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

Salted caramel poke cake

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(14 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
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  • 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. While cow…

For the salted caramel sauce

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



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

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

For the cream cheese caramel icing

  • 75g butter



    Butter is made when lactic-acid producing bacteria are added to cream and churned to make an…

  • 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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Joshua Smith's picture
Joshua Smith
28th Jun, 2018
Right listen BBC it was a good recipe so all yall haters I dab on u u sheet a baking
1st Apr, 2018
I was a bit unsure about the amount of fat to sugar, and as others have said it doesn't work. But I also was shocked to see 240ml Milk, I used 1/2 this amount and the cake just wouldn't cook in the middle. So I'm very disappointed, the outcome wasn't good at all.
15th Mar, 2018
Agree with previous comments that the caramel sauce was a disaster (binned) so like others, reverted to GF salted caramel sauce recipe. Also noted icing sugar issue and did not need to add second half. But overall cake received positively by family, especially teenagers, who voted it a “keeper” (hence 3 stars)
26th Nov, 2017
Cake was good but next time will use 1 teaspoon of salt for the caramel sauce - just too salty!!
12th Nov, 2017
Tempted to send the BBC a bill for wasted ingredients! Smelt burning after about five minutes in the oven and found the batter had leaked out of the tins and was burning. Threw the lot away.
13th Nov, 2017
How is that goodfoods fault? Line your tin! Lol
4th Oct, 2017
What a disastrous recipe! I have made countless things from the goodfood magazines and website, but this is the worst one so far. I had seen the previous comments but after seeing that goodfood has "tweaked" the recipe I thought it would be fine. How wrong I was! The cakes seem to be okay but the caramel sauce is a disaster. I ended up throwing it away and making a fresh one using the goodfood salted caramel sauce recipe (which was perfect). This recipe has 1 TABLESPOON of salt in the sauce, that one has half a teaspoon. I put closer to a tablespoon because I thought it may need the extra as it's being stirred into the cream cheese but I was wrong. 1 teaspoon would have been more than enough. I don' know how the testers in the goodfood kitchen got this right because I will never make it again the way it is currently!
goodfoodteam's picture
25th Jul, 2017
Thanks for all your comments, sorry to hear this didn’t work as you’d hoped. We have retested the recipe and made some tweaks to the method that should address the problems you had. All the best, The Good Food team
19th Jul, 2017
At first I thought the proportion of butter to sugars was a mistake however I stuck to the recipe not sure what to expect. I was pleased with the cake texture and flavour. The caramel sauce nearly ruined my pan! Next time I'm going to melt the butter and sugar gently and then add the cream and vanilla. The cream cheese topping I fell out with as I considered it to be far too much icing sugar. I used a tried and trusted recipe 100 g butter, 100 g icing sugar and 200 g cream cheese ( with the addition of the caramel sauce) The outcome was perfect in texture and balance of flavours.
15th Jul, 2017
I'm not sure this recipe is right at all. How are you going to cream 110g of butter successfully into 375g of sugar? I tried it and it was never going to work, used 250g butter in the end! I would like to know if others found this?


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.