Poke cake is a retro dessert recipe that is having a serious moment. First invented in 1969 by Jell-O, the basic poke cake is baked, cooled and then poked with several holes by a toothpick. Then, gelatin is poured over the cake, giving it beautiful hues of color and lots of flavor.
This 1970s party staple has been given the millennial treatment as poke cakes are an Instagram-worthy dessert that can be used for everything from gender reveal parties to birthday bashes.
But unlike the traditional poke cakes of yore, today’s poke cakes don’t just feature plain white cake and strawberry Jell-O. Instead, we are taking poke cakes up a notch, such as with this recipe for gingerbread poke cake.
For her gingerbread poke cake, Dorothy at Crazy for Crust uses Betty Crocker’s gingerbread cake and cookie mix as a base. After the cake is baked, poke holes in it while it’s still warm, then pour condensed milk or another sweet, gooey flavor over the cake. Dorothy made hers with a butterscotch ice cream topping.
Let it sit and soak in those flavors overnight or for several hours. It is later frosted with Cool Whip, caramel sauce and something crunchy, like nuts or crushed gingerbread cookies.
You can take this recipe up a notch by making your cake mix even more flavorful and rich. Crafty Morning’s recipe calls for as box of spice cake mix, then suggests adding buttermilk and molasses to your cake mix, along with upping the gingerbread flavor by including more ginger and cinnamon in the dry ingredients.
After the cake has been poked and soaked up the sweetened condensed milk, top the cake with Cool Whip, crushed cookies and caramel drizzle, finally topping each slice with its own gingerbread cookie.
Or consider this variation for white chocolate gingerbread poke cake from the Recipe Rebel. Rather than covering her gingerbread poke cake with plain whipped cream, she makes a white chocolate pudding frosting with melted white chocolate chips, vanilla, sugar and milk. Pour it over the poked cake as usual and cool.
The result is ultra-decadent and the perfect way to enjoy this retro recipe in a fresh, modern way.