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Kahlua Poke Cake

Chocolate Kahlua Poke Cake

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Chocolate Kahlua Poke Cake: This tender, moist chocolate cake is infused with a rich Kahlua spiked custard and topped with chocolate whipped cream. A chocolate lover’s dream cake!

The retro poke cake is back with a vengeance! This is not my mother’s version with a white cake mix and box of Jello, but a rich mocha dessert from scratch that will wow your friends and family.

Chocolate Kahlua Poke Cake on a small plate

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Chocolate Kahlua Poke Cake

You may have guessed by now that the hubby loves chocolate. Plain ol’ chocolate desserts like nut-free brownies, chocolate mousse and chocolate cake. Though he’s not a fan of coffee or any hint of coffee flavor in his desserts, there are exceptions like this dreamy chocolate Kahlua poke cake.

Kahlua is a coffee liqueur that enhances the chocolate flavor of desserts in a much more subtle way than adding strong brewed coffee, instant coffee or espresso powder. But even though Bill picked up on the coffee flavor in this dessert immediately, he was still a fan. The chocolate flavor trumped all.

 Two slices of Chocolate Kahlua Poke Cake

How to Make a Poke Cake

A poke cake garners its name from the holes poked into the freshly baked cake which become receptacles for various filling options. Originating in the 1970’s, the flavor combinations are endless!

  • A poke cake typically starts with a regular cake baked in a 9 x 13 inch pan. A box cake mix is an easy shortcake.
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, “holes” need to be poked in the cake so a filling can be poured over the top and be absorbed by the cake. This makes a moist cake even moister!
  • I use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes in the cake. I like a round handle which pokes circular holes.
  • My first poke cake was a Jello version, a very retro treat from the ’70’s. Jello was the liquid that was poured over the poked white cake and created a vibrant pattern throughout the cake!
  • Besides Jello, many poke cake fillings start with a can of sweetened condensed milk that’s doctored up to coordinate with the cake’s flavor or theme. My chocolate Kahlua poke cake filling had melted chocolate chips mixed into the canned milk.
  • A topping is optional. Often the Jello version would be topped with Cool Whip, but I prefer real whipped cream, again, flavored to coordinate with the cake and filling combination.
  • Feel free to invent your own poke cake! The options are only limited by your imagination.

More Poke Cake Recipes You’ll Love:

Have you ever made a poke cake? I’d love to hear about your favorite recipe, so please let me know in the comments!


Kahlua Poke Cake

Chocolate Kahlua Poke Cake

A tender, moist chocolate cake is infused with a rich Kahlua spiked custard and topped with chocolate whipped cream.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 24 servings


For Cake:

  • 2 cups flour 2 cups sugar 3/4 cup cocoa powder 2 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 large eggs 3/4 cup milk 1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup Kahlua (or your favorite coffee liqueur), divided 1 tsp vanilla 3/4 cup boiling water 1 teaspoon espresso powder or 2 teaspoons instant coffee 1 cup sweetened condensed milk 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 2 cups heavy cream 3/4 cup powdered sugar 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To serve:

  • Fudge sauce Chocolate chips


Spray a 9×13 inch pan with flour and oil baking spray (I use Bakers Joy). Preheat oven to 300°.

Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine.

Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil, half of the Kahlua and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Mix the espresso powder or instant coffee into the boiling water. Stir, then carefully add the water and mix until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.

Remove the cake to a cooling rack and poke holes across the surface of the cake using the handle end of a wooden spoon.

While the cake is cooling, pour the sweetened condensed milk and remaining Kahlua in a large Pryex measuring cup or microwave safe bowl. Microwave until the mixture starts to boil, remove from microwave and add the chocolate chips.

Let set for a few minutes, then whisk the chocolate until smooth. Pour over the cake making sure to fill all the holes.

Set the cake in the fridge to cool and soak.

When the cake has cooled, add the ingredients for the whipped cream topping to a large mixer bowl. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form.

Spread the whipped cream evenly over the cake. Top the cake with mini chocolate chips and a drizzle of chocolate sauce, if desired.

Keep refrigerated.


Adapted from Life, Love and Sugar.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 405Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 241mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 1gSugar: 36gProtein: 4g


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Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.