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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.
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 cookies, strawberries 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.
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.
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!
Reese’s Poke Cake Recipe
What You’ll Need
- Chocolate cake mix – your favorite brand. See my tips below for how to make it gluten free.
- Vanilla instant pudding mix
- Peanut butter
- Chocolate frosting
- Frozen whipped topping – such as Cool Whip, thawed.
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- 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.
- Make the peanut butter pudding layer: Prepare vanilla pudding and mix 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.
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.
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.
- Use my recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Cake, following the instructions to bake it in a 9×13-inch cake pan.
- 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?!
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…
- You’ll find Death By Chocolate Poke Cake in the cookbook, but it’s also on Jamie’s blog Love Bakes Good Cakes.
- RecipeGirl shared a review of the cookbook, as well as this Snickerdoodle Poke Cake.
- And another sneak peek is over on Barbara Bakes with this Turtle Poke Cake.
- You’ll bake your cake in a 9×13 pan, and I love this one from OXO.
- An offset spatula is very helpful for spreading the toppings.
Reese’s Poke Cake
- 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
- 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.
More potluck desserts
- Monster Cookie Bars
- Flourless Turtle Cheesecake Brownies
- Blueberry Maple Mini Cheesecake Parfaits
- S’Mores Magic Bars
More recipes with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
- Peanut Butter Cup Flourless Chocolate Cake Roll
- Peanut Butter Cup No-Churn Ice Cream Cake
- Flourless Peanut Butter Cup Swirl Brownies
- Flourless Peanut Butter Cup Blossom Cookies
- And here are another 10 Insanely Indulgent Desserts with Peanut Butter Cups.
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
Good to know about the sugar free ingredients. I think if you wanted to make cupcakes, you could make a hole in the middle and fill it, but you would need significant less filling or it will be quite sloppy.
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
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.
Hope you enjoyed the flavors! It is thick, so you definitely need to use something like a wooden spoon handle to make larger holes, not just a small skewer. If you need to make it thinner in the future, you can add a touch more milk.
This looks so good I will have to try it
It’s really amazing! I hope you love it!
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.
The pan I use in these photos is about 2 inches deep. It’s the 13×9-inch pan from OXO that you can find on Amazon.
Do you think I could buy a jar of chocolate hot fudge sauce heat in microwave instead of making frosting? Thanks..
This actually uses a can of frosting so you don’t have to make it from scratch. I think the hot fudge might be a little too moist and gooey, but I’m sure it would taste great.
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
Gotcha, I’d say try the fudge! The rest of the components are pretty sweet, so you really don’t need to add additional sugar to sweeten the peanut butter topping. It all balances out.
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!
What type chocolate frosting was used for recipe? Milk chocolate? Dark chocolate? Hmmm
Just a basic chocolate frosting. If you prefer a brand that only gives the option of milk or dark, I really think you can go with whatever you prefer.
I dont like frosting either, why not melt some milk chocalate chips, or even the semi sweet?
Or a chocolate ganache. The frosting is kind of a shortcut for ganache anyway.
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!
Ah yes, a nice deep pan is a good idea!
The whipped cream & peanut butter was the worst to spread. No tips on how to make it spread easier??????
Hmm, I didn’t have any issues. Maybe just drop small dollops over the came then spread it out.
Mixing my whipped topping with Smuckers Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sundae topping.
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
Hi Carol, the oz. measurements are only because those are the standard sizes of the packages those foods come in. Most brands of frosting are 16 oz., pudding mix is 3.4 oz. Just check the labels on the boxes.
I made this for my sons birthday. Turned out perfect and was a hit !
The pudding mix did not thinking should I add more peanut butter or cook the pudding?
Did you use instant pudding mix? If so, there should be no need to cook it.
Make this recipe. You WILL NOT be disappointed! So yummy, decadent & such a treat!
Aww, thanks for the feedback. So happy you loved it!
Could you make your own chocolate frosting and spread on cake. I don’t like can frosting
Sure, that would be fine!
Hi what type of frosting did you use?
I honestly don’t remember which brand, but any basic chocolate frosting from Pillsbury or Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker will do.
Would this cake be ok to travel with? I have a 4 hr drive and am curious if it would be ok in a cooler?
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.
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!
Oh good to know. I guess mine is deep dish and I didn’t even realize.
Is it possible to freeze this cake, then thaw for eating?
I am not sure this will freeze well. You can certainly freeze the baked cake, but I would add the toppings after thawing it.
Wondering how it would do in a Bundt pan???
I’m not sure it would work because with a poke cake, you want to spread the toppings on top of the sheet cake so they soak in. With a bundt, everything will just fall off.
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. 💗
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.
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.
Oooh, great idea to add the Reese’s Pieces!
Apparently I cant figure out this recipe. It’s not making sense
I’m sorry, can you be a little more specific with your question so I can help.
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Can i make it a 2 layer cake
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.
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.
I hope you like the flavor, but yes, this would be a hard cake to layer.
can you substitute a yellow or white cake mix instead of the chocolate?
Absolutely, Terry! Have fun and play around with the flavors in this dessert.
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!
Such fantastic news, Christine. Congratulations, and thank you for rating the recipe!
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.
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!
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
Can I use a devils food cake mix for this recipe?
Yes, that would be fine.
[…] may also like: Reese’s Poke Cake, Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake and Cherry Almond Poke […]
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 ❤️
Hi Ellen! I love that you like to customize recipes to your own tastes. I hope the poke cake turns out well for you!
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!
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!
[…] 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. […]
I made this for my pb cup loving son and it was a hit! Anyone ever tried converting this to cupcakes?
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!
Maybe poke one hole in center of cupcake and fill with one peanut butter cup.
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!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Tawni. Thank you for your comment and for rating the recipe!
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 🙁
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.
This cake was amazing! Even better the next day.
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. 🙂
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Can’t see the tecipe
It should be there now. Sorry, there’s been some updates going on in the background and it caused a few recipes to disappear temporarily.
am i the only one who can’t see a recipe on this post? 🙁
I’m sorry, it was a glitch. It should be there now.
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
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.
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.
Thanks for your comment, Debbie. Some people do prefer a thicker layer of topping. 🙂
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.
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.
I’ll be making this for Christmas! My in-laws love anything with chocolate and peanut butter. Thanks!
I hope that everyone loves it, April. Merry Christmas!
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.
THAT FROSTING THO!
I love all things choc + pb and this poke cake is no exception!
Haha! I do think the frosting might be my favorite part too, Kayle. Thank you!
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?
I think a little splurge now and then isn’t the end of the world. 😉 Enjoy!
What an irresistible poke cake! That frosting!