Turtle Poke Cake from The Poke Cake Cookbook

As an Amazon affiliate, and affiliate with other businesses, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Poke cake recipes don’t get more decadent than this one, for Turtle Poke Cake, a cake version of a Turtle candy. A decadent chocolate poke cake filled with caramel and topped with chocolate frosting, chocolate chips, chopped pecans and more caramel.

a slice of turtle poke cake - a chocolate poke cake recipe filled with caramel sauce

Today’s recipe is from a fun new cookbook, The Poke Cake Cookbook, written by Jamie Sherman, who blogs at Love Bakes Good Cakes.

As a fellow baking blogger, Jamie and I have known each other online for years now. We were finally able to meet in person in Iowa. Jamie had just appeared on QVC to promote her new cookbook, which sold out! 

Front cover of The Poke Cake Cookbook, by Jamie Sherman

What are Poke Cake Recipes?

If you like Tres Leches cake, you’ll like this easy-to-make caramel chocolate pecan version. This was my first time making a poke cake, and I loved the combination of flavors.

Poke cakes are made by creating holes into baked cakes, which are then filled with pudding or other fillings.

For this turtle poke cake recipe, caramel ice cream topping mixed with sweetened condensed milk fills the holes you’ve poked in the cake. Then you top it with chocolate frosting, mini chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and more caramel.

Photo collage of ingredients and making a Turtle Poke Cake

The original turtle poke cake recipe calls for canned chocolate frosting, which I don’t typically buy. So, I’ve included an easy-to-make chocolate frosting recipe that my family loves.

I bought Ghirardelli Caramel Sauce at my local grocery store, which came in a 17 ounce bottle, so there was plenty to mix with the sweetened milk and to top the cake.

chocolate poke cake filled with caramel sauce, topped with caramel and nuts

Vanilla ice cream wasn’t really necessary with this moist, decadent cake, but I just couldn’t resist. I hope you’ll give it a try.

Be sure and take a look inside The Poke Cake Cookbook and check out the Table of Contents to see all the other fun poke cake recipes in the cookbook.

a slice of turtle poke cake - a chocolate poke cake recipe filled with caramel sauce
Yield: 18 - 24 servings

Turtle Poke Cake

Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (14-ounce) jar caramel topping
  • 1 (16-ounce) can chocolate frosting*
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Additional caramel sauce for drizzling
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Prepare and bake the cake according to package directions, using a 13x 9 – inch cake pan. Let the cake cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Using the round end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake every 1/2 inch to 1 inch.
  2. Combine the sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping in a medium bowl. Whisk briskly for 1 minute or until the mixture is well combined. Evenly pour over the poked cake, filling the holes as much as possible. Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.
  3. Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Spread the chocolate frosting over the cake. Use the back of a spoon or an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped pecans and mini chocolate chips over the frosting. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  4. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Homemade Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a mixing bowl, stir together melted butter and cocoa until dissolved. Stir in 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Stir in milk and vanilla.
  2. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until it’s smooth and creamy. Add additional milk or powdered sugar if necessary to create an easy to spread frosting.

More chocolate cake recipes you might like:

Old Fashioned Chocolate Mayonnaise Bundt Cake, Barbara Bakes
Triple Layer Chocolate Cake, Barbara Bakes
One Bowl Chocolate Cake, Valerie’s Kitchen
Gooey Upside Down German Chocolate Cake, Tidy Mom

Pin It:

turtle poke cake photo collage

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.