Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Poke Cake

4.5 from 63 votes

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Reese’s Poke Cake is the ultimate easy dessert recipe for the serious peanut butter cups lovers. The decadent combination comes together in this chocolate peanut butter sheet cake that is perfect to bring to potlucks and parties. Check out the suggestions for how to make it gluten free.

Reese's Poke Cake recipe

Easy Reese’s Cake Recipe

Chocolate cake is slathered with peanut butter pudding, chocolate frosting, and peanut butter whipped topping, then sprinkled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This Reeses poke cake recipe is the ultimate chocolate and peanut butter dessert. It is pure heaven!

I brought it to a party and it was a hit with the entire crowd! And when you need to make dessert for a big group of people, you need something easy!

I love to bake from scratch. I really do. Christmas cookiesstrawberries and cream cake, and even pumpkin cheesecake flourless chocolate cake roll – making all of these decadent creations brings me great joy.

So yes, while I do think there is something to be said for breaking out the flour, butter, and sugar, I am still truly a fan of a box of cake mix.

Why?

Because what started me on my path to learning how to bake from scratch is a little cookbook called The Cake Mix Doctor. All the recipes start with a cake mix, but ingredients are swapped and added to turn your basic box mix into a truly special creation. These recipes are perfect for novice bakers, or anyone who may be short on time, but still wants to bake a dessert to impress.

That’s why I love a good poke cake.

Closeup of Peanut Butter Cup Poke Cake dessert

Why is it called Poke Cake?

If you’ve never had a poke cake before, it is an easy dessert that can feed a crowd making it perfect to bring to a party or a potluck.

It is called a poke cake because you bake your cake mix in a 9×13 inch pan, and, after it cools a bit, you poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. Then top it with an assortment of fillings or frostings or toppings to soak into those holes, infusing moisture and flavor into every delicious bite.

And this version is a Reese’s cake!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake in a baking pan

Reese’s Poke Cake Recipe

 

Ingredients

  • Chocolate cake mix – your favorite brand. See my tips below for how to make it gluten free.
  • Vanilla instant pudding mix
  • Milk
  • Peanut butter
  • Chocolate frosting
  • Frozen whipped topping – such as Cool Whip, thawed.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Directions

  1. Bake the cake: Start with a chocolate cake that you made by following the box cake mix instructions. Let it cool, then poke holes in the cake with the back end of a wooden spoon.
  2. Make the peanut butter pudding layer: Prepare vanilla pudding and mix with peanut butter. Slather this over the cake.
  3. Add the chocolate frosting layer: Pour melted chocolate frosting is poured over the top.
  4. Cover with the peanut butter topping: Blend whipped topping and more peanut butter, then frost the cake and cover with a generous sprinkle of chopped peanut butter cups.

What do you use to poke holes in a cake?

PRO TIP: The easiest thing is to use the back of a wooden spoon with a round handle. You can also use a straw or skewer.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Poke Cake with plenty of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

Tips to make a gluten free Reese’s Chocolate Poke Cake

My gluten free readers may be asking how they can enjoy this ultimate decadence.

  • I did try to make it with two gluten free cake mixes baked in a 9×13 inch pan. I’ve read that many people have had success with this, but mine did cave in a bit in the middle. I would like to try it again with a different brand than the store brand I used.
  • You can also make a gluten free chocolate cake from scratch, like this Gluten Free Chocolate Poke Cake I found on Gluten Free on a Shoestring.
  • All of the other ingredients in this recipe are gluten free, but do take caution that while most canned frosting is gluten free, not all of them are. So be sure to read your labels.
  • The other option is to make one or two square cakes. If you make one, I’m guessing it’ll be too much of the toppings, but if you make two, I’d suggest doubling the whipped topping and peanut butter mixture to make sure you have enough to cover the cake.

And more Reese’s certainly wouldn’t hurt, because is it ever possible to have too much chocolate and peanut butter?!

Reese's Poke Cake from The Poke Cake Cookbook

If you are crazy about this Reese’e Cakes, get more poke cakes from The Poke Cake Cookbook by Jamie Sherman of the blog Love Bakes Good Cakes.Jamie gives you 75 different combinations! You’ve got classics like Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake, chocolatey treats like Chocolate Mint Poke Cake, fruity flavors such as Lemon Lovers Poke Cake, all-time favorites like Banana Split Poke Cake, and even adults-only desserts such as the Mudslide Poke Cake. And these…

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Poke Cake on a white plate

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Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Poke Cake
4.5 from 63 votes

Reese’s Poke Cake

An easy dessert recipe loaded with chocolate, peanut butter, and peanut butter cups! Perfect for parties and potlucks!
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 4 hrs 45 mins
Servings: 24

Ingredients

  • 15.25 oz chocolate cake mix plus ingredients to prepare the cake
  • 3.4 oz vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter, divided
  • 16 oz chocolate frosting
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 25 mini Peanut Butter Cups unwrapped and roughly chopped

Instructions

  • Prepare and bake the cake according to the package instructions, baking in a 13 x 9-inch cake pan.
  • Let the cake cool 15-20 minutes, then poke holes in the cake every 1/2 to 1 inch with the round end of a wooden spoon.
  • Empty the pudding mix into a medium bowl, and add the milk.
  • Whisk briskly for 2 minutes or until the pudding mix is dissolved then whisk in 1/2 cup of the peanut butter until combined and smooth.
  • Pour the pudding mixture over the cake, filling the holes as much as possible.
  • In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate frosting for 15-20 seconds, or until it can be poured easily. Drizzle it over the cake and spread evenly with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula.
  • Let the cake cool completely.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of peanut butter and the whipped topping. Spread over the cake and top with the peanut butter cups.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Nutrition Facts
Reese's Poke Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 slice)
Calories 333 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 3mg1%
Sodium 324mg14%
Potassium 263mg8%
Carbohydrates 39g13%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 29g32%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 44IU1%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Enjoy!

59 Comments
    1. Make sure you use a deep enough cake pan so that the toppings don’t leak over the side and it should be fine in a cooler. The other option is to bake the cake and make the toppings and keep them in a cooler, then put them on when you get to your destination.

  1. Hayleigh

    5 stars
    This cake is absolutely delicious. My husband loves Reeces and he asks me to make him this cake every year for his birthday. My only problem is that while a 9 by 13 dish works fine, maybe specify that the pan needs to be more than 3qts deep. All I have are the 3 deep and the cake overflows on the chocolate frosting part. I also had this problem last year while using one of my mother’s pans. So absolutely perfect cake recipe, but I highly recommend using a deep dish!

  2. Yolonda Lawson

    5 stars
    This is a delicious cake – very rich, but WOW! I took it to a potluck and people were almost ready to lick the pan clean. Highly recommended.

  3. Debbie C

    This cake was easy to make and it was very delicious. Took it to work and coworkers loved it! I added some Reese’s pieces to it.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I don’t think making it into 2 layers would work very well, Evelyn. Layer cakes have frosting between the layers, and I’m not sure that you could pick up a layer after it’s been poked with holes and filled.

  4. Christine

    5 stars
    This cake turned out fantastic! I brought it to a big picnic dessert competition and won 2nd place. I thought it should have won first! Thank u!

  5. Krista

    4 stars
    Made this cake and it is delicious. However, it is VERY rich. I have decided that the next time I will omit the chocolate frosting. I really don’t think it is needed. If chocolate is wanted maybe try drizzling chocolate syrup over the pudding.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Krista! Thanks for your feedback. You’re right that the poke cake is very rich. I suppose I should add a disclaimer. 😉 I’m glad you enjoyed it, though!

    2. Beth

      5 stars
      guess it depends, I found I would prefer without the chocolate frosting, but the hubby is gonna love it and will probably finish mine for me.
      it is yummy

  6. Ellen

    I love Reese Cups & i love making poke cakes, i look at a recipe and then put my twist on it, im going to try this but put little miniature reese cups in the holes and then do the recipe the way you made ypurs or at least thst how im goimg to start, ?? ill let you know how it turns out, ive been thinking about making this for a long time & im going to make a Cherry delite poke cake but haven’t quit figured that one out yet ?? Thanks for Posting your recipe ❤️

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Ellen! I love that you like to customize recipes to your own tastes. I hope the poke cake turns out well for you!

  7. Kelly

    I’d like to bake the cake a few days in advance and freeze it. Then defrost and put the frosting on. Do you recommend this and, if so, should I freeze it before I add the pudding, or after? thanks very much!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Kelly, my suggestion is to bake the cake and let it cool completely. Then poke the holes in it, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil, then freeze. On the day you’re going to serve it, remove from the freezer, unwrap and let it come to room temperature (thawing in the fridge will cause too much condensation). Then fill with pudding and frost. Hope it turns out well for you!

  8. […] I started watching cooking shows when I was in high school. I had a TV in my room, and I’d pop on a few episodes in the background while I was doing homework. Unless some cheesy teen drama was on, I’d watch another show before I went to sleep. I have no idea why I did this. Yes, I did sometimes cook for my family, but more often than not I was making some sort of casserole involving canned cream soups or some sort of pasta and ground beef concoction or, when I was really getting daring, some sort of chicken and rice thing. And baking was mostly relegated to box mixes that maybe I doctored up or decorated a bit, like a Reese’s Poke Cake. […]

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so glad to hear that your son enjoyed the poke cake, Jen! I’ve never tried to make poke cupcakes, but it sounds like a great idea! I think you would need to make smaller holes though. Maybe you could try using a plastic straw. Let us know how they turn out and good luck!

  9. Tawni

    5 stars
    I put the pudding mixture into a zip lock bag, snipped off the corner and “piped” the pudding into the holes, then put the rest on top. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Tawni. Thank you for your comment and for rating the recipe!

  10. Brenda

    1 star
    It’s currently cooling in the fridge, so I can’t comment on the taste. But what a mess!! You should add a roll of paper towels to the ingredient list! Maybe it would be better to cool the cake completely before adding the chocolate frosting? Or put in the fridge after that step? It basically just melted, never firming at all, and when I added the last layer the chocolate went all down the sides of the pan! There’s probably not much left underneath the whipped topping, as I kept having to wipe it away as it oozed down the sides onto the counter. I sure hope it firms up overnight and tastes fantastic, or I’ll be highly disappointed after all that 🙁

    1. Hi there! I’m sorry you had trouble with this recipe. It is from a cookbook where the recipes have all been tested repeatedly. So perhaps we can troubleshoot. Maybe your pan was not as deep or you did not make enough holes? When making poke cakes, part of why you don’t want a cold cake is so the pudding mixture can soak into the cake and make it moist and delicious. It’s actually not supposed to firm up. The topping should be the consistency of pudding. I’m sorry it was a messy process, but I’m sure it will taste delicious.

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so happy to hear that you loved the Reese’s poke cake, Diane! Thank you so much for your comment and recipe rating. 🙂

  11. Heather

    This cake has been a huge hit, I just made it for a second time, however i had a hard time with frosting being to heavy so the second time I doubled the whip cream and it spread amazingly. Love this recipe

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      I’m so glad that you enjoyed the poke cake recipe, Heather. Great idea to add more whipped cream to lighten up the frosting, too.

    2. Debbie

      I agree – double the whipped topping (16 oz. tub instead of 8 oz.). The small tub wasn’t enough to cover the cake for me.

  12. Wow, this cake really does look extremely delicious <3 I will definitely have to make one for myself this week as well. Even though I'm on low carb diet now, some small cheat meal won't affect it that negatively, right?
    Cheers

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