Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake takes all the delicious chocolate, caramel, and pecan flavors we love about turtle anything and combines them with a rich, moist, and super easy-to-make poke cake. It’s a dessert that’s full of flavor but not work. Perfect!

Slice of chocolate turtle poke cake on white plate

If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re big fans of poke cake. There’s just so much you can do with this type of cake, and it’s ridiculously easy to make. That’s a big, big winner in our book because, yes, we love cooking – we have a cooking blog, after all – but we don’t love needless time in the kitchen. We’re all about easy and delicious, and that’s exactly what you get with this chocolate turtle poke cake recipe.

That’s why we can’t wait to share it with you today. It’s an exceptionally rich poke cake that looks AND tastes like it was so much more work to prepare than it really is. So we get a finished product that is absolutely delicious, easy to make, and impressive when served. Yahtzee!

The Sweet, Sweet Road to Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

This chocolate turtle poke cake is so rich and delicious. It’s the perfect dessert for almost any occasion. However, without three specific basic foods, we wouldn’t have it at all. This recipe is the result of the invention of cake, its offshoot, poke cake, and of course, that delicous candy combination – turtles.

Overhead shot of chocolate turtle poke cake with fork on white plate.

The History of Cake

Traditionally, a cake is a sweet baked food made from flour, sugar, and various other ingredients. In their oldest and simplest form, cakes were actually modified bread. These days cakes are made in more ways than you can count, being as simple or as complex as the baker wishes.

The cake has been around for centuries. The word cake itself is actually Viking in origin, coming from the ancient Norse word kaka. Ancient Greek called this baked good plakous. Believe it or not, Romans called cakes placenta.

The cake has been around for centuries. The word cake itself is actually Viking in origin, coming from the ancient Norse word kaka. Ancient Greek called this baked good plakous. Believe it or not, Romans called cakes placenta.

Cakes remained nothing more than sweetened bread even until their earliest appearance in England. The first “modern” cake, the sponge cake was invented during the Renaissance period. Most food historians agree that this probably happened in Spain.

Over the years, the traditional cake has been tweaked, changed, and revamped millions of times to create all sorts of cake variations from trifles using sponge cake to a cake that was actually created as nothing more than a marketing tool. We think that’s an excellent transition to take us into the history of poke cake.

The History of Poke Cake

This variation on the cake is relatively new and was made specifically to sell a product. However, this recipe is still around because it makes cakes oh, so moist.

Poke cake is the product of 70s marketing. Originally created to boost sales for Jello, which was lagging at the time, poke cake was a pure marketing strategy.

Full-page ads for the new poke cake began appearing in all the usual periodicals that women read in the 70s like Redbook and Ladies Home Journal, touting the new cake innovation.

Poke cake quickly became the new favorite of housewives everywhere because of how easy it was to make, and soon these cakes became a staple of potlucks, holiday gatherings, and backyard bashes.

Fast forward to today, and although poke cake was devised in a board room rather than a kitchen, it’s stood the test of time. You’ll find an absolutely mind-boggling array of poke cakes online including this chocolate turtle poke cake.

Slice of chocolate turtle poke cake on white plate with more cake in background

The History of Turtle Candy

When we here “turtle” in association with candy, we immediately know what it is. That delicious combination of pecans and caramel dipped in chocolate is beloved among so many across the world.

These delicious candies were developed by Johnson’s Candy Company – later called DeMet’s Candy Company – in 1918. It was then that a salesman showed the candy, developed by candy chef, Louis Gordon Hooper, to one of the dippers in the factory’s dipping room.

The worker commented that the candy looked like a turtle. The company subsequently bought the candy and began marketing it under the name Turtles. The rest, as they say, is history.

Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

While our chocolate turtle poke cake may not be shaped like a turtle, it certainly has all the delicious flavors we love about the classic candy. A tender chocolate cake meets caramel sauce, chocolate buttercream frosting, and chopped pecans to create a poke cake that is likely the most decadent you’ll ever make.

Cake ingredients with glass bowl of batter on table


Like all poke cakes, this chocolate turtle poke cake only takes a few ingredients to make. You’ll only need nine ingredients in total. And that’s taking into account the homemade buttercream frosting, which is also super easy to make, by the way. Here’s what you’ll need:

For the Entire Cake Start to Finish

  • Devil’s Food cake mix plus the required ingredients on the box
  • Caramel sauce
  • Homemade chocolate buttercream frosting
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Chopped pecans
Spatula stirring cake batter in metal mixing bowl

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • Room temperature butter
  • Vanilla
  • Powdered sugar
  • Cocoa Powder

That’s all you need to make one of the most delicious poke cakes you’ll ever eat! The ingredients are super simple, and so is the recipe. Speaking of which…

Making the Cake

Making this cake is as simple as the ingredient list. Although you’ll be making buttercream frosting from scratch, even that is just a matter of a little blending. It only takes a few minutes from start to finish to make the entire cake!

You’ll find the full recipe complete with amounts at the end of the post, but we want to give you the highlights here so you can see just how easy it is to make.

For the Frosting

  • Cream the butter and vanilla.
  • Add the powdered sugar and mix well.
  • Add the cocoa powder and mix well.

For the Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

  • Prepare the cake per box directions.
  • Let the cake cool and then poke holes in it with a wooden spoon handle.
  • Pour caramel sauce over the top of the cake. Let it cool completely.
  • Prepare chocolate buttercream frosting while the cake cools.
  • Frost the cake.
  • Sprinkle mini chocolate chips and chopped pecans over the cake.
  • Drizzle more caramel sauce over the cake.

That’s all there is to it! It just takes a few simple steps, and you have an absolutely delicious chocolatey, caramel-filled cake that is just as delicious as it is beautiful.

Overhead shot of cake in glass baking dish with spatula laying on top


One of the best things about poke cake is how easy it is to make. The other great thing about it is how easy it is to change it up. A poke cake is a base that can turned into literally any kind of delicious cake you can imagine, and it only takes a few tweaks.


Changing the cake is the first step to creating an entirely new dessert. There are dozens and dozens of cake mixes available in your local store or online, so it’s easy to make all kinds of creative recipes.


Just as with cake mixes, there is a plethora of pudding mixes available either in-store or online. You’ll find flavors ranging from simple vanilla to citrus flavors and more.


We used frosting in this recipe. In past recipes, we’ve used Cool Whip. In both cases, you can change the varieties you use to change the recipe. Of course, you can find so many different frostings at the store, but did you know you can also find different flavors of Cool Whip? Oh, yeah, it’s true!

Choclate poke cake topped with pecan in baking dish

Serving Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

This cake is so rich and delicious that we don’t recommend serving it with anything extra added. All you need is a glass of milk to go with this rich, moist cake.

Storing Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

This cake will keep well in the refrigerator for about five days. Unfortunately, you can’t freeze this cake after it’s been prepared because buttercream frosting needs to be whipped again after defrosting. However, if you want to make this recipe in advance, you can make all of the cake except for the frosting and freeze it for up to three months in an air-tight freezer-safe container.

Try This Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake!

This chocolate turtle poke cake is so rich and delicious. It tastes so much more difficult to make than it is. Even with making homemade buttercream frosting, this cake comes together in a matter of minutes. In fact, the longest part of the recipe is simply waiting for the cake to bake!

With a dessert as rich, delicious, and super easy as this chocolate turtle poke cake, there’s no reason not to give it a try. Whip up one of these cakes, and we’re sure that you and your family will love them!



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Chocolate Turtle Poke Cake

This chocolate turtle poke cake is so rich and delicious, people will think it took all day. BUT it's actually super simple to make.
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Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 12 Servings


Recipe for Cake

  • 1 Box Chocolate Devils food cake mix + eggs, water, and oil
  • 2 (12oz) jar caramel ice cream topping sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 1⁄2 cup chopped pecans

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3⁄4 cup cocoa powder


  • Follow the instructions on the bake of the cake box as to what to mix to make the cake mix and to bake it.
  • Then remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Then with the handle of a wooden spoon poke holes throughout the cake.
  • While the cake is still warm take one jar of the caramel sauce and pour it all over the top of the cake. Then set to the side and let cool completely.
  • While the cake is cooling, make the chocolate buttercream frosting.
  • Cream the butter and vanilla and then add your powdered sugar and mix well. Then add the cocoa powder and mix well.
  • Then once the cake is cooled completely spread the frosting over the cake.
  • Then sprinkle the mini chocolate chips on top of the frosting. Then sprinkle the chopped pecans on top of the mini chocolate chips.
  • Then drizzle as much of the second jar of caramel sauce on top of the nuts
  • Serve and enjoy!

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