Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Poke Cake

4.5 from 175 votes
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Serious peanut butter cups lovers will be obsessed with this Reese’s Poke Cake. It is the ultimate chocolate and peanut butter dessert recipe because it is easy to make and perfect to bring to potlucks and parties. Check out the suggestions for how to make it gluten free.

Want more Reese’s cake ideas? Try Peanut Butter Cup Flourless Chocolate Cake Roll or Reese’s Ice Cream Cake.

Easy Reese’s Cake Recipe

 

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. I started baking using a cookbook called The Cake Mix Doctor. And recipes start with a cake mix 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 – they take a basic cake mix or simple sheet cake recipe and turn it into something over-the-top that can easily feed a crowd of dessert lovers.

And this recipe starts with chocolate cake that is slathered with peanut butter pudding, chocolate frosting, and peanut butter whipped topping. Then it is sprinkled with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups turning it into the ultimate chocolate and peanut butter dessert. Pure heaven!

A piece of Reese's poke cake topped with peanut butter cups on a plate next to the cake pan with the rest of the cake.

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.

If you love this Reese’s Cake, 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…

A piece of reese's cake on a plate next to the rest of the cake in a pan and a copy of The Poke Cake Cookbook.

Reese’s Cake Ingredients

But let’s get back to the Reese’s Poke Cake. Here is a quick overview of the ingredients you’ll need. The full amounts and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post. You can also keep reading for how you can make this into a gluten free Reese’s cake.

  • Chocolate cake mix – plus the ingredients to prepare it. Use your favorite brand or even a recipe to make a 9×13-inch chocolate cake. See my tips below for how to make it gluten free.
  • Vanilla instant pudding mix – you’ll need one small box.
  • Milk – dairy milk is preferred to make the pudding set up thicker.
  • Peanut butter – creamy is generally used, but you can add some texture if you want to use crunchy.
  • Chocolate frosting – use your favorite brand.
  • Frozen whipped topping – such as Cool Whip, thawed.
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups – chop them up for scattering over the top.
Reese's poke cake in a baking pan with one slice being picked up on a spatula.

How to Make the Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Let’s just briefly go over the steps before you dive into the details in the recipe card.

  • 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 with a round handle. You can
  • Make the peanut butter pudding layer: Prepare vanilla pudding and mix it with peanut butter. Slather this over the cake.
  • Add the chocolate frosting layer: Pour melted chocolate frosting is poured over the top.
  • 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.
A closeup of the corner of a piece of Reese's poke cake where a bite has been removed.

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. The only thing you have to swap is the cake, as you can find gluten free versions of all of the other ingredients. Do take care that not all canned frosting is gluten free, so be sure to read labels. And buy a bag of Reese’s that state they are gluten free.

  • Use my recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, following the instructions to bake it in a 9×13-inch cake pan.
  • Use a box mix that makes a 9×13-inch cake, such as the ones from Cup4Cup or Namaste, and bake as directed. Then follow the recipe as-is.
  • You can also use the Betty Crocker gluten free chocolate cake mix. You’ll have too much of the toppings for one cake, so you can either just use as much as you need. Or you can make two cakes, but in that case, I would suggest doubling the whipped topping and peanut butter mixture to make sure you have enough to cover the cake.
Apiece of Reeses Peanut Butter Cup Poke Cake with a fork on a small white plate on top of a blue plaid cloth napkin.
A piece of chocolate cake with peanut butter whipped topping and chopped reese's on a white plate with a fork.
4.5 from 175 votes

Reese’s Poke Cake

Serious peanut butter cups lovers will be obsessed with this Reese's Poke Cake. It is the ultimate chocolate and peanut butter dessert recipe because it is easy to make and perfect to bring to potlucks and parties. Check out the suggestions for how to make it gluten free.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 4 hours 45 minutes

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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113 Comments
  1. Michelle

    3 stars
    Idk what I did wrong – but this was a mess. I will say from reading another comment I shouldn’t have let the pudding set up, but I didn’t see instructions specifying. The PB pudding didn’t really soak in and the frosting just slid right off. I don’t think I’m a fan of store-bought frosting either – it has an aftertaste.

  2. Shannon

    5 stars
    This was so delicious. I made it as my first dump cake and I let everyone try it. Now my Dad wants me to make it again for his birthday cake! Fan favorite in my family!

  3. Bonnie Thompson

    4 stars
    I use Yellow cake instead of Chocolate cake. . My kids love it . Even when I’m mixing the peanut butter with the vinillia pudding or the peanut butter to the cool whip. Lol

  4. April

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh … Delicious!! Made this a couple times for parties and everyone loved it. So good, but not overly sweet.

  5. Ginny

    5 stars
    This is a definite winner! Took it to a graduation party for my Reese’s loving grandson. Had to share the recipe with many!

  6. Tamera

    5 stars
    I think this amazing recipe. My husband is going to love this dessert. What a great way to show him I missed him

  7. Veronica Rodgers

    I followed recipe using all sugar free ingredients. Every one loved it and are asking me to make it again. I would like to try making cupcakes do you have any suggestions

  8. Veronica Rodgers

    Followed recipe using sugar free ingredients from cake mix, pudding, whipped cream and frosting also sugar free Reese’s peanut butter cups . The cost was more expensive but the results were amazing

    1. Wendy Parmley

      5 stars
      Did the same thing for my diabetic husband for a birthday and EVERYONE loved it…and had NO IDEA it was sugar free lol That is always a win!!!

  9. Dawn

    I followed the recipe exactly, but the pudding layer was too thick to go into the holes. So I don’t think mine will taste like a typical poke cake, but other than that, it turned out like the picture and I didn’t have any trouble with the instructions. I’m taking it to a pot luck tonight so I haven’t tasted the end result.

      1. Sue

        How long will the cake stay fresh in a refrigerator? I made this cake last night (Friday) for a dear friend birthday but the party was cancelled. Do you think this will still be fresh, ok to eat on Monday? It’s too much for just 2 people to eat although it looks delicious and we could try!

  10. Karen

    I shall paraphrase Hayleigh’s comment that the 13×9 pan needs to be 3 quarts. If my math is correct, 3 qts. equal 12 cups. The pan needs to hold 12 cups? Gad…or should the pan be 3 INCHES deep? Please advise. I cannot afford to buy another 13x 9 pan.

  11. Kristen Clough

    Do you think I could buy a jar of chocolate hot fudge sauce heat in microwave instead of making frosting? Thanks..

      1. Kristen Clough

        It’s because I don’t like can frosting, tastes like plastic. The hot fudge will harden and not be runny. I think I’ll try it. How was the topping? I can’t figure out how whipped topping and peanut butter would taste? Most recipes call for some confectionery sugar. I bet it might be too rich that way. I guess it would stay light. Poke cakes usually have a light topping. Thanks for your reply

          1. Katie

            5 stars
            My boss asked for something chocolate with peanut butter cups for his birthday cake! I yhought this would be perfect! I still need to do the cool whip step, the cake is cooling down. Can’t wait to see his reaction! Easy recipe, thfnks!

  12. Julie

    Can’t wait to taste this cake as it is cooling in the fridge. One tip. USE A VERY DEEP CAKE PAN! My chocolate also dropped all over the place but I used a pretty shallow pan. Still looks delicious!

  13. Carol

    I really really want to try this as a surprise dessert for my son and grandson who loves LOVES anything with Reese Peanut Butter Cups. Is there a receipe that uses cup etc measurements instead of oz measure. Like a boxed cake lol

    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.

  14. 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!

      1. Sara

        Hi there, if I were making this a day ahead of time, how would I go about that? How far in advance can I prepare?

        Thanks
        Sara

        1. Tara

          5 stars
          I just made this today for my husband’s birthday! IT WAS AMAZING! The directions were super easy to follow and I had zero issues. I recommend warming the peanut butter in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds, just to make it easier to mix with the pudding and the cool whip. As I type this, I’m eating leftovers from the pan lol! I’m obsessed! Oh and my husband loved it too… so did my kids. 💗

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    2. Serena Stevens

      I tried making it a two layer- I used 2 nine inch rounds. I layered the cakes then poked and filled the holes. It was pretty difficult to get the pudding deep enough into the holes. I think next time I would stick to one layer.

  17. 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!

  18. 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

  19. 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!

  20. 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!

  21. […] 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!

  22. 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!

  23. 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. 🙂

  24. 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.

        1. C

          Are you supposed to melt the PB and then add to the pudding? The consistency of the pour over pudding was not what I usually get with poke cake. Looked more like a thin frosting. Thinking it’s not going to soak into the cake at all.

          1. No, I did not melt the peanut butter. If you made holes with the back of a wooden spoon (not just a small skewer like the poke cakes that use a jello or other more liquidy mixture), then in will soak in once you spread it.

    1. C

      5 stars
      I stand corrected! It soaked right in, and was DELICIOUS! I made this for my husband’s birthday and his exact words were, “You better be keeping this recipe!” Thanks for replying and for a great recipe to add to my collection.

  25. 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

    1. Brianne Cupcakes & Kale Chips

      Hi Andy,

      I think a little splurge now and then isn’t the end of the world. 😉 Enjoy!

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