The poke cake filling is made with three different kinds of milk AND hot chocolate powder.
Whipped cream base frosting with peppermint extract, hot chocolate powder, and powdered sugar.
Topped with dehydrated marshmallows, sprinkles, and peppermint pieces for a fun dessert the whole family is going to love!
Tips for Making Peppermint Hot Chocolate Poke Cake
The cake itself is a little drier and less sweet on its own because it’s intended to be a poke cake and will get a lot of moisture and sweetness from the filling.
Coffee intensifies the flavor of the chocolate in this cake but hot water can be used for those who don’t have coffee on hand or prefer not to use it.
It’s SUPER important for the milk and eggs to be room temperature when adding to the batter for this recipe so that the cake bakes up light and fluffy. This gives the cake the opportunity to absorb all of the filling.
If you aren’t a big peppermint fan, you can make a hot chocolate cake and just leave the peppermint extract and candy out without making any other changes.
When you pour the filling over the cake it will look like you have too much, but I promise it will all absorb!
Tips for Making Peppermint Chocolate Frosting
Because the frosting is whipped cream based it has a lot more moisture in it than a traditional buttercream so I highly recommend you don’t add the toppings until right before serving.
Buttercream frosting can be used in place of whipped cream, especially a good idea if you are making well in advance.
Stand mixers work best for mixing frosting so that it is light and fluffy. If you have a high powered hand mixer you can use that as well, but a stand mixer is best.
How to Store Poke Cake
Because this cake has so much milk in it, it’s important to store it in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days. You can also freeze it for up to 2 months.
Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and grease a 9×13-inch cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
Add eggs, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add in the hot espresso or coffee and mix until combined. The batter will be thin.
Pour the batter into the prepared 9×13-inch pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over it with a skewer.
Whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, half & half, and hot chocolate mix in a medium bowl and then pour it over the top of the warm cake and allow it to sit for 1 hour at room temperature before frosting.
Prepare the frosting by adding the heavy cream, hot chocolate mix, sugar, vanilla, and peppermint to a large bowl or stand mixer and beating on medium-high speed thick and creamy. About 1 to 2 minutes.
Spread the frosting evenly over the cake and top with marshmallows, sprinkles, and Peppermint pieces.