Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cake



Merry Christmas! — If you’ve read this blog much, you must think all we do around here is sit and eat cake!  It’s kind of true.  Especially at Christmas–so many excuses to pull a good cake out of the oven.

This one is chocolatey and cranberry tart and creamy– all around delicious.  And just about the right way to end a Christmas meal.*


Cake Layer:
1 dark chocolate cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 heaping cups of cranberries
3 to 4 tab. chocolate ice cream syrup
1 pint whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
2 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix**
leaves for garnish


Make the cake according to the directions on the package (mine used 3 eggs, 1/3 cup canola oil & water).  Mix in the chocolate chips.  Then spoon the batter into two 8″ or 9″ cake pans and bake according the directions.

While the cakes are baking, make the cranberry sauce.  In a saucepan stir together the sugar and cornstarch until there are no cornstarch lumps.  Then mix in the 1/2 cup water and cranberries.  Cook the mixture over medium high heat until it simmers for 2 to 3 minutes while all the cranberries “pop” and the liquid turns a deep red.

With a slotted spoon, lift the cranberries to a heat proof bowl to cool.  Leave the sauce in the pan.

When the cakes and and sauce are cooled, poke holes all over the cakes with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Then drizzle the chocolate sauce into the holes. Next drizzle the cranberry sauce (not the cooked cranberries, just the sauce) into the holes.

Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer, adding in the powdered sugar and the instant pudding mix.

Heap the whipped cream onto the cake and top with the cooked cranberries and garnish with a few (non poisonous!) leaves from your yard (these are rose geranium leaves).  So pretty!

**The pudding mix stabilizes the cream so it stays whipped even after a couple hours out on the table.

*I made this recipe into two smaller cakes (8″ cake pans) because sometimes just a small liver of cake is a good way to cap off a meal.

*The cake mix makes two layers of cake.  I did two individual one layer cakes, because sometimes a small little piece of cake is just enough after a big meal.
**The pudding mix stabilizes the cream, so it will hold up out of the fridge for hours.


16 thoughts on “Chocolate Cranberry Poke Cake

  1. Merry Christmas Rhonda and what a beautiful festive cake. Poke cake is wonderful, so moist and delicious. That cake looks like Christmas. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday and wishing you all the best in the new year,

    • Thanks Suzanne– The kids are all arriving today– last ones in the door later about 1:00 AM! The grand-girls spent the evening frosting cookies– major sprinkle mess! Hope your Christmas is sweet in the days ahead… xox

  2. Rhonda, just yum. I’m loving all your festive goodies.

    I think you are the woman to ask. I CAN bake, but I don’t a lot. My 4 year old keeps asking to bake a cake. Do you have any that come to mind that may be easy to make with tiny and crazy hands? We were thinking of leaving santa a piece of cake instead of cookies because, you know, he gets sooooo many cookies already.

    • Hey Lacey– you’re the best mom– baking with kids! I like cake mixes–do chocolate and add in 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and-or a little packet of instant coffee to make it richer. and Frosting: 1/2 cup melted butter, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (like Hershey’s), 8oz. cream cheese, 1 pound box powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and 2 to 3 tablespoons milk– beat up with an electric mixer.
      To make it Christmas-y sprinkle on mini marshmallows and plop a snowman ornament in the middle. Fun idea to leave Santa cake! You’re kids are the cutest age for Christmas fun– hope you find so much joy in the next few days Lacey… xox

    • Thanks Jasmine!! The kids all arrived yesterday– and are still asleep this morning. Just about to launch into breakfast pancake chaos– love it! Hope you find so much joy in the days ahead– happy travels to Austin!! xo

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