Boston Cream Poke Cake

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This Boston Cream Poke Cake is so easy and scrumptious! Everyone will be raving over the delicious combination of yellow cake, vanilla pudding custard, and chocolate glaze. Plan to take this one-pan dessert to your next gathering! It’ll certainly be a crowd favorite, just like the ever delicious Chocolate Lasagna.


When I was a young child I was enamored with any and all desserts containing custard. I was particularly captivated by Boston Cream Pie because it wasn’t a pie at all, it was a custard filled cake. And that layer of glorious, shiny chocolate—yum!

There is no arguing that Boston Cream Pie is a delicious thing. Where the confusion comes in is why a layer cake is called a ‘pie.’ While we can’t totally solve that conundrum (more on that later), we have managed to make a super easy poke cake version of the Bostonian favorite. Translating it to a poke cake means that the vanilla custard permeates the crumb throughout, so every bite is moist and luscious. (And it takes a whole lot less work too.)

Normally a Boston Cream Pie involves a couple of layers, and making a custard, and a chocolate glaze – that’s to say, there’s some substantial effort involved. But we got you. This poke cake uses just a few ingredients and a couple of shortcuts for a sublimely easy cake that has all the flavor of the original.

You start with a box of yellow cake mix and prepare it according to the package instructions. Once it’s baked, you poke it all over with the handle end of a wooden spoon, making sure it’s thoroughly dotted with holes. If you haven’t made a poke cake before, this is what allows the filling to soak down into the cake and flavor every single bite, so poke well!

Our ‘custard’ relies on a quick mixture of instant vanilla pudding and milk and a little extra vanilla extract to up that vanilla flavor a bit. You pour it over the cake and let it hang out in the fridge to settle in while you go put your feet up. (The laundry can wait. Promise.)

Our chocolate glaze is a simple ganache made of chocolate chips and heavy cream that’s poured over the top before it – once again – goes into the fridge for a bit to set up. (Okay, there’s some waiting involved. But all good things are worth waiting for. Grab a book. The laundry can keep waiting.)

All that’s left to do is slice and serve and eat. And that’s the best part.

So why is Boston Cream Pie called ‘pie’ when it’s really a cake? Well, it dates back to a time when pies and cakes were baked in the same kind of pan and the words were used interchangeably. Our version certainly can’t claim that kind of history, but whatever you want to call it, you can be assured that it’s seriously good eatin’.

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