slices of the cake) in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat this cake, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for a few hours. Once the cake is thawed, make the whipped cream and spread it over the top. Then, drizzle with caramel and garnish with toffee bits if desired.

An overhead shot of a slice of pumpkin cake showing the caramel drizzle and crushed toffee on top

More Poke Cakes To Try

If you liked this pumpkin cake, here are a few other poke cakes I think you’d like:

A head on shot of a slice of pumpkin poke cake showing the layers of the cake, and a gold fork laying on the white plate

Pumpkin Poke Cake

  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 15 Servings


This homemade Double Pumpkin Poke Cake is soaked in pumpkin spice pudding and topped with a light and airy cinnamon maple whipped cream. If you love pumpkin spice, be sure to try this cake!


For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups (330g) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (118ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons (5g) pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons (5g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons (5.6g) baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk (177ml)- any type

For the Pudding:

  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz) Instant pumpkin spice pudding
  • 1 ¾ cups (414ml) milk

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 ¾ cups (414ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • 12 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (130g) powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Health Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9×13-inch pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  3. Next mix in the pumpkin and beat until well combined.
  4. In a medium sized bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients. Then, add half the dry ingredients to the batter followed half the milk and beat until it starts to combine.
  5. Finally add the remaining dry ingredients, mixing on low speed while pouring in the milk and beating until all of the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and stir the batter from the bottom to the top to ensure it’s well mixed. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cupcake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are done. Cool Completely.
  8. Take a wooden spoon or another round object and poke holes over the top of the cake.

For the Filling:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the instant pudding with the milk and whisk together until the powdered mix is dissolved.
  2. Pour the liquid pudding mix over top of the cake, try to fill the holes with the pudding mix. Refrigerate the cake until the pudding is firm, about 10 minutes or so.

For the Topping:

  1. Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill.
  2. Pour the heavy whipping cream into the chilled bowl and use an electric mixer to beat the heavy cream on medium-high speed until the cream thickens.
  3. Slowly add the powdered sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks start to form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake. Prior to serving, top with caramel sauce and milk chocolate toffee bits. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


  • If you’re looking for the original cake mix version: 1 box spice cake mix (15oz), 1 package instant pumpkin spice pudding (3.4oz), 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, 3 large eggs, ½ cup vegetable oil, ¾ cup milk, ½ cup sour cream. Mix all ingredients together until well combined, bake at 350°F for 18-22 minutes
  • When you simply can’t find pumpkin spice pudding in the store, I recommend using an instant vanilla or caramel pudding, and then add 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice into the pudding.
Nutrition Information:
1 slice
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Leave a Comment

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49 Responses
  1. Colleen C

    I also tried searching for pumpkin spice pudding but without success. I added pumpkin purée to vanilla pudding like Maureen mentioned and was thrilled with the flavor. I thought there was too much whip cream on the cake but when you take your first bite, you know it’s the right amount.! This cake is fabulous and I didn’t want to stop eating it?. I got a lot of compliments on it as well!

  2. Maureen Roye

    Hello! Just made this dessert because I am fascinated with poke cakes! Where have they been all my life?! Went to Wal-Mart in search of the elusive pumpkin spice pudding mix (I also live in SoCal). No luck so I grabbed vanilla. Well, while the cake was baking, I Googled pumpkin pudding and found several recipes. I ended up mixing 1/4 cup of pumpkin goo with 1 1/2 cups milk; added to the vanilla pudding along with 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Oh Em Gee it was perfection! The cake/pudding is now cooling in the fridge and I’m off to beat up some whipping cream with maple syrup!

  3. janie EH

    I live in Toronto, Canada and i know we don’t have pumpkin pudding here but fortunately someone wrote in saying they used vanilla pudding and the cake turned out great. can’t wait to try it. plus I love that you use real whipped cream – one of my 3 favourite foods. the others being pizza and the third changes to whatever i’m eating and enjoying.

  4. Kathy

    FINALLY found pumpkin spice pudding at Walmart. I made this wonderful cake exactly as directed. It took quite a bit longer to bake, more like 32 minutes, for me anyway. I think personally that next time I will let the pudding that goes on top of the cake set up for a short time. I’d like more of a pudding layer and the way I made it the first time, it totally soaked into the cake. Anyway, the cake was a hit, and also pretty to look at.
    I’ll make it again.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Kathy! That is awesome!! I think the adaptions you are suggesting would be great! I love a little pudding on top to!

  5. Whitney

    I checked FOUR grocery stores and couldn’t find pumpkin spice pudding! And it’s October! Anyway, I used 3 packages of vanilla pudding instead. To the cake, I reduced the milk by 1/4 c. and replaced that with pumpkin pie mix (in a can). And for the layer of pudding I added 2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and did 3 c. of milk with 1/3.c of pumpkin pie mix.

    Turned out awesome!!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Whitney! I have only ever seen it at Walmart. It sounds like your substitutions were awesome! I am glad you like it!

    2. Pam

      Thanks for this alternative way… I have scoured all the Walmarts in a 50 mile radius and only found one with the pumpkin spice pudding and bought all of them (11). I am stalking the other Walmarts on a daily basis hoping a shipment will come in. I have found the pudding on amazon and ebay selling anywhere from $2.00+ upwards to in excess of $8.00 per box. Not fair! I am a caterer and make this dessert for others, so it is disturbing to see people buy it just to sell it online.

  6. Pam

    I am going to make this and I have a couple of questions. I am confused by the instructions. Do I mix one package of pudding mix into the cake mix or do I bake the cake and then drizzle one package of pudding into the poked holes? Next, do I then take 2 packages of pudding and make them and then top the cake? Because if I go through the entire list of ingredients, there is one (1) package called for in the cake “ingredients” and two (2) packages called for in the pudding “ingredients”. However, in the directions it never specifically says where to put the pudding in the “cake” other than in steps 6 – 8 and I am assuming that is the 2 packages that are called for in the “pudding” portion of the recipe. And last question, out in California our stores don’t carry pumpkin pudding. I have found another recipe that uses vanilla pudding to make pumpkin pudding by adding pumpkin puree and spices to it. However, if the one box of pudding that is listed in the cake ingredients is added as a dry mix, can I add pumpkin puree to make it pumpkin flavor or will this mess the cake up? (This is why I don’t bake much, because baking is more exacting than cooking. :D) Please let me know. I am not a baker so I get confused easily.

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Pam! No problem. If you have further question, shoot me an email: and I can help with anything! Yes, this recipe needs requires 3 packages of Pumpkin Spice pudding mix. You mix on package in the cake mix first. Then in the second step, you make the 2 packets of pumpkin pudding and drizzle that over the top of the cake. I actually live in Southern California and I buy my pumpkin spice pudding at Walmart! They always have a great selection of baking products! As far as replacing the pumpkin spice pudding mix in the cake with your pureed version, I think it would greatly effect the actual recipe, because the package of pudding mix that is added to the cake mix, is the DRY mix only. So I would omit this from the recipe and add a little extra pumpkin spice seasoning to the actual cake mix. Then you can make your pumpkin spice pudding to drizzle over the top of the cake after you poke the hole. Good luck!

      1. Pam

        Thanks for the tip for finding the pumpkin pudding. I’m going to get some this morning as I want to serve this for dessert for guests tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

      2. Pam

        I made the cake and it was beyond great! I found the pumpkin pudding at Walmart. However, I didn’t have my shopping brain in gear and did not have enough milk for the cake and the pudding, so I used egg nog for the cake and 1/2 milk and 1/2 egg nog for the pudding. I didn’t realize how fast the pudding sets, so I took it too far so that it didn’t ooze in the holes I poked in the cake. Didn’t make a bit of difference though as the cake was super dense (in a good way) and moist! I also did not have enough heavy cream for the whipped cream layer as I used too much on my mashed potatoes that I served for dinner, so I just whipped the cream and dolloped it on like I would on a pie. I’m not a fan of maple syrup so I omitted the maple syrup and cinnamon and used spiced rum and it was like dying and going to heaven!!! I like this MUCH better than plain old pumpkin pie as it has cake, soft pudding, creamy whipped cream and the toffee bits give it great crunch. Thanks for such a great recipe!

      3. Pam

        I think the egg nog added another great note of spice. You could taste it but it wasn’t overpowering. I’ve got visitors coming tonight and I still have 1/2 a cake left, so you KNOW what we’re having for dessert! Thanks again!

  7. Shari @ Shari Blogs

    I just want to grab a fork and dig into these right now!!! can’t wait to try it! I shared it in my Pumpkin Round Up on my blog today! 🙂

  8. Meredith

    What size cake pan did you use? Sorry if you’ve already posted it and I just missed it. I’ve got all the ingredients ready and am so excited to make this cake!

  9. Meredith

    What size cake pan did you use? Sorry if you’ve already posted it and I just didn’t see. I’ve got all the ingredients ready to go and am so excited to make this cake!

  10. Julie @ This Gal Cooks

    Wowza! This looks amazing, Julianne! I gotta make this one day soon! Pinning and sharing on social media. Thanks for sharing at Marvelous Mondays!

  11. Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life

    That’s okay; I’ll be obsessed with it for you! Double pumpkin sounds just about right to me;) Your pictures are STUNNING and make me want to just face plant in this. Yum yum yum!!!

  12. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    I so want to go leaf peeping. It’s on my bucket list!

    And this cake. OMG!! Happy birthday to your mom!

  13. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life

    Another dessert that I just want to dive head first into. Girl, you are killing it! Love everything you make!!!

  14. Gloria // Simply Gloria

    I’m loving the soaked part in all of that pumpkin yummyness! I can never get enough of anything pumpkin! Sharing. (=

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