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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.
Easy Reese’s Cake Recipe
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. 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!
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…
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Things You’ll Need
- You’ll bake your cake in a 9×13 pan, and I love this one from OXO.
- A simple hand mixer is a kitchen essential and you’ll use it to make the cake.
- An offset spatula is very helpful for spreading the toppings.
- Make sure you have a wooden spoon with a round handle to poke the holes.
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.