Gingerbread Poke Cake


A Gingerbread Poke Cake is the perfect Christmas cake recipe! Gingerbread cake is filled with butterscotch and gingersnaps and topped with whipped cream and toffee bits. It’s the perfect holiday dessert.

Poke cakes are easy to make and super versatile, plus they’re easy to travel with, so they’re the perfect potluck dessert recipe. Serve this gingerbread version at your holiday party and wow your guests with Christmas flavor!


A Gingerbread Poke Cake slice on white plate with gold dots and fork and christmas napkin

Let’s talk Christmas shopping for a minute, shall we? Actually, let’s talk about outrageous Christmas gift prices instead. That’s more fun!

Jordan has an few American Girl Dolls. Now that she’s 12, the dolls are out in the garage collecting dust, which makes me happy and sad at the same time. Sad because it means she’s growing up and happy because I don’t have to pay exorbitant prices for doll clothes anymore. However, even though she’s aged out of the dolls, we still receive the catalogue, like clockwork. Have you seen the Christmas catalogue yet?

{If not, or if your child is 3 and has not ever heard of American Girl, do not, I repeat, DO NOT give her the catalogue. You have been warned.}

Most of Jordan’s doll accessories were been purchased at Target or other store that carries cheaper but just-as-good doll stuff. She had a couple of “brand name” items, but not many.

In case you think I’ve gone off my rocker writing a post about a doll catalogue, let me give you some examples:

They sell a convertible toy VW Beetle for dolls. I say toy in case you get confused, because it costs $350. FOR A TOY CAR.

I was flipping through the other night and I almost choked on my slice of cake, I kid you not.

Also? A doll banquet table with a selection of (plastic) doll cakes and pastries sells for $152. So, ladies. If you’re selling your baked goods this holiday season, be sure to charge accordingly. Because American Girl is selling a layer cake, some cupcakes, and a plate of cookies for, like, three times what you’re charging.

And, the best one. A gingerbread house kit for dolls. It’s comes mostly assembled because, well, the dolls don’t have opposable thumbs. Guess how much? Yup. $58. Totally reasonable!

A Gingerbread Poke Cake slice on white plate with gold dots and fork and christmas napkin

You know what? I always wanted to buy the stuff, because Jordan wanted it. Sometimes I really wish I could have forked over $75 for a doll tent, but you know, I have to buy Oreos and pay for gas.

So, instead of spending $38 for a doll comforter, I enlisted my mom to sew one and made Jordan cookies and cake instead.

Poke cakes are not new. They’re all over, and I’ve made a few versions: mint, ice cream, and Snickers. My friend Ashton has made my two favorites: pumpkin and peppermint. I had to join the party with one of my favorite Holiday flavors: gingerbread.

So, what is a poke cake? It’s a cake that you poke holes in after it’s baked. Then you pour gooey stuff all over it and top it with crunchy things and Cool Whip. It’s the perfect easy cake recipe and I’ve never met one I didn’t like.

Poke Cake Formula:

  1. Pick a flavor cake mix. I used a gingerbread cake & cookie mix made by Betty Crocker. Any gingerbread cake mix or recipe will work. Make as directed on the box, then bake in a 9×9 or 9×13″ pan.
  2. While the cake is hot from the oven, poke lots of holes in it using the back of a wooden spoon.
  3. Pour on some gooey stuff, like sweetened condensed milk or ice cream topping. For this gingerbread poke, I used butterscotch ice cream topping. (Thanks for the combo idea Sally!)
  4. Add something crunchy for texture, like crushed cookies or nuts. (I used crushed gingersnap cookies to amp up the gingerbread flavor.)
  5. Top with whipped cream or Cool Whip and more toppings (like more cookies or nuts or candy). I topped this cake with toffee bits because…why not?

Poke cakes are great for parties and they’re SO easy. This time of year we need easy recipes, right? Nothing to layer, nothing to frost, no frosting to make: poke cakes are what the Christmas season was meant for. Plus, they travel well because they’re not a fussy cake. They’re the perfect pot luck cake recipe!

Gingerbread Poke Cake with butterscotch and toffee cake with slice missing

A Gingerbread Poke Cake is an easy Christmas Dessert Recipe filled with butterscotch and toffee and gingersnaps, perfect for the holidays.

Also – you can make this ahead by a day or even 2. It tastes better the longer it soaks!

Gingerbread Poke Cake

This Gingerbread Cake is poked and filled with butterscotch and topped with toffee – it's a fantastic easy holiday dessert!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 10 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 Gingerbread Cake Mix (14.5 oz; Betty Crocker has one), plus ingredients listed to make the cake
  • 7 ounces (half a 14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 jar (or thereabouts) Butterscotch ice cream topping
  • 4-8 ounces Cool Whip (about half to a full container, depending on preference)
  • 1 cup toffee bits


  • Make cake as directed on the back of the box. (I used a 9×9 square pan.) Let cool for 20 minutes.
  • Poke the cake with the back of a wooden spoon at least 15 times. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the cake, making sure that it gets in the holes. (I warmed mine up in the microwave for a few seconds to make it more pourable.) Pour the butterscotch ice cream topping over the top of the cake, making sure it gets in the holes also.
  • Top the cake with an even layer of Cool Whip (use at least half the container, more if you like lots!) Sprinkle with toffee bits.
  • Chill for 4-6 hours for flavors to meld. Best served at room temperature.

Recipe Notes

If you like extra crunch, use an extra cup of toffee bits and sprinkle them on top the cake before adding the Cool Whip.
If you can’t find gingerbread cake mix, you can use spice cake mix. That usually makes a 9×13 pan size cake. In that case, double the sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch, cool whip and toffee bits.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 439kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 274mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 52g | Vitamin A: 345IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cake, gingerbread

Like Gingerbread? Check out these other yummy treats with the classic holiday flavor:

Gingerbread Cake Roll

Gingerbread Cookie Sticks

Also try: Gingerbread Cookie Dough TrufflesGingerbread 7-layer Bars by Something Swanky, and Gingerbread Cinnamon Rolls by Love From The Oven!

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52 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. Can you double this recipe for a 9 x13 pan or stick with the original and make two 9 x9 pans to serve more people???

  2. Making this tonight to take to Christmas dinner. I couldn’t find any gingerbread cake mix though — I’m going to try a spice cake instead. Thanks for the recipe!! Can’t wait to taste it.

  3. Holy moly, I gotta make this cake! I only have boys so I’m not browsing the Am. Girl catalog too often, I have to agree with you. Too much money and what’s the difference in the accessories?

  4. First, I came over for the cake! My mother is going to LOVE this – she really enjoys gingerbread but as she gets older, it has become “biting” or “too hot” – your ingredients will soften that and make it enjoyable once again for her. I’m going to make it this weekend for sure!

    As for American Girl – Those dolls were just coming out when my daughter was 8 or 9 and she too wanted one, mostly because that doll looked exactly like her (which was kind of scary). I was a single mom at the time and had no extra $$ for an expensive doll. So, I took a picture of one to a Kinko’s along with some fabric that was an approximation of skin color – I had the face copied onto the material and then my mom and I bought a doll body, wig, the glasses, and mom made some pretty close clothes. It looks VERY close to the real one and we told her that it was custom made just for her. I made up a birth certificate like on Cabbage Patch dolls and she didn’t know the difference until she was about 14. She loved the doll and still has it. Just a thought for you to consider if you know someone who can sew.

    1. Thank goodness my mom can! She makes all sorts of clothes and things for the doll. Which is good, because even the stuff at Kohl’s has gotten outrageous!

  5. I’m so thankful my girls never got into the American Girl Dolls, just outa my price range and considering what they do to a barbie doll, I’d have to keep the poor doll under lock and key instead of letting them enjoy playing with it like they should! Poke cake seems like a fair exchange to me!

  6. Some days I wish I had a little girl. But after reading your post today is not one of them. 😉 I’ve heard friends complain about the price of AG doll clothes but seriously I think I almost choked as well when I read about the 350$ car. I bought my boys a car they can actually drive for 1/3 that!

    Also poke cake is delicious. My favorite is coconut!