Crazy for Crust

Jul 16

Cherry Coke Poke Cake

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This Cherry Coke Poke Cake is full of Cherry Coke Flavor! Chocolate Cake, hot fudge, cherries, and Cherry Coke make this the most decadent poke cake yet!

Cherry Coke Poke Cake by | Cherry Coke flavor in every bite!

Today is my husband’s birthday. He’s celebrating by working and being on this freaky diet where all you eat is chicken, fish, vegetables, and egg whites. I’m celebrating by eating cake.

Not this cake, though. This isn’t his birthday cake – he wouldn’t touch this with a 10-foot pole. I’m picky about dinner, he’s picky about dessert. This has Cool Whip (gag) and cherries (double gag) and a gooey center that would be, I’m sure, in his words, “Too sweet.”

What does that even mean?

Anyway, I’ll be posting his cake next week. It’s gonna be a doozey if it works, and he’s promised me he’ll use one of his cheat meals and have some. {Translation: he’ll eat two bites.} The only reason I mention it’s his birthday, is because, well, it’s his birthday. I can’t let it pass without some sort of recognition. So…everyone, all together…

Happy Birthday Mel!

Okay, back to this cake. This not-his-birthday-cake cake. It’s a poke cake.

I love poke cakes. They’re fun to make because you get to pour a bunch of stuff all over the top, increasing the calories and deliciousness by about 1,000x and it’s perfectly acceptable.

Cherry Coke Poke Cake by | Cherry Coke flavor in every bite!

I found a jar of Cherry Ice Cream Topping in my pantry and wanted to use it up. I brainstormed…what goes with cherry? Chocolate, of course. I decided on a Poke Cake, but then stalled on the flavor. There are so many options (and my BFF Ashton has made about 7,563 of them) and I was stuck on which one to choose.

Then somehow Coke came to mind. I love Coke. Real Coke, especially before “the change” back in the 80s. Even better if it’s in a real bottle. For the longest time I resisted the switch to Diet. Now, I don’t drink soda very often but when I get the urge I just have to have some.

Since I was making a poke cake with cherries, I figured using Cherry Coke would be a great compliment. (If you can’t find a bottle of Cherry Coke, feel free to use regular.)

Before we continue, I guess I should make sure…you know what a poke cake is right? It’s a sheet cake that you poke full of holes while it’s still warm, then pour stuff all over to make it gooey, add some toppings, and then top it all off with Cool Whip.

It’s, like, the best thing ever.

Cherry Coke Poke Cake by | Cherry Coke flavor in every bite!

Let’s talk toppings for this Cherry Coke Poke Cake. The cake is a basic chocolate boxed cake mix. I doctored it by substituting Cherry Coke for the water in the recipe. Once it was baked and cooled for a few minutes, I poked several holes in the top with a wooden spoon.

Then I mixed sweetened condensed milk with some Cherry Coke. And poured it all over the top.

Then I stirred some Cherry Coke into a jar of hot fudge, and spread it all over the top.

Then I spread Cherry Ice Cream Topping all over that.

Then I topped it with Cool Whip and sprinkles.

This cake is insane, really. And so, so good. It’s very (for lack of a better word) moist. It’s quite messy to serve and eat, but that’s okay. That gooeyness makes it good!

Served up with a side of Coke, this cake is coke overload.

Cherry Coke Poke Cake by | Cherry Coke flavor in every bite!

Just like I like it!

Cherry Coke Poke Cake

Cherry Coke Poke Cake


    For the Cake
  • 1 chocolate cake mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups cherry coke
  • (You’ll need almost a full 20 ounce bottle of cherry coke for this recipe.)
  • For the Poke
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup cherry coke, divided
  • 1 jar/pack hot fudge ice cream topping (8-12 ounces, depending on brand)
  • 1 jar cherry ice cream topping (I used Breyer’s)
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip topping (I used fat-free)
  • Sprinkles, if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13” pan with cooking spray.
  2. Add all cake ingredients to a large bowl and mix, according to package directions, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Bake for 23-28 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together sweetened condensed milk and 1/4 cup Cherry Coke.
  4. In another small bowl, heat hot fudge until liquid, but not too hot. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of Cherry Coke.
  5. While cake is still warm, poke several holes in the top using the handle of a wooden spoon.
  6. Pour the sweetened condensed milk mixture evenly over the top, being sure to get it in the holes.
  7. Do the same with the hot fudge mixture.
  8. Let the cake cool completely at room temperature. Spread cherry ice cream topping over the top of the cake. Spread Cool Whip evenly over cake, cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours before serving.
  9. Top with sprinkles before serving, if desired.

Other yummy poke cakes:

Chocolate Mint Poke Cake


Gingerbread Better Than… Poke Cake

Gingerbread Butterscotch Better Than... Poke Cake by Crazy for Crust

Sweets from friends:
Basic Poke Cake by Something Swanky
Milky Way Poke Cake by Chef in Training
Caramel Banana Poke Cake by Six Sisters’ Stuff
Samoas Poke Cake by Will Cook for Smiles


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This post may be linked to: Chef in TrainingLil’ LunaBuns In My OvenChic-and-CraftyI’m Lovin’ it FridaysStrut your Stuff Saturday, Weekend PotluckWeekend Wrap Up PartySundae Scoop Link Partyand all of these too!

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89 Responses to “Cherry Coke Poke Cake”

  1. Lyuba@willcookforsmiles posted on July 16, 2013 at 4:02 pm (#)

    Happy birthday to your hubby! I would die if my husband would go on a diet …there would be no one to eat my food :)
    I’d celebrate with cake too, this one!! It looks divine!
    (Thank you so much for sharing my poke cake too :) )


  2. Jennifer @ Not Your Momma's Cookie posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:02 pm (#)

    Happy Birthday, Mel! I’m kind of thankful for my garbage disposal husband – he helps keep the extra blog food laying around the house to a minimum! :)

    This poke cake looks awesome!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:48 am

      Oh, I wish! Then I wouldn’t eat it all! :)


  3. Heather @ French Press posted on July 16, 2013 at 5:55 pm (#)

    happy happy birthday MEL!! and OMG he’s crazy not to love this cake – the fudgy ooze is calling my name


  4. Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:12 pm (#)

    Ermahgerd, I loooove cherry coke. And poke cakes. And um, everything about this! If Mel won’t touch it, all the more for meeeee!!

    And Happy Birthday Mel!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:44 am

      Well, I should have brought you this cake then! :) Thanks Hayley!


  5. Mom posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:40 pm (#)

    Sounds great! How about a chocolate poke cake made with peanut butter (thinned with condensed milk) for Mel? lol
    Happy birthday to Mel, again!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:43 am

      I bet he’d think that was “too rich”, which is the cousin to “too sweet”. :)


  6. Anne@FromMySweetHeart posted on July 16, 2013 at 6:46 pm (#)

    WoW! This cake is outrageous! I love how you layered cherry coke every where you could! This looks incredibly moist and luscious! Happy birthday to your hubs….but I’m scratching my head on how he would not want a bite of this cake! Looking forward to seeing what you created for him! Beautiful photos, too, Dorothy! : )


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:41 am

      Totally insanely luscious! Thank you Anne!


  7. Tieghan posted on July 16, 2013 at 7:47 pm (#)

    Holy moly!! This fudgy cake looks delicious! Your shots are awesome!
    Happy Birthday to Mel!


  8. Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet posted on July 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm (#)

    I totally need to jump on the whole poke cake band wagon! I seriously need this one!!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:41 am

      I think there needs to be a Poke Cake Day. Then we can all make one for a reason!


  9. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious posted on July 16, 2013 at 7:59 pm (#)

    Wow, wow, wow…send me hubs piece!


  10. Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen posted on July 16, 2013 at 8:44 pm (#)

    I need to get in on this poke cake trend. Chocolate and cherries and cake, who wouldn’t like this? Also, Happy birthday to Mel!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:40 am

      Yes! They are SO good and so easy!


  11. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes posted on July 16, 2013 at 8:57 pm (#)

    Happy Birthday, Mel! I’m all about poke cakes these days – the varieties are endless! This one sounds so good, Dorothy!


  12. Julianne@ Beyond Frosting posted on July 16, 2013 at 11:12 pm (#)

    What a fun poke cake. It’s my favorite type of cake because you can;t really fail! I laughed out loud when you refereed to your husbands “cheat meal” with two bites of birthday cake. I ask my boyfriend to share a cupcake with me, and he says, I guess I can take a bite. OH OK, thanks for the help on that. Geez. haha.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:39 am

      LOL, you understand then. It’s so strange to me…who can just eat one bite??!!


  13. Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:12 am (#)

    Happy Bday to your hubby!!! This cakes looks like a perfect way to celebrate! Love the combo of cherry and chocolate!


  14. Kristin posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:36 am (#)

    Your husband’s self-control baffles me….but Happy Birthday to him!

    The sprinkles make this so pretty!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:35 am

      I know, it drives me insane!! Thanks Kristin!


  15. Jamie @lifelovelemons posted on July 17, 2013 at 5:41 am (#)

    I want to try a poke cake so badly!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 6:34 am

      You totally should, they are SO good and there are so many flavor options!


  16. Wendy posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:47 am (#)

    Though I think your cherry coke flavor combinations are amazing ( how do you think of these things!?), I would be with Mel on this one. I could probably truly enjoy and savor 1 tablespoon of this masterpiece before going into sugar shock. :) Its the texture of poke cakes that I find so appealing, all soft and goey and pudding-like. :)


  17. Kelly @ Mostly Homemade Mom posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:58 am (#)

    What is it with men and desserts? Mine is super picky too, and even when I make something chocolate/peanut buttery he’ll still eat maybe one piece and leave it for me to eat. Nutso!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 18th, 2013 at 6:55 am

      I know. It’s a little insane!


  18. tanya posted on July 17, 2013 at 7:42 am (#)

    Happy birthday to your husband! Can’t wait to see his cake. In the meantime, I’ll drool over this one!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks Tanya! His real one was a doozey!


  19. Cathy Pollak ~ Noble Pig posted on July 17, 2013 at 7:43 am (#)

    Ha-ha, I’ll come help you eat it…we’ll sing to him.


  20. Julie @ Julie's Eats & Treats posted on July 17, 2013 at 8:13 am (#)

    What he doesn’t eat all your treats?! Who does? This is sinful. If you made me a cake I’d an entire piece, well in all reality I’d probably eat the whole thing :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      ME. ME ME and Jordan. And some I pawn off on people. Hence the Sophomore 20… 😉


  21. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking posted on July 17, 2013 at 9:26 am (#)

    Dorothy, this cake looks unreal! Amazing summertime treat!


  22. Ashley posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:08 am (#)

    The Cherry Coke Poke Cake looks beyond amazing! I will be making it – cherry and chocolate are my two favorite things to combine!


  23. Cathy@LemonTreeDwelling posted on July 17, 2013 at 1:00 pm (#)

    Hahaha! I am laughing at the fact that your hubby is on a crazy health diet and you are a DESSERT BLOGGER of all things…. hmmmm….sounds like a form of silent rebellion 😉 Happy birthday to him….can’t wait to see what he “ordered” for his bday cake! :)


  24. NaturesComplete posted on July 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm (#)

    I started reading this and thought “what the heck is a poke cake?”. I opened a new window and asked the internet and all it did was bring up recipes. After page two I decided forget it I will read the blog. To my surprise you answered my question. thank you! Anyway, this sounds divine. I am going to have to make a cake and poke holes in it ;). Yummy yummy!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 7:51 pm

      Yes, you must. And there are SO many flavor combos!


  25. Nessa posted on July 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm (#)

    Happy birthday Mel! This looks fabulous :)


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  27. Sheila @ Sweet Baked Life posted on July 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm (#)

    YUM! Happy b-day to your hubby! Mine too has a very strong dislike for Cool Whip!


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 17th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

      Thanks Sheila! He has a strong dislike for almost anything!


  28. Jen Nikolaus posted on July 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm (#)

    I am drooling on my computer keyboard. This looks beyond delicious. I am SO making this!!!


  29. Deborah posted on July 17, 2013 at 11:07 pm (#)

    I’m seriously dying over this. I think this may be the best poke cake out there!


  30. Kathy posted on July 18, 2013 at 6:53 am (#)

    What a great idea for a poke cake! Cherry coke is so delicious! I’m always so excited when we go to a restaurant that serves it!


  31. Melissa Vanni posted on July 18, 2013 at 11:23 am (#)

    Cherry Coke is my favorite, and this cake looks pretty amazing!


  32. Julie @ This Gal Cooks posted on July 18, 2013 at 11:44 am (#)

    OMW. This is like the raddist cake ever! I love cherry coke. This just looks wonderful, Dorothy. Pinned!


  33. etti posted on July 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm (#)

    I’m making the cake right now and planning on serving Saturday. As this is my first poke cake, if like to ask you, should I put it together in the morning, a few hours before I need it ? I’m thinking it ends up sludgy after a day…. am I wrong ? I seriously love your blog and emails. You rock it, sister….lol


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 18th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      Thank you!! You’re so sweet. I actually like the poke cakes best after it’s had some time to sit (even overnight). But it is a very moist cake because of all the liquid, so if you’d rather, I would say make it in the morning for the afternoon. It’s best if it’s cool completely before you add the cool whip – or it’ll melt. :) Enjoy!


  34. Amy posted on July 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm (#)

    My guy and I never agree on desserts either! He sticks to candy and the occasional Oreos, while I’m in love with chocolate (his worst nightmare) and ooey-gooey-moist-and-sweet desserts. I wouldn’t have to fight him off for any of your cake; it’s right up my alley! (Okay, maybe he’d try a bite… Just because he drinks Coke every day.)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 19th, 2013 at 9:20 am

      More for you! What is it with men? LOL :)


  35. Pingback: July 17, 2013 | Mommy plus 5

  36. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes posted on July 18, 2013 at 10:41 pm (#)

    I’m pinning this! I want to try it so bad! I love cherry coke :)


    • Dorothy Kern replied on July 19th, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Thanks so much for the pin!


  37. Lindsay @ Life, Love and Sugar posted on July 19, 2013 at 6:01 am (#)

    This looks awesome! My husband is the same – the words “too sweet” exist for him, not for me. :) However, he might make an exception for this – he’s a huge cherry coke fan! What a great idea! Yummy!


  38. Cheryl Benjamin posted on August 6, 2013 at 3:44 am (#)

    Can I use just cake mix instead of chocolate cake mix?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on August 6th, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      Yes! Any flavor would work, well, ones that would go with cherry. Vanilla would be awesome!


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  42. Gwen posted on November 17, 2013 at 8:35 pm (#)


    This recipe sounds awesome. I usually make dessert for 125+ kids for our youth group on Friday nights and I was wondering if I could make this without the hot fudge and the ice cream topping? If I can, how would you adjust the recipe? Thanks so much.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on November 18th, 2013 at 6:54 am

      The beauty of a poke cake is you can kind of do whatever you want! The hot fudge and Cool Whip give it a finish, but you can leave those off and just poke the holes in the cake and use the coke/sweetened condensed milk. It would still be good. Maybe even serve it with a side of whipped cream or Cool Whip if the kids want it! :)


  43. Brittanr posted on January 21, 2014 at 7:59 pm (#)

    Do you place it in the freezer or fridge to chill???


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 22nd, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      In the fridge! You can do freezer in a pinch, but fridge is best. This is better the next day!


  44. mechaniswifey209 posted on March 30, 2014 at 5:19 pm (#)

    Omg, could I just say I could eat myself into a food coma with this cake. This is so delicious. Its a must try . Thsnks for sharing


  45. Bailey posted on June 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm (#)

    I was trying to figure out wake to bake for my boyfriends birthday and I had it down to two cakes. My one real hesitance on making this one is that there is no reviews about someone else making it so I was very worried it would come out bad. I ended up picking this one and because of my frustration I will review it!
    THIS WAS A GOD SEND!! it was unbelievable!!! My boyfriend and I ate the whole thing because we weren’t will to share it with anyone!! We have never done that before and we are calorie counters! This was just so amazing! It was a poke cake and had the soda in and and it just soaked it all up and was moist but still easy to cut and not messy! I would and have suggested it to anyone for any special occasion!
    Truly worth the calories!


  46. ami@NaiveCookCooks posted on July 24, 2014 at 6:08 pm (#)

    Wow cherry coke poke cake??!!! This looks crazy delicious!!


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  49. Liz Wyatt posted on December 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm (#)

    I made the cake with a gluten free cake mix as I have a gluten allergy, and it worked quite well. Took it to a church pot luck and it was devoured and no one knew it was gluten free. So many compliments.


    • Dorothy Kern replied on December 4th, 2014 at 6:36 am

      I’m so glad it worked with a GF mix! Thanks for letting me know liz!


  50. leann posted on January 13, 2015 at 4:54 pm (#)

    Do you know how many calories are in this? Or a rough estimate for a piece?


    • Dorothy Kern replied on January 13th, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      I’m sorry, I don’t! It’s cake. I kind of don’t want to know!


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