Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

This Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake is a moist chocolate cake soaked with caramel sauce and topped with caramel chocolate frosting and chopped pecans! It’s a delicious poke cake recipe made completely from scratch!

Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake recipe

Once of my favorite parts about anything “turtle” flavored is the caramel. I am such a caramel lover. In fact, when we were at the beach a couple weeks ago, the hubs and I got to go on a couple dates while my parents watched the twins for us. One of those nights, he took me to a lovely dinner and had gotten a bunch of ice cream for us to enjoy, since that’s been kind of a thing for me lately. He wasn’t sure which ice cream to buy so he just bought several pints of different ice creams – all containing caramel. Ha! He knows me well. 🙂

So naturally, I was pretty pumped the make this Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake and enjoy all the caramel it has to offer. It’s ridiculously good and might just be my favorite poke cake ever.

The moist chocolate cake is the same as my Best Chocolate Cake and the same one I used in my Baileys Chocolate Poke Cake. It’s amazing and always a hit. It’s covered in a wonderful, homemade caramel sauce and if that wasn’t rich enough for you, it’s covered in caramel chocolate frosting. So decadent and wonderful and you have to try it.

So how do you make a Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake?

To get started, you’ll make the caramel that will be used in the frosting. It needs to have time to set up in the fridge before using, so we start there. It’s made in a saucepan on the stove and as far as caramel sauce goes, it’s as simple as it gets.

The caramel is made from butter, brown sugar, heavy whipping cream, vanilla and a little corn syrup. If you aren’t fond of corn syrup, you could try using a little honey. Everything is cooked together over the stove on medium-low heat until the brown sugar has melted. Be sure not to rush this step or you could end up with a grainy caramel sauce. You can’t speed up the melting of the sugar, so just let it melt slowly.

Once it’s melted, turn the heat up to medium-high to bring it to a boil and then let it boil for 3 minutes. When it’s done, refrigerate the sauce until you’re ready to use it. You could even make it ahead and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. Yay for making things ahead!

Best Chocolate Turtle Poke CakeHomemade Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

The next step, crazily enough, is to make another batch of caramel – this time twice the amount as before. This caramel sauce will be poured over the cake after it’s baked. While you could make ALL the caramel sauce at the same time, it’s a lot of caramel sauce. Unless you have a very large saucepan, it’ll boil up too much when cooking and overflow if you make it all at the same time. A bit of a pain, I know. But worth it. And fortunately this caramel sauce is easy peasy and hard to screw up.

After you’ve made the sauce for the cake, let it sit and come to room temperature while you make the cake.

The chocolate cake is also about as easy as it gets. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, add some water and bake. Don’t be alarmed when you see that the cake is baked at 300 degrees – it’s not a typo. It’s a slow bake cake with a very thin batter and it all works together to literally make the best, most moist chocolate cake you’ll ever try.

Once the cake has baked and cooled, poke holes all over the cake and pour the room temperature caramel sauce all over it, spreading the caramel evenly down into the holes.

The reason for everything being room temperature is so that the caramel sauce doesn’t just all soak down into the bottom of the cake. While that would be fine, I think this cake is best when the caramel sits in the pockets that are created by the holes that are poke and if the caramel is too warm and thin, it won’t stay in those holes quite as well. If you’re like me, you want to enjoy those pockets of caramel – yum!!

The cake can then be refrigerated while you make the frosting. It’s a good, old fashioned american buttercream that has plenty of caramel mixed into it. It gives it such a lovely, deep flavor that helps accentuate the caramel that was poured over the cake.

It’s also wonderful because even though it’s a buttercream, it doesn’t get super firm and solid when cold. That’s a big bonus, since this cake will be refrigerated and you might just eat it cold. No rock-hard frosting here. You can eat this cake cold, or let it sit and come closer to room temperature. It’s amazing either way!

The whole cake is finished off with a drizzle of chocolate and caramel sauce and of course some chopped pecans. If I haven’t said it enough, this cake is AMAZING! Rich, moist, full of chocolate and caramel. It’s like cake heaven and you definitely need a piece.

Easy Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake recipe

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You might also like:
Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake
Turtle Brownie Cheesecake
Chocolate Turtle Cupcakes
Turtle Chocolate Cookie Cups
Chocolate Caramel Turtle Cake Roll
Turtle Cheesecake Fudge

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close up image of Turtle Chocolate Poke Cake

Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes, plus cooling time
  • Yield: 12-15 slices
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake is made completely from scratch! A moist chocolate cake soaked with caramel sauce and topped with caramel chocolate frosting and chopped pecans!


Caramel Chocolate Frosting

For the caramel sauce

  • 1/4 cup (56g) salted butter
  • 2/3 cups (150g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups (180ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp corn syrup

For the frosting

  • 1/2 cup (112g) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup (95g) shortening
  • 1/2 cup (57g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 cups (345g) powdered sugar
  • 67 tbsp milk
  • Caramel sauce, for drizzling
  • Chocolate sauce, for drizzling
  • Pecan bits

Caramel Chocolate Cake

For the caramel sauce

  • 1/2 cup (112g) salted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups (300g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups (360ml) heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp corn syrup

For the cake

  • 2 cups (260g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (414g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (70g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (240ml) milk
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup (240ml) water


1. To make the caramel sauce for the frosting, combine all the ingredients for the caramel (butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla extract and corn syrup)  in a medium sauce pan.
2. Heat on medium-low until sugar is melted. Be sure to melt the sugar on a lower heat so that you don’t end up with a grainy caramel sauce. When the sugar has melted, turn the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil.
3. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. It will bubble up a good bit when boiling.
4. Place the sauce in the fridge to cool and firm. This sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for up to two weeks.
5. Prior to baking the cake, prepare the caramel that will be poured over top. Add the butter, brown sugar, cream, vanilla and corn syrup to a large saucepan. Heat on medium-low until sugar is melted. Be sure to melt the sugar on a lower heat so that you don’t end up with a grainy caramel sauce. When the sugar has melted, turn the heat to medium-high to bring to a boil.
6. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl to cool to about room temperature. It will bubble up a good bit when boiling.
7. To make the cake, prepare a 9×13 inch cake pan by greasing the bottom and sides. Preheat oven to 300°F (148°C).
8. Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together to combine.
9. Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.
10. Slowly pour the water into the batter, mixing well and being careful of splashing.
11. Pour the batter into the cake pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs.
12. Remove the cake from the oven and allow the cake to cool to room temperature, then poke holes all over. I use a knife sharpening rod, but you could also use a large straw or the end of a wooden spoon.
13. Pour the cooled caramel over the cake and spread it evenly into the holes of the cake.
14. To make the frosting, add the butter and shortening to a large mixer bowl and beat until well combined.
15. Add the cocoa powder and about half of the powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
16. Add about half of the caramel sauce (which should be cold straight out of the fridge) and 5 tablespoons of milk and mix until smooth.
17. Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
18. Add additional milk, as needed, to get a nice, smooth and spreadable frosting consistency.
19. Spread the frosting evenly over the cake, then drizzle with caramel and chocolate sauce and top it off with bits of pecans.
20. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. It can be served chilled or at room temperature.


NOTE: If you have quite a large saucepan, the caramel sauce for the frosting and cake could all be made at the same time. It makes a total of 3 1/4 cups of caramel sauce and bubbles up a decent bit while cooking, so it should be a large pan. If all made together, you’ll want 1/3 of it refrigerated until cold to use in the frosting and the other 2/3 at room temperature (thickened, but pourable) for the cake.

Keywords: turtle poke cake, chocolate poke cake with caramel sauce, chocolate poke cake, easy poke cake recipe

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  1. Linda

    I followed the recipe exactly, but I made all of the caramel sauce at once the day before, and, OMGosh, INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for this recipe Lindsay!

    1. Lindsay

      Definitely! You’ll just want to bring it closer to room temperature to serve it so that things aren’t too firm.

  2. Carmen

    I am making this cake for my mother in law’s birthday! I am so excited! How do I make the chocolate sauce for the top of the cake? Thanks

  3. Namita

    Hi I love all your desserts but I want a substitute for egg . Plz help me . I am so much wanting to try .plz plz help me

  4. Lorna Evenson

    Oh.My.Gosh! So yummy! Made this tonight and was incredible. I didn’t feel like making the caramel (I know I’m lazy) so I bought a very good store bought 2 jars of caramel. I used one for the topping of the cake and I used the other for the frosting. That cake was absolutely delicious! It wasn’t overly caramel tasting but has the gooey-ness of caramel. The frosting was incredible. I will use that frosting recipe for other cakes from now on. Great recipe and was pure deliciousness. Will definitely make again. 

About Lindsay

I'm a wife and a mom to twin boys and a baby girl! And I've got a serious sweets addiction! Bring on the treats!

Scripture I’m Loving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29