Caramel Apple Poke Cake
This Caramel Apple Poke Cake is infused with irresistible warm Fall spices, oozing with pockets of luscious caramel and bursts of tender cinnamon apples and crunchy walnuts smothered in spiced cream cheese frosting  
    Servings Prep Time
    24pieces 25minutets
    Cook Time
    Servings Prep Time
    24pieces 25minutets
    Cook Time
    top view of a slice of poke cake drizzled with caramel
    Apple Cake
    • 1tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 3/4tsp EACH ground cloves, ground ginger, ground nutmeg
    • 2 1/4cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2tsp EACH baking powder, baking soda, salt
    • 1cup unsalted buttersoftened (2 sticks)
    • 1 3/4cup granulated sugar
    • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 4 large eggsat room temperature
    • 1 large egg yolkat room temperature
    • 1cup buttermilkat room temperature
    • 2 Granny Smith applespeeled, and diced into 1/4” – 1/2” pieces (approx. 2 1/4 cups)
    • 1cup walnutschopped
    Cream Cheese Frosting
    • 12oz Cream Cheeseroom temperature
    • 6tablespoon unsalted butterroom temperature
    • 2tablespoons sour cream(optional but recommended)
    • 1/2teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1/2teaspoon reserved Spicesin directions
    • 1/8teaspoon salt
    • 1 3/4 – 2cups confectioners’ sugar
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
    2. Mix cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Remove 1/2 teaspoon for the frosting (“Reserved Spices”). To the large bowl, mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
    3. With a stand or hand mixer, beat butter and sugar over medium high speed for a full 4 minutes until very light and fluffy, scraping down sides as needed. With mixer running on medium, add vanilla followed by eggs, then egg yolk, ONE at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each egg.
    4. Gradually add flour mixture to butter/sugar mixture in thirds, alternately with buttermilk in between each third, beating until just combined after each addition. Stir in apples and walnuts just until combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
    5. Bake at 350 degrees F until a wood pick inserted near the center of cake comes out clean, approximately 45-50 minutes. **NOTE: While the cake is baking is the perfect time to make your Caramel Sauce!**
    6. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes then poke holes about an inch apart with the back of a straw all over the cake. Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel over cake and spread into holes with a spatula. Cover and refrigerate overnight (see notes about frosting head).
    7. Spiced Frosting: Using a stand or hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, vanilla, salt and reserved 1/2 teaspoon spices at medium high speed until well combined. Add confectioners’ sugar 1/2 cup at a time then beat until very fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add more sugar if needed to reach desired consistency. Evenly spread frosting over cake and sprinkle with toffee bits.
    8. If serving Caramel Apple Poke Cake immediately after frosting, then let cake sit at room temperature BEFORE frosting to come to room temperature. Alternatively, you can frost the cake and return to refrigerator then bring to room temperature before serving.
    Recipe Notes

    Tips and Tricks for Poke Cake

    • All Purpose Flour. We want to use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour because we want a sturdier cake due to the caramel we are going to pour into the nooks and crannies.
    • Cream Butter and Sugar WELL! Take care you cream the butter for the FULL 4 minutes because fluffy creamed butter and sugar will help us achieve a moist, fluffy poke cake.
    • Room Temperature Eggs. Take care you use room temperature eggs because the yolks whisk together more easily which promotes more even distribution into the batter resulting in light, fluffy cake (because eggs trap air).  Cold eggs result in a more dense cake. To quickly bring eggs to room temperature, add whole eggs to a bowl of warm water.
    • DIY Buttermilk:  Add 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar to a measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 1 cup total liquid.  Stir to combine and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes ( the mixture will begin to curdle).
    • Don’t OVERMIX!  Don’t overmix the cake batter or the gluten will develop resulting in a tough, dry, dense cake.
    • Walnuts.  The walnuts are optional but I HIGHLY recommend them!
    • Caramel Sauce:  You can use store-bought caramel but I promise you will go crazy over my Homemade Caramel Sauce.  It is SO easy, takes just a few ingredients and is rich, creamy, buttery and 1000X better than store bought.  You will NOT regret making this caramel from scratch!
    • Refrigerate.  Refrigerate the poke cake overnight to allow the caramel to permeate the cake and works its magic.  If you are in a hurry, you can refrigerate the cake for as little as 30 minutes (to let the caramel set so the cake is easier to frost) but the cake is 10X better if refrigerated for an extended period of time.
    • Frost Ahead.  You don’t have to wait to frost the cake until ready to serve.  After the poke cake has been refrigerated for 30 minutes, you can frost it at that time then return it back to the fridge to serve later.
    • Toffee Bits.  Toffee Bits are found in the baking aisle. The most common brand is Heath and they are called, “Bits-O-Brickle Toffee Bits.”
    • Don’t Microwave Butter and Cream Cheese!   Never microwave your butter or cream cheese for frosting or the frosting will become too runny.