Chocolate Salted Caramel Poke Cake is a vision I’ve had in my head for months, but just never got around to testing it out. It’s one of the rare recipes of mine that was PERFECT on the first try, and after all the failed baking attempts I’ve had in my life, that makes this cake feel extra special. I mean, what’s not to love?! It’s a sweet, salty, rich, gooey HOT MESS…and I’m obsessed.
I made this cake based off my Salted Caramel Apple Poke Cake– also an incredible dessert, just more fitting for the Fall, whereas chocolate is good any damn day of the year. But, I’m especially loving it for summer, because the decadent chocolate flavor of the cake pairs perfectly with fresh berries (and whipped cream, too! if you’re feeling a little extra- no judgement here!) Plus- the caramel is buttery and SPOONworthy…. so you might want to make extra for ice cream or just an afternoon sweet treat!
I don’t have much else to say about this Chocolate Salted Caramel Poke Cake except that it is truly a chocolate lover’s dream! Coffee enhances the rich, chocolate flavor, which is then perfectly offset by the sweet and salty caramel drip. While the edges have just the right amount of crisp to them, the center of the cake stays moist and gooey from the sweet sauce. And whether or not you care to omit dairy + eggs from your life, this cake is 100% vegan- making it suitable for *that one friend* who always has special dietary concerns 😉
I hope you enjoy my latest chocolate obsession- be sure to tag me on Instagram (@ellen_whitney) if you give this recipe a try!
- Yield: 8-10
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
Chocolate Salted Caramel Poke Cake
This cake is a chocolate lover’s dream! Coffee enhances the rich, chocolate flavor, which is then perfectly offset by the sweet and salty caramel drip. While the edges have just the right amount of crisp to them, the center of the cake stays moist and gooey from the sweet sauce. Serve it with some fresh berries, and it’s the perfect seasonal treat!
- For the Caramel:
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- For the Cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup cacao powder
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsps baking soda
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup oil - avocado, canola, olive oil all work
- 1 1/2 T vanilla extract
- 2 cups strong brewed coffee
- 2T vinegar - apple cider or white
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
- flakey sea salt (I use Maldon)
For the caramel: (can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge)
- In a medium sauce pan, stir together the coconut milk, syrup, and brown sugar until smooth. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and let boil about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. NOTE: Once it starts boiling, it will continuously foam up and try to spill over. I watch it heavily during this time and pull it off the burner while giving it a stir, every time it is about to spill over. Once 4 minutes has passed, you can turn the heat to low (stirring constantly the first few minutes as the heat subsides) and then let simmer another 40-45 minutes, stirringly every 5-10 minutes until thickened.
- Once the caramel has slightly thickened (don't worry if it still seems thin, it will thicken as the coconut milk sits), stir in the vanilla extract. Then using a sifter or a pasta strainer, sift the powdered sugar into the pan, and stir to combine.
*Sifting is an annoying extra step, but this is how you avoid lumps in your caramel 🙂
NOTE: If making the caramel and the cake the day of, once the boiling stage is over is a good time to preheat the oven and start making the cake for pretty equal timing!
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Combine all the dry ingredients together. Add the apple sauce, oil, vanilla, and coffee, mixing until the batter is just smooth. Add the vinegar and stir for another 15 seconds. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spray a bundt pan thoroughly with non-stick spray. Pour the batter in evenly. Bake 40-47 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes. Put a plate on top of the bundt pan and then flip the pan over so the cake falls on to the plate, flat side down.
- If your caramel is no longer warm, heat in the microwave 1-2 minutes until smooth and hot. Use a skewer to poke holes ALL OVER the cake (tops, outside, and inside). Slowly pour at least 1-cup of the hot caramel over the cake, giving it some time to soak in. You can poke more holes in the cake and keep spooning the caramel over it to your preference, allowing it to slowly absorb. When finished, sprinkle generously with sea salt.
- This cake can be served hot, room temperature, or cold. I recommend serving with any remaining caramel served hot and drizzled over the top!