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Apple Spice Poke Cake

This incredibly moist and delicious Apple Spice Poke Cake is a fantastic fall dessert for a party or harvest festival! It uses a spice cake mix for the base and then is topped with a caramel glaze, fresh whipped cream, and finished off with super simple spiced apples.

A slice of apple spice poke cake on a green plate

I’ve learned that cakes like Nutella Poke Cake or Easy Carrot Sheet Cake bring out the happiness in people! As Julia Child said “a party without cake is just a meeting.”

They are simple to make but taste like they are made from scratch. Plus, they are an ideal make ahead dessert since the longer they sit the better they taste.

Ingredients

Shopping list:

  • spice cake mix
  • butter
  • milk
  • eggs
  • apples
  • caramel sauce
  • sweetened condensed milk
  • heavy whipping cream

Pantry staples:

  • brown sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • kosher salt
  • apple pie spice
  • cornstarch
  • powdered sugar
The apple spice poke cake with a slice missing

Substitutions

When starting with a box cake mix, I always use milk instead of the water and melted butter instead of the oil. It won’t be dire if you don’t but I have found the cakes always taste a but better when I do.

Also, although I choose to make my own whipped cream and spiced apples for this cake if you don’t want to- don’t!

To make this even easier to prepare:

  • Swap the whipped cream for Cool Whip
  • Swap spiced apples for apple pie filling
Collage of the cake poked with glaze and then topped with whipped cream

Instructions

To make the spice cake

  • Make the cake according to the package directions replacing the water with milk and the oil with butter.  Bake according to the directions on the package.
  • Mix the sweetened condensed milk and the caramel together until well blended. Set aside.
  • Once the cake is cooked, allow it to cool for 5 minutes.  Poke holes with a skewer or fork and then pour the caramel glaze over the cake.  Place cake in fridge.
collage showing whipped cream on the left and spiced apples on the right

To make whipped cream

  • In a stand mixer, take the heavy cream straight from the fridge and pour it into the stand mixer bowl. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and whip on medium high speed until the mixture has soft peaks.

To make the spiced apples

  • Add butter to a large pan over medium heat.  Once the butter has melted, add apple slices and cook for 5 minutes to soften the apples.
  • Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, apple pie spice and kosher salt to the apples and stir to combine.  Continue to cook over medium heat until apples are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the apple mixture.
  • Once the apples are soft, turn up the heat to medium high and cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken the syrup. The apples and syrup will be ready once it reaches the same consistency as maple syrup.  Allow to cool.

Apple spice poke cake next to bags of sugar and apples

To assemble the cake

  • Spread whipped cream (see instructions below) over the top of the cake. 
  • Add the spiced apples (also see instructions below) over the whipped cream. 
  • Chill for 3 hours before serving.

Top Tips

  • Poke holes in the cake using a chopstick, fork, or wooden skewer. This is a fun task for kids!
  • If you are making this with kids, especially younger children, use Cool Whip and apple pie filling to reduce the overall prep time. Read my guide to find other tips for cooking with kids
  • The cake is best made a day ahead so it has plenty of time to chill.
  • Store any leftovers of the cake covered for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.
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Recipe

A slice of apple spice poke cake on a green plate next to the cake pan and two apples

Apple Spice Poke Cake

Apple Spice Poke Cake is a semi homemade cake with a spice cake base, caramel glaze, fresh whipped cream, and topped with super simple spiced apples.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Chill time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 55 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 309kcal
Author: Jade Jones

Ingredients

FOR THE SPICE CAKE:

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1/2 cup butter or amount of the oil called for on box
  • 1 cup milk or amount of the water called for on box
  • 3 eggs or number of eggs called for on box

FOR THE SPICED APPLES:

  • 3 Tablespoon butter
  • 5 apples sliced into thin wedges
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 Tablespoon apple pie spice
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch

FOR THE CARAMEL GLAZE:

  • 1/2 cup jarred caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

TO MAKE THE SPICE CAKE

  • Make the cake according to the package directions replacing the water with milk and the oil with butter. Bake according to the directions on the package.
  • Meanwhile, mix the sweetened condensed milk and the caramel together until well blended. Set aside the caramel glaze.
  • Once the cake is cooked, allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Poke holes with a skewer or fork and then pour the caramel glaze over the cake. Place cake in fridge.

TO MAKE WHIPPED CREAM

  • In a stand mixer, take the heavy cream straight from the fridge and pour it into the stand mixer bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar and whip on medium high speed until the mixture has soft peaks.
  • Set aside and keep refrigerated.

TO MAKE THE SPICED APPLES

  • Add butter to a large pan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add apple slices and cook for 5 minutes to soften the apples.
  • Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, apple pie spice and kosher salt to the apples and stir to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat until apples are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the apple mixture.
  • Once the apples are soft, turn up the heat to medium high and cook for 2-3 minutes to thicken the syrup. The apples and syrup will be ready once it reaches the same consistency as maple syrup. Allow to cool completely.

TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

  • Spread whipped cream over the chilled caramel glaze soaked cake.
  • Add the cooled spiced apples over the whipped cream.
  • Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers covered for up to 3 to 4 days.

Notes

When starting with a box cake mix, I always use milk instead of the water and melted butter instead of the oil.
Poke holes in the cake using a chopstick, fork, or wooden skewer. This is a fun task for kids.
Before pouring the glaze on the cake, let it sit for 4-5 minutes. You want the cake to be warm but not right out of the oven hot.
The cake is best made a day ahead so it has plenty of time to chill. 
To make this even easier to prepare:
  • Swap the whipped cream for Cool Whip
  • Swap spiced apples for apple pie filling

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 276mg | Potassium: 210mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 475IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 1mg
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