This chocolate poke cake gets its name from the literal poking of the chocolate cake while it's still warm, then pouring a chocolate Baileys syrup over it, then topping with a Baileys buttercream frosting. Cheers to a deliciously moist and boozy cake!
You've heard of a chocolate cake. You've heard of a hummingbird cake. And then there's German chocolate, black forest, angel food, marble, red velvet...but have you heard of a chocolate POKE cake? I must've had a dream about this cake because I woke up needing to make this right away for New Years. After all, is there a better way to start off the new year than with a boozy chocolate cake?!
I also may or may not have had to break into my neighbor's house to borrow their Baileys because we were out and the liquor store across the street was closed for the holiday. Just maybe. This cake uses Baileys in both the syrup poured over the chocolate cake and in the buttercream frosting. This is the perfect cake when you want to make something different and fun quickly.
This isn't a cake to give to children, however, because the Baileys doesn't "bake out." Baileys is the star of this show...so please, eat cake responsibly.
What the beep is a chocolate poke cake anyway?
It's a chocolate cake that you put holes in once it's still hot out of the oven. The holes help the cake absorb more of this delicious chocolate Baileys syrup you're going to pour over it, making the cake so moist (sorry! had to use the word!) and boozy.
The time-saving secret: boxed cake mix
This Baileys cake saves several steps in the beginning by using boxed cake mix. I know, I know. I love a good homemade cake. Trust me...this was my chocolate cake that nearly crashed my site...but when you're in a hurry or just don't feel like it, why not take a shortcut? Make the cake from scratch though if you'd prefer. The rest of the steps remain the same.
Here's what you'll need to make the cake:
- your favorite chocolate boxed cake mix (yea! I said it! Boxed. Cake. Mix. Just like this Shortcut Cookies and Cream Ice Cream Cake)
- all of the necessary ingredients your boxed cake mix calls for
- Baileys Irish Cream, of course.
- sweetened condensed milk (some recipes call for a pudding mixture in the holes of the cake but sweetened condensed milk gives the filling a syrupy quality and I prefer this)
- unsweetened cocoa powder. This recipe has a lot of sugar, so no need to use the sweetened kind here. This cake is definitely sweet enough.
- heavy cream thickens the syrup a bit and adds some richness
- unsalted butter to make the most delicious Baileys buttercream frosting
- powdered sugar
- pure vanilla extract
How to make this cake
STEP 1: Start by making your chocolate cake according to the package directions. This Duncan Hines cake mix I used called for eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Easy peasy.
Put the cake batter into a 9x13" pan sprayed with cooking spray and lined with parchment paper. The parchment paper helps you take the cake out of the pan if you want it to eventually be on a platter once everything is cooled. If you have no plans to take the cake out of the pan, just skip this part. Bake the cake according to package directions (about 25 minutes).
STEP 2: The next step is to let the cake cool once it comes out of the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, you can whisk all of the ingredients together for the syrup (Baileys, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa powder, and heavy cream). Poke holes all over the cake with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon (holes should be roughly ½" in size) all over the cake.
Pour the syrup all over the cake so it coats the entire top. Place in the refrigerator for an hour to set and absorb (hardest part!).
STEP 3: Make your Baileys buttercream frosting and spread all over the top of the cake with an offset spatula. Do this part gently because the top of boxed cakes tends to peel off easily. Top with any chocolate shavings or nibs you may have. I used these chocolate pearls leftover in my pantry from my chocolate pots de creme and chocolate mousse.
Pretty darn easy, right?
Storing your Baileys chocolate poke cake
Be sure to place individual slices (or the entire cake) in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. You don't want to store this cake at room temperature.
Happy New Year to everyone. Let's make 2020 the best one yet!
Baileys Chocolate Poke Cake
For the cake:
- 1 box of your favorite chocolate cake
- all necessary ingredients to make boxed cake (found on back of box)
For the syrup
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅓ cup Baileys
For the Baileys buttercream frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 ½ cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup Baileys
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp salt
- chocolate, optional or garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 or 325 (whatever the box calls for with whatever pans you're using). Grease or spray a 9x13" pan and line with parchment paper.
- Mix cake mix according to package directions and pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cake is done. Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate Baileys syrup by whisking all of the ingredients together in a bowl. When the cake is cooled, use back of a wooden spoon or spatula (about ½" wide) to poke holes about an inch apart all over the cake. Pour syrup all over the cake, spreading syrup filling all over cake. Place in the refrigerator to chill for one hour.
- Make the frosting by combining the unsalted butter and about half of the powdered sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment (or with hand mixer). Add Baileys, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Mix in the remaining powdered sugar and mix until fairly fluffy (about 4 minutes).
- Spread frosting on cake and top with any additional chocolate for garnish. Cut into slices and enjoy!