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Hot Fudge Poke Cake

This Hot Fudge Poke Cake is your favorite ice cream dessert in cake form. A moist, fudgy, ultra chocolate-y cake is infused with a hot fudge filling, topped with whipped cream, and loaded with all the best hot fudge sundae toppings.

a slice of chocolate poke cake on a plate topped with sprinkles, banana, and a cherry

Easy Hot Fudge Poke Cake Recipe

There are two things that make me really happy in this world…hot fudge sundaes and cake! And what’s better than a dessert that combines the two?!

This hot fudge sundae poke cake is a moist chocolate poke cake filled with a hot fudge filling and topped with light and sweet homemade whipped cream! The finished cake can be topped with whatever hot fudge sundae toppings your heart desires: Maraschino cherries, sliced banana, crushed nuts, sprinkles, caramel sauce, crushed-up cookies or candy bars, toffee bits, chocolate chips, you name it.

Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and you have pretty much perfected the art of dessert! Once you make this easy dessert you’ll be hooked on this easy way to make delectable cakes, in which case, you may want to check out my most popular poke cakes.

side view of a slice of chocolate poke cake decorated with hot fudge sundae toppings

What You’ll Need

This chocolate poke cake recipe is made up of basic ingredients, most of which you might already have in your kitchen!

For the Cake

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Sour Cream – plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt will work as well.
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Cocoa Powder – I use Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder because it has a richer flavor than other varieties.
  • Espresso Powder – this is an optional add-in but the flavor of espresso really enhances the chocolate flavor in the cake. And no, it doesn’t make it taste like coffee!
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Hot Brewed Coffee – blooms the cocoa and creates a super moist texture. If you don’t want to use coffee, you can swap it out for milk instead.

For the Filling

  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Hot Fudge Sauce

For the Topping

  • Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Toppings – pretty much anything you would serve on a hot fudge sundae is fair game! Try sprinkles, nuts, cherries, bananas, etc.

How to Make A Hot Fudge Poke Cake

This easy poke cake recipe is completely made from scratch but super simple to throw together!

  • Make the batter: In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until incorporated, then mix in the sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add half of the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee to the batter. Mix until just combined, then add in the remaining dry ingredients and coffee. Beat until combined.
  • Bake: Transfer the cake batter to a 9×13″ baking dish. Bake at 350ºF for 26-28 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
  • Add the filling: Warm the hot fudge until thin enough to stir, then mix with sweetened condensed milk. Use the handle end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake, then pour the filling over the cake and into the holes.
  • Top it off: Chill your mixing bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Once cold, add in heavy whipping cream and heat until thickened to soft peaks. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread the mixture over the top of the cake, then garnish with toppings and chill in the fridge until you’re ready to serve!

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake Topping Ideas

Anything you would use on a classic hot fudge sundae is fair game on a slice of hot fudge sundae poke cake! Here are just a few ideas:

  • Candy. Try toffee bits, crushed-up candy bars, mini M&Ms, mini marshmallows, or chocolate chips.
  • Nuts. Chop up your favorite nuts to serve over your slice of cake. Try peanuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc. You can even try toasting the nuts for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Cookies. Crush up your favorite cookies and sprinkle them over top your slice of cake.
  • Sprinkles. Who doesn’t love bright pops of color and sweetness?
  • Fruit. Try sliced bananas, sliced strawberries, or Maraschino cherries.
hot fudge sundae toppings in bowls from above

Time-Saving Tips

  • Use boxed cake mix. I love homemade cake, but if you’re shorter on time you can use a chocolate cake mix and your poke cake will still be delicious.
  • Use cool whip. If you’re wanting to save even more time, you can use Cool Whip in place of the homemade whipped topping.
  • Prep the cake in advance. The cake can be baked up to 2 days in advance and stored at room temperature or in the fridge. Then all that’s left to do later is add the filling and topping!
overhead of a slice of hot fudge sundae poke cake with a bite taken out with a fork

How to Prepare Ahead of Time

Since poke cakes get even better as they sit, they are the perfect make-ahead desserts!

You can fully assemble the cake and store it in the fridge for up to 2 days before serving or you can bake the cake 2 days in advance and store it at room temperature. When you’re ready to serve, simply add the filling and topping and let it set in the fridge for 2 hours before serving.

slice of cake with a bite taken out on a white plate

How to Store Finished Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

One of the best things about poke cakes is how long they stay moist and tender. They do need to be stored in the fridge though. You can just place the finished cake in the fridge and tightly cover the top of the dish with saran wrap. Alternatively, you can cut the cake into slices and transfer them to an airtight container. The poke cake will last in the fridge for 3-5 days.

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closeup of a slice of hot fudge sundae cake with toppings on a white plate

Hot Fudge Poke Cake

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  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 26 minutes
  • Total Time: 56 minutes
  • Yield: 15 Servings
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


This Hot Fudge Poke Cake is a chocolate cake, layered in hot fudge sauce, banana and vanilla pudding, whipped cream, strawberries, and toppings of your choice.


For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups (285g) granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (118 ml) vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (118 ml) sour cream
  • 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (55 g) cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon (5g) espresso powder  (optional)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons (9 g) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (2 g) baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (5 g) salt
  • 1 ¼ cup (355 ml) hot brewed coffee

For the Filling

  • 1 can (14oz ) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12oz) hot fudge sauce

For the Topping

  • 1 ½ cups (354ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup + 2 tablespoons (81g) powdered sugar
  • Toppings of choice: Sprinkles, nuts, cherries, bananas, etc


For the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the eggs and oil are well incorporated and the batter is lighter in color. Next mix in the sour cream and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then add half the dry ingredients followed by half of the coffee and mix just until the flour starts to incorporate. Then add the remaining dry ingredients and coffee. Beat until all of the ingredients are well combined. 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.
  4. Pour the batter into a 9×13-inch pan and bake at 350°F for 26-28 minutes. Test the cake for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

For the filling:

  1. Warm the hot fudge until it’s thin enough to stir. In a mixing bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and hot fudge sauce and mix to combine. 
  2. Take the end of a wooden spoon or another round object and poke holes all over the top of your cake. Pour the sauce mixture over the cake. 

For the topping: 

  1. Make the whipped cream: Place the mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to chill. 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 to soft peaks.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating on high speed until stiff peaks start to form. Spread the whipped cream over the top of the cake. Garnish with toppings. 



Storage instructions:Fully assembled poke cake will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 289
  • Sugar: 22g
  • Sodium: 232.1mg
  • Fat: 14.4g
  • Carbohydrates: 37.7g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Protein: 4.6g
  • Cholesterol: 54.3mg

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