This Caramel Apple Poke Cake starts with a yellow cake that’s filled with caramel pudding, it’s topped with apple pie filling and frosted with billows of whipped cream. The simple garnish of crunchy toffee bits and a light dusting of warm cinnamon finishes off this easy and oh-so-delicious celebration of the flavors we love about apple harvest season.
Caramel and apples go together like peas and carrots. While shopping for baking supplies at my local Walmart looking for inspiration, my eyes fell on a new flavor of instant Jello pudding mix sitting smugly on the shelf. There in all it’s glory, sat a freshly stocked stack of caramel flavored instant pudding mix. I thought I heard angels sing. It literally took mere seconds for me to decide the first recipe I would develop using my favorite sweet flavor of all.
This caramel apple poke cake is a little different from others in that, one can of apple pie filling is mixed right into the cake batter itself. The other is mixed with the caramel pudding for the topping. It’s imperative you choose a premium brand of apple pie filling that’s chock full of apple slices and thoroughly chill the cake before serving. In order for the toffee bits to maintain their crunch, garnish the top with cinnamon and toffee bits either the same day or just before serving. This caramel apple poke cake is reminiscent of a fusion dessert where apple pie and cake collide. The end result could only be spectacular.
Caramel Apple Poke Cake
- 1 15.25 oz yellow cake mix (plus ingredients to prepare)
- 2 20 oz cans premium apple pie filling, divided
- 1 tsp apple pie spice or cinnamon plus additional for dusting
- 2 3.4 oz boxes instant Caramel pudding (See Cook's note)
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 16 oz Whipped topping
- 1/4 cup toffee bits
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a non-stick 9 x 13-inch metal baking pan with baking spray. Set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the cake mix, water, eggs and oil as directed on the package adding 1 tsp apple pie spice or ground cinnamon. Decrease the water called for on the box by 1/4 cup. Beat until smooth and fully moistened.
- By hand mix in 1 can of apple pie filling.
- Spread into the prepared pan. Bounce the pan on the counter a few times to remove air bubbles.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes back clean.
- Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat together the pudding mix (both boxes) and 3 cups whole milk. Beat until thickened but still pourable.
- Remove the cake from the oven and immediately poke holes over the entire cake using the handle of a wooden spoon or similar. Be generous.
- Spread 1/2 of the caramel pudding into the holes. Mix the remaining pudding with the final can of apple pie filling by hand. Spread over the pudding layer.
- Chill completely.
- Frost the top with whipped topping and sprinkle with cinnamon and toffee bits just before serving.
If you are unable to find caramel flavored instant pudding substitute with 1 (3.4) oz vanilla or butterscotch pudding prepared per the box instructions instead. For the caramel apple layer, mix 1 (10) oz jar of caramel ice cream topping with one can of apple pie filling then proceed with the assembly as noted in the recipe.