Caramel Apple Poke Cake made with spiced cake mix, applesauce and topped with caramel, sweet cream & toffee! Perfect poke cake recipe for Fall!
Get into the mood for Fall and all things apple with this delicious caramel apple poke cake. With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a spiced caramel cake that tastes incredible, and requires very little work!
Preparing this caramel apple cake recipe using cake mix is one way we can cut down on time and effort while still giving us a fluffy and delicious cake. Grace your Thanksgiving table with this caramel apple toffee cake and watch it compete next to the pumpkin pies and other festive Fall desserts.
What is Caramel Apple Poke Cake?
Poke cakes are cakes that are baked and then (literally) poked, usually by the end of a wooden spoon. After that, they are covered with a wet liquid (in this case caramel syrup) and then topped with whipped cream and placed in the fridge to chill. This recipe uses a box cake mixed with spices and applesauce to create a lightly spiced apple cake. It’s then topped with caramel syrup, whipped topping, and toffee bits to create a delicious flavor-packed cake.
-Vanilla Cake Mix: 1 box of vanilla cake mix is the base of our poke cake. It already contains the salt and leavening agents we need, making our job much easier!
-Spices: With a teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, and a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, we can have a delicious spiced cake that tastes like Fall.
-Milk: Adding 1/4 cup of milk to the cake mix will help to keep it moist and flavorful. Water or dairy free milk could also be used but may affect the flavor slightly.
-Eggs: These are the binder in the cake recipe, so we need 3 large eggs to hold this cake together well.
-Caramel Sundae Syrup: This is usually found in the bottle of squeezable syrups near the chocolate and strawberry sauces in an ice cream section at the grocery store. We need about 10 ounces to help cover the entire cake.
-Frozen Whipped Topping: Using your favorite brand of whipped topping, let it thaw and then spread the 8 ounce container over the cake when directed.
-English Toffee Bits: Sprinkling 4 ounces of English toffee bits over the top of the cake at the end will give a little more flavor, chew, and it helps to add a pretty appearance to the cake.
-OPTIONAL: You can add 1 cup diced fresh apple to your cake as well! Just sprinkle the apple pieces on after you pour the caramel syrup on top. You’ll then cover the apples with the sweet cream and toffee bits, so browning won’t be a problem!
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees.
Mix the vanilla cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, milk, eggs, and applesauce together in a large bowl.
Pour the cake mixture into a prepared 8×8 baking dish.
Bake the cake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
Let your cake cool completely before proceeding. I like to stick my cake in the fridge to help it cool down even faster.
Poke about 30-36 holes into the cake with a wooden spoon. Be careful not to poke all the way down to the bottom of the cake, you only want the holes to go about halfway down.
Pour your caramel syrup over the top of the cake, trying to get as much as you can into the holes you just made. Top caramel with 1 cup fresh chopped apple, if you’d like.
Spread the thawed whipped topping evenly over the cake and the caramel.
Sprinkle the top of the cake with the English toffee bits.
Place the cake back into the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.
Caramel Apple Poke Cake
- 1 box vanilla cake mix or spice cake, 15 oz
- 1 tsp cinnamon*
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg*
- 1/4 tsp ginger*
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup applesauce
- 10 oz caramel sundae syrup
- 8 oz frozen whipped topping
- 4 oz English toffee bits
- 1 cup diced Granny Smith apple optional
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large bowl, combine the vanilla cake mix, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, milk, eggs, and applesauce.
- Pour mixture into an 8x8 inch pan. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool completely (I place mine in the fridge to speed up the process).
- Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke about 30-36 holes into the cooled cake – do not poke all the way down to the bottom, only about halfway.
- Pour the caramel syrup over the top of the cake, making sure to fill each of the holes. Sprinkle with diced fresh apple, if you'd like.
- Spread the whipped topping over the caramel. Sprinkle the English toffee bits over the whipped topping.
- Refrigerate the caramel apple poke cake for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!
How do I store the Caramel Apple Poke Cake?
Keep your caramel apple poke cake well covered and stored in the fridge for the best results. Storing the cake for too long at room temperature will cause the whipped topping to melt and liquefy causing the cake to become soggy.
Can I eat this cake warm or cold?
Due to the necessary refrigeration of the cake, it’s best to eat this cake chilled.
Can I freeze caramel apple poke cake?
Yes, this cake is freezer-friendly, simply cover it well so that it is airtight and then freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw and eat, place it in the fridge overnight so that you can slice into it easily before digging in and enjoying a delicious slice of cake!
Cool Whip is the best “whipped topping” to use in this recipe. However, if you can’t find Cool Whip where you live or you prefer not to use it in recipes, you can use stabilized whipped cream instead. If you just use regular whipped cream, the consistency will be too light and the cream will not hold up very well. It’s very simple to make your own stabilized whipped cream and it just takes a few minutes!
To make stabilized whipped cream, you will need the following ingredients:
- 4 ounces of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Beat the whipping cream just until soft peaks form.
- Add in the cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip on high until mixture is smooth.
- Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to 3 days.
A little tip for making whipped cream faster: use a metal bowl and place the bowl in the freezer for about 30 minutes before you make the whipped cream. This will significantly decrease the amount of time that you will need to beat the whipped cream – the process will go much faster!
More of my favorite fall recipes:
- Grape Wassail
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Butter
- Apple Pie Quick Bread
- Frosted Applesauce Cake
- Pumpkin Pie Bars
- Apple Dump Cake
- Hershey’s Pudding Autumn Bloom Toppers
- Caramel Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Pumpkin Poke Cake
- How to Roast a Perfect Turkey
- Homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing
- Whipped Cranberry Orange Butter
- Glazed Pumpkin Scones
- Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries
- Festive Cranberry Jello
You’re going to love this simple and easy caramel apple poke cake recipe! It’s definitely an Autumn dessert recipe to keep handy as it tastes great during the months of fall. Served with whipped topping, caramel syrup, and a tasty spiced apple cake, what’s not to love?