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Boston Cream Poke Cake with Ganache

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close up shot of a slice of cake on a plate with a piece taken out of it with a fork
This Boston cream pie poke cake is a moist and flavorsome cake that is filled with vanilla pudding and crowned with a creamy chocolate ganache.
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Table of Contents
  1. BOSTON CREME POKE CAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. EASY BOSTON CREAM CAKE SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS
  3. HOW TO MAKE BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE
  4. TIPS FOR PERFECT BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE GANACHE
  5. SERVING BOSTON CREAM PIE POKE CAKE
  6. HOW TO STORE BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE WITH GANACHE
  7. FAQ FOR BOSTON CREAM PIE POKE CAKE
  8. MORE FAVORITES YOU’LL LOVE
  9. JUMP TO RECIPE

This amazing Boston cream poke cake features yellow butter cake filled with creamy vanilla pudding and frosted with a rich chocolate ganache. It has all the flavors of an original Boston cream pie, but it’s much easier to make.

Poke cake recipes are cakes with holes poked in, which you then fill with a liquid to make every bite super-moist. Take a look at our lemon poke cake and this chocolate poke cake for more examples of these easy recipes.

close up shot of a slice of cake on a plate

BOSTON CREME POKE CAKE INGREDIENTS

Boston Cream Poke Cake raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

For The Cake

  • 1 box of butter cake mix (plus the ingredients mentioned on the box to make the cake e.g., vegetable oil, eggs, water) 
  • 2 (3.4-ounce) boxes of instant vanilla pudding (see directions below for not using the entire second box of pudding) 
  • 4 cups of whole milk 
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 

For the Ganache:

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter 
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup of milk chocolate chips 
  • ⅔ cup of heavy cream 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

EASY BOSTON CREAM CAKE SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

CHOCOLATE CHIPS: We recommend using half semi-sweet and half milk chocolate chips, but you could use all the same kind.

BUTTER: You could use corn syrup in place of butter if you wish.

GANACHE: Making chocolate ganache is easy, but if you prefer you could use a ready-made tub of chocolate frosting.

CAKE MIX: We used yellow cake mix in this recipe, but other recipes call for white cake mix, which would work just as well. There are plenty of different box mixes you can get in the store.

HOW TO MAKE BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the boxed cake mix. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

STEP TWO: Make the cake mix according to the package instructions. Pour it into the baking dish and place it into the oven. Bake for the time specified on the box.

yellow butter cake baked in a baking dish

STEP THREE: Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool. Once slightly cooled, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake, about an inch and a half apart. Set aside.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS

It’s best to make the holes in the cake while it is still slightly warm because as it cools, the crust on top of the cake will crumble more easily.

holes poked in the baked yellow butter cake

STEP FOUR: In a medium bowl, add the instant vanilla pudding, whole milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.

PRO TIP:

Don’t forget to take out ½ cup of the pudding mixture. Trust us, we’ve tried this recipe out lots and the texture is best when you take the ½ cup out. Set it aside to set and you’ll have a snack for later.

STEP FIVE: Before pouring, take out ½ cup of the mixture and set aside, then immediately pour the remaining pudding mixture over the top of the cake before it has a chance to set up.

pudding mix poured on top of the cooked cake

PRO TIP:

When you’re pouring the cream into the holes, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make sure the cream fills the holes completely.

STEP SIX: Put the cake in the refrigerator for one hour while the pudding sets.

STEP SEVEN: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the butter, chocolate chips, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined.

butter, chocolate, vanilla, and milk combined in a bowl

STEP EIGHT: Pour the chocolate frosting over the top of the cake. Cover and place the cake back into the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight if you have time.

chocolate poured on top of the yellow butter cake

TIPS FOR PERFECT BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE GANACHE

  • When making ganache, it is important to make sure that the heavy cream is hot enough to melt the chocolate but not hot enough to burn it. We recommend 200°F for the right temperature.
  • If your ganache has a dull, grainy texture, slowly add a small amount of cold, heavy cream and slowly stir until the ganache becomes smooth.
  • Once you have made your ganache, it is crucial to let it cool to room temperature (or slightly above) on the counter before using it. Do not try to speed up this process by placing it in the fridge or the consistency will change.

SERVING BOSTON CREAM PIE POKE CAKE

Our delicious Boston cream poke cake is a perfect treat to serve for a special occasion or for no occasion at all. The cake is so easy to make, it would be a great choice for a weeknight dessert treat or to take to a potluck. Serve the cake with a scoop of our no-churn vanilla ice cream on the side.

HOW TO STORE BOSTON CREAM POKE CAKE WITH GANACHE

IN THE FRIDGE: You can store a Boston cream pudding poke cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

IN THE FREEZER: Boston cream pie poke cakes can be stored in the freezer for up to three months in a sealed container. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.

close up shot of a cake in a baking dish with slices of cake missing

This Boston cream poke cake is so easy to make with a box of cake mix and instant pudding for the vanilla custard. You should also try our custard pie, too, if you love this creamy flavor profile.

FAQ FOR BOSTON CREAM PIE POKE CAKE

What do you use to poke holes in a poke cake?

A wooden spoon handle is the best size to poke holes in the cake.

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

You can make this easy Boston cream poke cake a day or two in advance. Since the cake should chill overnight to give it time for all the liquids to soak in, it is best to make it the day before.

What is a poke cake?

It’s an easy cake that you poke holes into while it’s still hot after baking.
The holes are then filled with a liquid or filling — like condensed milk, pureed fruit, chocolate cream, or pudding. It makes a moist and delicious cake.

Do I use both full packages of pudding?

You need to take out ½ cup of the pudding mixture. Trust us, we’ve tried this recipe out lots and the texture is best when you take the ½ cup out. Set it aside to set and you’ll have a snack for later.

What is Boston cream filling made of?

Boston cream donuts are usually filled with vanilla pastry cream. We recreate that delicious and creamy filling using an easy vanilla pudding.

Can you use regular frosting on a poke cake?

While we use a rich chocolate ganache for this Boston cream poke cake, any chocolate frosting would be just as delicious on top of your cake.

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close up shot of a slice of cake on a plate with a piece taken out of it with a fork

Boston Cream Poke Cake

5 from 58 votes
This Boston cream pie poke cake is a moist and flavorsome cake that is filled with vanilla pudding and crowned with a creamy chocolate ganache.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 box butter yellow cake mix, plus ingredients called for on package (vegetable oil, eggs, water)
  • 6.8 ounces (2 x 3.4-ounce boxes) instant vanilla pudding, (see directions for not using the entire second box of pudding)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Ganache

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Make the yellow butter cake mix according to package directions. Pour into a lightly greased 9×13 baking dish. Place in the oven and bake at the recommended temperature and time from the cake box directions.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let cool. Once cooled, use the back of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake, about an inch and a half apart. Set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine instant vanilla pudding, whole milk, and vanilla extract. Use a whisk to combine.
  • Before pouring, take out ½ cup of the mixture and set aside then immediately pour the pudding mixture over the top of the cake before it has a chance to set up.
  • Place the cake in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, heavy cream, and vanilla extract. Stir together. Place in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir together. Repeat heating in 30-second increments until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined.
  • Pour the chocolate over the top of the cake and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight if you have the time.

Video

Notes

  • It’s best to make the holes in the cake while it is still slightly warm because as it cools, the crust on top of the cake will crumble more easily.
  • Make sure to pour pudding onto the cake quickly, before it has a chance to set.
  • When you’re pouring the cream into the holes, tap the pan on the counter a few times to get rid of any air bubbles and make sure the cream fills the holes completely.
  • Don’t forget to take out ½ cup of the pudding mixture. Trust us, we’ve tried this recipe out lots and the texture is best when you take the ½ cup out. Set it aside to set and you’ll have a snack for later.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 495kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 477mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 426IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Loretta Gray says

    5 stars
    Have made Jello poke cakes for years & thought they were great!! But, this Boston Cream Poke cake is a whole different level!! Everyone loved it!! Previously tried the Tiramisu Poke Cake & my family like it better than original Tiramisu. But so far, Boston Cream is the favorite!!!!

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