The Van Vactor family

I love the holidays and I love this pumpkin poke cake recipe! I love shopping, wrapping, baking, being together as a family, and the smells of the season. This is one of my favorite times of the year and I LOVE pumpkin. This year I have sampled everything pumpkin out there. I love finding new recipes and getting family hooked on yummy desserts. Last year I found a super yummy fall dessert that’s perfect for Thanksgiving. Have you heard of Better Than Sex cakes? This is one of them. This cake is amazing. It’s melt-in-your-mouth amazing. It will be the hit of the party and family will talk about it for years to come. No, seriously, it really is that good. If you love pumpkin like me, you will love it, too. It’s perfect for any type of gathering and quite easy to make. I came across it on Pinterest. It’s from the Something Swanky Dessert and Design blog. Below is the recipe and tips Something Swanky provided. I hope your family enjoys this pumpkin poke cake recipe as much as mine does!

Pumpkin Poke Cake Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 box yellow cake mix

14 oz pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

8 oz. tub Cool Whip

1/2 bag Heath Bits

  • caramel sundae sauce


Pumpkin Poke Cake Recipe Instructions:


Mix together the cake mix, the pumpkin puree (DO NOT add the other ingredients on the cake mix box), and the pumpkin pie spice until a batter forms. Using the 14 oz. can of pumpkin puree will yield a thicker batter. You can add up to 1 cup more pumpkin if you’d like a thinner batter (which will yield a slightly fluffier cake).


Pour batter into a well greased 9×9 (9×13 if you added more pumpkin) baking dish. Bake at 350º for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely after baking. Using the bottom of a wooden spoon, poke holes all over the top of the cake (this post  has great step by step photos for this part). Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake, aiming to fill the holes. Refrigerate for 60 minutes or until the sweetened condensed milk has soaked into the cake.


Spread the Cool Whip over top of cake. Sprinkle on the heath bits, and drizzle caramel over top (just to your liking). Refrigerate for 3-4 hours, or overnight (best).



DO NOT — USE PUMPKIN PIE FILLING. YOU MUST — USE PUMPKIN PUREE IF YOU WANT THE CAKE TO BAKE CORRECTLY. The cake mix + pumpkin puree version of pumpkin cake may not be for everyone. I like it just fine, especially when it’s soaked in sweetened condensed milk and caramel. But if you’re not sure about it, feel free to substitute your own pumpkin cake recipe as the cake base. DO NOT mix together the pumpkin, cake mix, and the other ingredients on the back of the cake mix box!!!! ONLY mix the cake mix and the pumpkin puree. You must let the sweetened condensed milk soak in all the way. Letting it sit overnight will yield best results. Use the bottom of a wooden mixing spoon to poke the holes in the cake– it’s just the right size.


*I use a 14 oz can. However, there has been reported success using any amount of canned pumpkin ranging from 14 oz to 28 oz. More pumpkin should yield a fluffier cake, but note that you may need to allow more time for baking. If you use more pumpkin, you may also want to consider using additional pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.


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Category: Recipes

Tags: Alyssa