Everyone has their favorite flavors that they seek out or that are their comfort at any given time of the year and I think I probably speak for a lot of us when I say that peppermint is that wintertime flavor I can’t get enough of. That’s why I decided to make this pretty peppermint poke cake.
For me, this cake just exudes holiday cheer with its bright white topping speckled with vibrant red peppermint candies. And the cake itself has just enough peppermint extract that’s balanced by the creamy mellowness of white chocolate in the pudding and the cake.
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What this cake also has going for it is that it’s so easy to make but comes out so incredibly moist and flavorful. Poke cakes are one of the best ways to get a delicious dessert on the table without spending too much time in the kitchen.
If you’ve been searching for a great recipe that will certainly boost everyone’s holiday spirit, this white chocolate peppermint poke cake is what you’ve been looking for!
Common Questions about Peppermint Poke Cake
Why is it called a poke cake?
Poke cake’s name is derived from the fact that bakers poke holes into the cake to fill them with ingredients (like pudding or cream of coconut) that make the for an extra moist cake with tons of flavor.
What should I use to make holes in my cake?
The handle of a wooden spoon is the most common tool used to make just the right sized holes. However, skewers or other kitchen tools can be used as well.
Should my cake be cooled or hot when I poke the holes?
Let the cake cool only slightly. While it is still somewhat warm poke the holes — this prevents the process from creating too many crumbs which happens if you try to make the holes once the cake has cooled completely.
Making Peppermint Poke Cake Ahead of Time
Poke cakes can be made ahead of time but be sure to poke and fill it before chilling. After that, it can be refrigerated until you are ready to frost it.
Cakes can be refrigerated or frozen though when freezing it’s often best to do so without frosting.
Refrigerator: Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can either cover the serving dish in plastic wrap or store slices in an airtight container.
Freezing: Either wrap the entire cake tightly with plastic wrap or store individual slices in ziploc bags.
Tips For The Best Peppermint Poke Cake
Poke cakes are popular because there’s nearly no way to wind up with a cake that isn’t perfectly moist. However, there are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Poke holes at even distances. Doing this will allow for there to be an even distribution of the filling (in this case, pudding).
- Keep the oven closed. Even though this cake gives some grace since it will be infused with ingredients to make it moist it’s still important to keep an even heating temperature in the oven to get the best results when baking.
- Crushing the candy canes is easy with a few simple tools. Seal the candy canes in a sealed ziploc bag and roll over them multiple times with a rolling pin.
- Be sure to follow the recipe instructions and not the package directions for the cake mix or the pudding.
While you can certainly make your own cake from scratch, this ingredient list, using some store-bought ingredients, makes it a quick and easy recipe.
- White chocolate (melted and cooled to room temperature)
- White cake mix
- Egg whites (room temperature)
- Vegetable oil or canola oil
- Buttermilk or water
- Peppermint extract
- White chocolate pudding mix (instant)
- Whipped topping (thawed)
- Candy canes (crushed)
Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need
There are only a few supplies you’ll need to make a delicious, moist poke cake.
- Baking pan
- Stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer)
- Large bowl
- Small bowl (for melting white chocolate)
- Rubber spatula
- Wooden spoon
How to Make Peppermint Poke Cake
Whether you’re an experienced baker or a novice, you’ll be able to whip this up easily.
- In a small bowl, microwave the white chocolate in intervals until it is melted. Stir after each interval.
- Allow the white chocolate to cool while you prepare the cake.
- In a large bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer) combine the cake mix, egg whites, oil, buttermilk, and peppermint extract.
- Beat the cake mixture on high speed until it is smooth, being careful not to over-mix.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and slowly pour in the melted white chocolate. Continue mixing until it is completely combined.
- Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake the cake until it passes the toothpick test (insert the toothpick into the center and it should come out completely clean when removed).
- Take the cake out of the oven to cool.
- While the cake is coming to room temperature, prepare the pudding.
- Place the instant pudding mix and milk in a large bowl.
- Using a whisk, mix the two ingredients together until completely combined and smooth.
- To poke the holes in the cake, use the end of a wooden spoon. Press the handle of the spoon into the cake multiple times in an even pattern.
- Once all of the little holes have been made, slowly pour pudding mixture into each of them.
- Using a spatula, spread any pudding that is left over the top of the cake
- Using plastic wrap (or a lid), cover the cake and place it in the refrigerator to set.
- Just before serving, use the whipped topping to frost the cake.
- Then, sprinkle top of cake evenly with the candy cane bits.
What to Serve With Peppermint Poke Cake
This seasonal cake can be served with anything you’d typically serve with cake but here are a few suggestions.
- Ice cream – Choose a seasonal variety like peppermint ice cream or just your favorite flavor.
- Hot chocolate – The peppermint flavor of the cake mingles well with a chocolatey cup of hot cocoa.
- Tea – Choose a black or herbal tea or pile on that peppermint flavor with a mint tea.
- Coffee – Make a barista-style brew by crafting some flavored lattes or enjoy your favorite regular or decaf cup of coffee.
- Andes mints – Try adding these as an extra garnish with one on each slice of cake.
Why You Should Make This Recipe
The fact that it’s such a super easy cake recipe makes it a top choice for preparing dessert for a crowd but there are plenty of other reasons to bake this cake for your next gathering.
- Seasonal – The flavor of the peppermint comes through in the cake while the garnish gives off the feeling of holiday cheer.
- Convenient – The ingredients are easy to find if you don’t already have them in your kitchen. Additionally, it’s easy to transport — it’s the perfect dessert to take to a holiday party.
- Cost efficient – Most of the ingredients are fairly low cost so you can put together a delicious dessert without breaking the bank.
- Time saving – Using boxed cake mix and pudding means that you can take extra time to be with friends and family during the holiday season instead of spending all of your time in the kitchen.
Variations and Add-ins
While this is a great base recipe for making a peppermint poke cake there are lots of ways you can change it to suit your taste.
- Pudding flavor – Instead of white chocolate, try another flavor that would work well. I like to substitute cheesecake flavor for white chocolate — you could also use vanilla.
- Extracts – If you’re looking for a different flavor to infuse into the cake, or if you’d prefer to just have the minty flavor on top, choose a different extract. You can use vanilla or any others that you enjoy — just remember that any colored extracts will change the appearance of the white cake.
- Whipped topping – For this, I typically buy the store-bought variety, like Cool Whip, but you can make your own homemade whipped cream, too.
- Cake flavor – Try another flavor of cake mix to change this up. For instance, you can use chocolate cake mix to make a peppermint mocha poke cake.
- Candy canes – Instead of just red and white candy canes, opt for other multi-colored varieties.
- Peppermint chips – You can garnish with these or fold them into your cake batter.
- Peppermint bark – Instead of crushed candy canes try garnishing with pieces of peppermint bark.
More Awesome Peppermint Recipes to Try
If you love this easy Peppermint Poke Cake recipe, you’re going to love these other cake recipes too. Please click each link below to find the easy, printable recipe!
Other Easy Recipes for Poke Cakes
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- 4 oz white chocolate melted and cooled to room temperature
- 15.25 oz white cake mix 1 box
- 4 large egg whites room temperature
- ½ cup vegetable oil or canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk or water
- 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 6.6 oz white chocolate instant pudding 2 boxes – 3.3 oz each – can also use cheesecake flavor
- 3 ½ cups milk
- 16 oz whipped topping thawed
- candy canes crushed for garnish
- Spray a 13×9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray or shortening and then coat lightly with flour. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt the white chocolate and allow it to cool while mixing the cake.
- In a large bowl, beat together cake mix, egg whites, oil, buttermilk, and peppermint extract until smooth.
- Stir in the melted white chocolate until smooth.
- Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Remove and allow the cake to cool to warm temperature.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the pudding and milk until it is completely smooth.
- Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes into the warm cake.
- Slowly pour the pudding mixture into the holes in the cake.
- Smooth the remaining pudding mixture on top of the cake.
- Cover and place it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight to set.
- When you are ready to serve, frost with whipped topping and garnish with crushed candy canes.
- Serve immediately.
- Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate. Please double-check with your own dietary calculator for the best accuracy. We at Taste of the Frontier cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.