Easy Chocolate Poke Cake


Chocolate Poke Cake is rich and decadent yet incredibly easy — a home run dessert every time!

Easy Chocolate Poke Cake via Iowa Girl Eats

Happy Sunday, all!

Some surprises from the weekend? SNOW!


The past two days have been in the glorious 50s but this morning, without warning, we woke up to big fat flakes swirling around, accumulating like they own the place. Accumulation: a snow-haters worst nightmare. Ben extended his deepest condolences but I know he only halfway means it. Snow is his jam!


Another D’OH! moment? Dropping an entire box of barely-used rigatoni on the kitchen floor while trying to organize the pantry Saturday morning. I took it out upside down and the contents rained out, shattering all over the tile, reaching every corner of the kitchen. The thing that made me really mad? It wasn’t even a sloppy mess that I could use my new steamer to clean up. Oh the humanity!


Some high points? Spending the day shopping and running errands with my Mom on Saturday (sometimes you just need a “Mom Day”, right?) and eating lunch with these two rugrats this afternoon. This picture pretty much captures both Finn and Evie’s moods today – joyful!


Another high point? Eating Easy Chocolate Poke Cake for dessert!

Easy Chocolate Poke Cake via Iowa Girl Eats

The fam hasn’t been able to get together since New Years, so we all congregated for lunch at my parent’s house this afternoon. I asked my Mom what I could bring to contribute, and she suggested dessert. I toyed around with the idea of making a fancy citrus dessert, then said to hell with it and made this crowd-pleasing, chocolaty, ooey-gooey, decadent cake instead. It is INSANE.


First up, lunch! My Mom made a big crock pot full of BBQ Pulled Pork which she slow cooked for 12 hours then shredded and topped with BBQ sauce. Finger lickin’ good and an awesome dish to feed a crowd. Click here for the recipe >


On the side was green beans and some sort of Asian Ramen Slaw.


After lunch she helped me serve up the cake (Moms just always slice and serve things better, I feel.)


The recipe for Easy Chocolate Poke Cake is actually hers back from the 80s. It’s SO good that is actually better known by a different “rated R” name but, in an effort to stay out of my email subscribers’ spam inbox, I shall call it Easy Chocolate Poke Cake, mmkay? ;)


Start by baking a German Chocolate Cake according to package directions. Let it cool for 10 minutes then use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake, about halfway down.


Next drizzle on a 14oz can sweetened condensed milk, 


and a 12oz jar of caramel topping. Oh, I guess this would be a good time to mention that this dessert is not diet-friendly in any way shape or form. Seriously so good you won’t even care though. Trust me.


Let the cake cool completely, then spread an 8oz tub Light Cool Whip on top, and sprinkle on 4oz Heath Toffee Bits. 


Slice, then serve!

Easy Chocolate Poke Cake via Iowa Girl Eats

Easy Chocolate Poke Cake


Chocolate Poke Cake is rich and decadent yet incredibly easy — a home run dessert every time!


  • 1 box German Chocolate Cake Mix (plus ingredients called for on back of box)
  • 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12oz jar caramel topping
  • 8oz container Light Cool Whip
  • 4oz Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits


  1. Prepare and bake cake as directed on box. Allow to cool slightly then use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke holes halfway through cake, all over. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping on top then let cake cool completely. Spread cool whip over cooled cake then top with heath pieces.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.

The children’s expressions perfectly describe the experience of devouring this cake. Uncontrollable exuberance at the sight. Impatience as you wait for a fork. Then sheer bliss after your first bite.


The sweetened condensed milk and caramel seep into the holes in the cake, making it moist, creamy, and mind-melting. MAKE THIS! :D

Easy Chocolate Poke Cake via Iowa Girl Eats

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! What were your highs and lows?

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  1. Leianna 01.20.2013

    We had the same dessert today at our family Sunday dinner. On the other side of Iowa! Maybe it’s an Iowa thing, so yummy too!!!!

  2. Cathy 01.20.2013

    A high this weekend was seeing YOUR pictures of your family: those kids are adorable. And your Mom seems like a woman who likes nothing better than to have her family around, and happy. The spilled pasta made me think of a time I dropped a full pot of chili I was carrying to the table. That was awful to clean up! This recipe is being saved for the next time I need something special to share.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.20.2013

      You hit the nail on then head. There’s nothing my parents love more than having their family around! :)

  3. Amy M 01.20.2013

    Highs: discovering Temple Run 2, watching five episodes of Homeland (so addicted even though Carrie drives me nuts sometimes), chomping on Whiskey Walnut Bars, and bringing my husband for his first visit to the Latin King (whoa, good weekend!)
    Low: it’s already Sunday afternoon and I can feel the end-of-weekend blues creeping up on me!

  4. That looks insanely amazing! Next family get together and I’m totally making this. Love seeing all of the cute family photos!

  5. Your entire family is adorable, including your mom! I love these old recipes. They are so simple and everyone always loves them. Looks like a keeper!

  6. Allison 01.20.2013

    My mom use to make that cake for my birthday – we call it Health Bar Cake. Sadly, we lost her 1 1/2 years ago so I haven’t had it in a while.

    High this weekend was taking my nephew tubing at Sleepy Hollow last night just before the weather got cold and nasty!

  7. Leanne 01.20.2013

    Just out of curiosity, why light cool whip after sweetened condensed milk and caramel sauce? Seems like I should just go for the full calorie onslaught at this point.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.20.2013

      You can do whatever you prefer! I don’t taste a difference in flavor between regular and light, so that’s why I used it.

  8. Krysten 01.20.2013

    I made this for dessert tonight, too! Although mine goes by the inappropriate R-rated name ;) It’s always such a hit, so delicious!

  9. Kimberly 01.20.2013

    What a fun day! And I really MUST try this recipe for our next family gathering!

  10. debtgirl 01.20.2013

    Looks great and I cannot believe how big those kids are getting! They grow so fast!

  11. Anyone else know this as “Better than Sex” cake? Maybe that’s just an Illinois thing ;-) But really, it’s…um…it’s pretty darn good.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.20.2013

      Haha, yep, that’s what I meant by it’s “R rated” name! ;)

      • Amanda 01.21.2013

        haha, we call it the Better than Sex cake, too (or Chocolate Caramel Cake when kids are around ;) ). Delicious either way!

    • Tracy 01.21.2013

      Haha! Thank you, Mandy! I was dying to know the rated R name!!

  12. Rachel 01.20.2013

    Haha–When I was a teller, our supervisor would bake for us on our birthdays. The “Better Than _ _ _ Cake” was the most-requested! :) I have never made it myself though, and for good reason–I’d eat the whole thing in one sitting! My high for this weekend is the holiday tomorrow. My low was the half-inch of snow we woke up to this morning!

  13. The expressions on your niece’s and nephew’ faces are too funny! Sheer bliss.

    Mom days are the best.

    Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

  14. Wow, that cake looks fantastic. But then again, I am pretty much a sucker for anything dessert-related ;).

    P.s. your nephew and niece are absolutely adorable! :)

  15. Nancy 01.20.2013

    Why does everything you make, make my mouth salivate? I don’t know how many times I’ve swallowed my spit reading this post. TMI? Weird? Sorry lol

  16. Molly 01.20.2013

    Love that cake!! We call it ‘Better Than Recess Cake’ for the sake of our nieces and nephews’ ears. :) My willpower goes out the window when it comes to moderation and that cake.

  17. Alisha 01.20.2013

    I’m from Iowa, too and my M-I-L calls this “better than ANYTHING cake”! ha! Sooo good!

  18. Adrian 01.20.2013

    My husband is a chef and has tasted just about every dessert out there, but this is the cake he requests for every birthday! :) The only difference is I make it with a Symphony Bar crushed on the top instead of the Heath bits. Soooooooo good!!!!!

  19. Andrea 01.20.2013

    This cake looks so good! I would have to make it to take to a party or something because it wouldn’t stand a chance in my house :) Also your niece and nephew are just too cute! You’re lucky to have them so close.

    Highlight of my weekend was a trip to a local brewery to see a live band. Good food + good music + local beer! Very good times!

  20. Trisha 01.20.2013

    I remember my mom making this cake for our neighbors’ anniversary when I was a pre-teen. She told me the name of it, gave me permission to say it, but I was absolutely mortified when I delivered it to them and called it “Better Than You-Know-What Cake”.
    And yes, hurray for “Mom Days”!

  21. Brittney 01.20.2013

    Our Lutheran church cookbook growing up called it “Better Than Sin” cake. My grandma has a yellow cake version that I prefer since I’m a not a huge fan of chocolate cake. (I wish I could remember what it uses instead of Heath Bar!)

    • ColleenB. 01.21.2013

      my yellow cake version uses bananas, crushed pineapple, instant pudding. etc.
      Does that ring a bell to what your grandmother made?

  22. Wow, high point, finding your blog and sunny and 60 in Wichita. My best friend is from Iowa so I had to like you. I swear she talks about Iowa like its Hawaii. Must be something in the water of Iowa because other Iowans respond the same way.
    Low point… Reading this and missing my friend and all my family. We are new to our community and I miss these wonderful get togetherness that always involve food. I’ll be reading you. Told my Iowan friend about you too.

  23. Erin 01.20.2013

    Looks like it was afun weekend! I wish I had snow like you guys did. Send it the WI way next time please? :)

  24. I love this poke cake! Have you ever tried jello poke cakes? There fun to make for holidays with cool colors.

  25. Alli 01.20.2013

    I made this cake this weekend, too! I was inspired by the R-Rated name for a fun treat to indulge in at my friend’s Bachelorette Party. So good!

  26. I soo want a steam mop after seeing you rave about yours – your making cleaning sound like fun!

    xo Emily

  27. My high for the weekend was spending q time with my man and my dogs. I do miss time with my family now that I live so far away!
    My low was a recipe fail. Not only did I mess up the recipe but I made a huge mess in the kitchen and wasted about 4 eggs. It was still edible though so I guess that’s a plus!

    Those kids are such cutie pies! :)

  28. Bek @ Crave 01.20.2013

    Condensed milk drizzled through a cake. Genius. Keep your eyes posted round my blog- you’ve sparked a crazy post idea. Evil, yet delicious.

  29. ColleenB. 01.21.2013

    Also known as Better then Sex Cake around our house as well.
    Only difference, I also use Butterscotch topping, using instant pudding and sour cream in mine and topped with crushed Butterfingers, or chopped up snicker bars, or covered with chocolate curls. Basically you can use any topping your little heart desires.

    I also make this cake using yellow cake mix using pineapple, bananas etc.


  30. I’ve made a few cakes like that. Paula Deen Makes a killer “Better Than S3x Cake”! Haha.

  31. Dena 01.21.2013

    I made this for my son’s birthday last weekend, but used crushed butterfinger’s instead. It was DELICIOUS! Oh, and I omitted the condensed milk, for no other reason than it grossed me out. LOL. Just couldn’t bring myself to do it. It was good without it, though. ;)

  32. Bonnie 01.21.2013

    This looks scrumptious. Just wanted to pop in and say I finally made your Mini BBQ Cheddar Meatloaves – we use turkey when cooking and they came out delish! That one goes into the monthly rotation, now.

  33. ColleenB. 01.21.2013

    no matter what you call it or what part of the country you’re from; it’s diffently a ‘Girdle Buster Cake’

  34. Jill 01.21.2013

    Ooooh, this cake. So chocolately. So decadent. I’m kind of obsessed with it. I’ve made it into cupcakes and cookies. So good!

  35. Amy 01.21.2013

    I saw this cake and thought to myself….that’s not what we call it! Then, I continued reading! LOL.

  36. Jane 01.21.2013

    With all the calories, anyway, why not use freshly whipped cream in place of Cool Whip (chemicals)? I bet it would taste even better!

  37. oooo I love that you guys add the condensed milk and the jar of caramel! wow.

    weekend was good… went home to visit family for my birthday :-)

  38. Tracy 01.21.2013

    Maybe this is obvious, but store leftovers in fridge because of whipped topping? (If there are any haha!!)

  39. hannah 01.21.2013

    This cake looks perfect!

    I`m just wondering what is so “German” about the mix? :-)

    Best wishes from Berlin…

  40. Julie 01.21.2013

    This is a fave in our family, too. My mom cleans up the name, too – she calls if “Grandkids Favorite Cake”. ;) She actually makes it much healthier by using applesauce instead of the oil (I ALWAYS do this – I think it makes it moister) & fat-free sweetened condensed milk & caramel syrup & light cool whip. Still tastes delish!

  41. Tina B 01.21.2013

    Oh man I forgot all about this “naughty” cake! I need to toss one of these together and take it to work :) Ha ha about the “G” rating on the name ;P

  42. Jess 01.21.2013

    This looks seriously dangerous, and amazing! I love these posts about your family meals – looks like so much fun!

  43. My mom makes this cake but we call it Heath Bar Cake. It is delicious! My favorite part is taking a spoon to the condensed milk can leftover…

  44. Melinda 01.22.2013

    This cake is called Mud-N-Snow Tire cake at our house. We don’t chop the heath bar quite so much – keep it in strips and it looks just like muddy tires on fresh snow.

  45. Sarah T. 01.22.2013

    I made it this weekend too! Only I used white cake because my daughter requested it and didn’t have caramel so drizzled hot fudge sauce over it instead. Still mind-blowingly awesome!

  46. Erin 01.22.2013

    I live in Ames, so I was very excited to find this site a couple of days ago. And yeah, I love this cake so much I can’t actually make it – otherwise I eat like 90% of it myself in one day!

  47. Cassidy 01.23.2013

    Um, yum! Not good for my diet. We’re doing a version of the Biggest Loser at work, so I WILL NOT be making this anytime soon. My high/low of the weekend….seeing The Impossible. Oh my goodness, I cried the ENTIRE movie. Go see it, but be prepared to sob, seriously. My other high of the weekend, making your Black Bean soup. This is my new favorite soup because it was absolutely delicious, with perfect amount of spice and easy and healthy! Thank you!! I have a delicious curried pumpkin soup that I bet you’d like too.

  48. Tammy 01.27.2013

    are you supposed to mix the condensed milk and caramel together first? Or just pour them separately into the holes? Thank you.

  49. Lisa 02.07.2013

    I made this for a super bowl party and was the hit of the party!

  50. Jennifer 02.25.2013

    This is great… i added coconut flakes to the the top, to make it a German chocolate poke cake…wonderful

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