Salted caramel poke cake on a white plate, with one slice cut

Salted caramel poke cake

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(29 ratings)

Prep: 40 mins Cook: 30 mins

More effort

Serves 12

This poke cake has the wow factor with holes in the sponge that ensure every bite is drenched in caramel. Finish with cream cheese frosting and more caramel

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal642
  • fat30g
  • saturates19g
  • carbs86g
  • sugars70g
  • fibre1g
  • protein6g
  • salt1.8g


  • 110g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 150g firm dark brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
    Baking powder

    Baking powder

    bay-king pow-dah

    Baking powder is a raising agent that is commonly used in cake-making. It is made from an alkali…

  • 240ml milk



    One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a 'complete' food…

For the salted caramel sauce

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 90g butter, cubed & softened at room temperature



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 120ml double cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes, crushed

For the cream cheese caramel icing

  • 75g butter



    Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…

  • 250g icing sugar
  • 225g cream cheese


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160 fan/gas mark 4 and line 2 x 20cm sandwich cake tins. In a bowl or freestanding mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until the whole mixture is really aerated (if your mixture looks like it might be splitting, add a little of your flour). Add the vanilla, then mix in the flour and baking powder, alternating with the milk. Divide the mixture between the tins and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the top and edges are golden brown and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in tins for 10 minutes before flipping onto a wire cooling rack and peeling off the baking parchment. Allow to cool.

  2. Make the salted caramel sauce by heating the sugar in a medium saucepan over a low to medium heat. Resist the temptation to stir. Instead, when it starts to melt, gently swirl the pan. Cook until amber in colour – this will take 5-6 mins. Remove from the heat and add all the butter. The mixture will bubble up, but let it melt completely before stirring. Slowly pour in the cream and add the sea salt, put back on a gentle heat and warm until it's a smooth sauce. Pour into a jug and leave to cool to room temperature.

  3. To make the cream cheese caramel icing: cream the butter with a freestanding mixer or in a bowl until light and creamy, slowly adding in half of the sifted icing sugar in parts until fully incorporated and fluffy. Add the cream cheese, 100g of the salted caramel sauce and the remaining icing sugar, then whisk until pale and smooth. Keep in the fridge until needed.

  4. Once the cakes are cooled, move them to a flat surface and use a large skewer or thick straw to poke holes across the top of the cakes, being careful not to poke all the way through! Drizzle most of the remaining caramel sauce (reserving some for decoration) into the holes in the cake layers, topping up as they sink in, then spread any overspill across the cake layer. Leave to cool completely.

  5. To assemble, carefully place one layer onto a serving plate and cover with half of the cream cheese frosting. Repeat with the next layer, then use the remaining caramel to create a marbled pattern on top of the cake.

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Comments, questions and tips

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12th Jun, 2020
The caramel sauce recipe and butter cream recipe are very good. I also like the idea of the cake. However, the sponge cake recipe is not good; the sugar content is way too high which results in a sticky sponge. I would recommend making a normal sponge and then only using the recipe for the butter cream and caramel sauce.
4th Feb, 2020
WARNING! THIS IS A DISASTER! I have always been very happy with recipes on this site so, foolishly did not read the reviews, or do a trial run. Made double quantity for 2 different events. Was very worried about consistency of mixture and only put in half of the milk; it would have been soup if I had put it all in. Cakes dripped all down the sides of the tins and the floor of the oven like volcanic lava. I had to cut them out of the tins and they are now sunk in the middle and have a very odd crust on the top. VERY DISAPPOINTED.
10th Dec, 2019
I was a bit uncertain about the cake mixture - plain flour and quite a lot of sugar - however, I followed the recipe but put much less sugar in the cream cheese mixture as a counterbalance. I made one third again of the ingredients because I was making a large cake for a party. It was quite difficult to handle because of the size but it was a triumph. Gone within 15 minutes and not a crumb left.
Alan Penn-Berkeley's picture
Alan Penn-Berkeley
6th Jun, 2019
Temp is way too high, the top hardened and not baked inside. Lowered the temp to bake the cake and will cut the top layer off.
annepgillbard's picture
28th Apr, 2019
I followed the recipe to the letter and i am pleased to say the cake turned out very well. I might be tempted to tweak the recipe next time perhaps using self-raising flour and baking powder to get a better rise. I made it as a Birthday cake for my french neighbours and was able to create a nice marble effect on top and they loved it and said it was “vraiment super” and “délicieux” .
Rachel Walker's picture
Rachel Walker
27th Apr, 2019
Absolute disaster of a cake. Totally wrong quantities to make a cake. The mixture looks like soup and it does not rise and is a very dense wet 'cake' but you can't really call it a cake. Do not make this!
11th Apr, 2019
This cake is fine if you double the butter and add an extra egg. I also just used self raising flour and took someone’s advice to use a different salted caramel sauce recipe.
Joanne Evans's picture
Joanne Evans
15th Feb, 2019
Oh my god - please don’t use this recipe My son wanted a caramel cake for his 26th birthday / after creating the mix it was like soup - after cooking for the allotted time - and trying to make the sauce ( burned sugar) it was a disaster - it turned out a mess - too salty - too uncooked - and you say you’ve tweeted it. !!
5th Dec, 2018
I wish I'd read the reviews first as it would have saved me wasting my money and stopped me reaching for the wine! Every element of this recipe is wrong. The sponge took 50 minutes, not 25-30 minutes, and was extremely runny, although it did taste quite nice. The caramel sauce turned absolutely solid and after adding the cream I stood and stirred it for 30 minutes until it supposedly became smooth, but it never did and just resembled gritty cement . I ended up throwing it away and driving to M & S to buy a ready made salted caramel sauce. The cream cheese caramel icing was just a joke! It was never going to look or behave like butter icing - I put it in the fridge, eventually added another 50% of icing sugar and slung it between the sponges and on the top of them and hoped for the best. That didn't work as whilst driving it to my daughters the top slid off the bottom! This cake was supposed to replicate my daughters wedding cake last year and was such a disaster and disappointment - unlike their marriage. So we had a glass of champagne and ceremoniously slung it in the bin.
Holly R
20th Nov, 2018
This cake turned out really well for me! My husband loved it! Apart from it took three attempts to make caramel as it kept burning, I just don't think I'm good at making caramel.


Natalie Clark
24th Sep, 2019
I want to try to bake this tomorrow but am concerned about the quantity of milk in the cake recipe, and not enough butter - mainly sugar really! Is that correct?
25th Aug, 2017
The sponge turned out very dense and almost rubbery (the sauce and topping were fine), I've had this problem once before when I've used brown sugar or golden caster sugar - what went wrong? It tasted good, but the texture was off putting. Normally my sponge cakes are always fine, is it a brown sugar problem? Thanks for any help.
goodfoodteam's picture
28th Aug, 2017
We're sorry to hear your cake didn't turn out well. Cakes can become dense if they are over-beaten once the flour is added. We'd suggest mixing it only until just combined and not beyond that. Hope that helps in future.
22nd Jun, 2017
Suggest adding 75ml of water to the granulated sugar. There is far less chance of burning the sugar. These recipes should also advocate the use of sugar thermometer. I would also suggest that you take this up to caramel stage given it is a caramel recipe! Be wary that the last 10 degrees to reach caramel can happen in seconds as the water evaporates - best to take it off the heat a few degrees before hand as the temperature will keep on rising and you can easily burn it.
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