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This Hot Chocolate Poke Cake is filled with fluffy marshmallow filling, a layer of rich fudge and topped with a hot chocolate whipped topping. Finish it off with some mini marshmallows and fudge, and you’ll be in hot cocoa heaven!!! 

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Slice of Hot Cocoa Poke Cake on a wooden board.

Growing up, one of my favorite things to do on the farm in the winter was sled. My three siblings and I would layer up and head straight for the snow!  Though I loved sledding, the best part was coming inside to warm up with a big mug of hot chocolate!

Thinking ahead to snowy winter days and reminiscing on those fun childhood memories was my inspiration for this Hot Chocolate Poke Cake recipe. It’s got all of the aspects of a delicious cup of hot chocolate… in cake form! And let me tell you, it’s DEEEELISH!

Ingredients needed to make a hot chocolate poke cake gathered on a kitchen counter.

Ingredients Needed (Full recipe below)

  • Boxed Cake Mix – You can use a box of chocolate cake mix, Devil’s food cake, dark chocolate cake, etc.  OR you can use my favorite homemade chocolate cake for a moist, delicious base.
  • Marshmallow Fluff 
  • Water
  • Hot Fudge Topping
  • Whipped Topping – AKA Cool Whip; OR, you can use heavy cream to make your own (you’ll need 1 1/2 cups).
  • Packets of Hot Cocoa Mix
  • Garnish – Mallow Bits, mini marshmallows, chocolate sauce, mini chocolate chips and/or chocolate shavings
A slice of hot chocolate poke cake in front of a mug of hot chocolate.

How do you make a Hot Chocolate Poke Cake?

Make the Cake

This recipe starts with a cake mix – easy, right?! Mix the cake mix according to package instructions (using the amounts of vegetable oil, water and eggs as listed on the box).  

Pouring chocolate cake batter into a greased 9x13-inch pan.

Now, if you’re wanting to be an overachiever (or don’t have a cake mix on hand), you could make my homemade chocolate cake recipe instead. Once you’ve made up the cake batter, pour it into a 9 by 13-inch pan and bake.

Using a clear straw to poke holes into a chocolate cake.

Poke Holes and Fill the Cake

Ok, so now you’ve got a warm chocolate cake ready to be amped up a bit! You’re going to poke holes in the cake with the handle of a wooden spoon. 

Mix the marshmallow fluff with water in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave, stirring after each 20-second interval, until thinned out a bit.  The water and the heat will help increase the viscosity of the fluff, making it easier to pour. 

Pouring a marshmallow fluff mixture over a chocolate poke cake.

Slowly pour the fluff over the cake, giving it time to soak into each hole a bit.  Then warm the fudge sauce in the microwave and spread it over the cake. 

Top and Enjoy

Next, stir the packets of hot chocolate mix into the whipped cream and spread it on top of the cake. 

Hot Cocoa Cake topped with whipped cream.

How to Decorate a Hot Cocoa Poke Cake

Once you’ve got the holes filled with the marshmallow fluff and the hot fudge spread on top, the fun begins! My favorite way to fancy up the cake is to spread the whipped topping over the fudge and smooth it out really nice. 

Then, I take the remaining hot fudge (making sure it’s a little warm), and place it in a small resealable baggie. Then, snip off one of the corners of the bag and squeeze the fudge out in horizontal lines across the cake. 

A close up image of the top of the poke cake.

Then, drag a toothpick through the whipped topping and fudge lines (see the photo above). It looks so elegant, yet is so simple! 

Lastly, I’d encourage you to sprinkle the mini marshmallow bits on top of your cake. After all, what’s hot chocolate without the marshmallows?!

A slice of cake on a white wash wooden board.

Does poke cake need to be refrigerated?

Most poke cakes DO need to be refrigerated, because they usually have either a pudding or whipped topping somewhere in the cake. This hot cocoa cake has whipped topping, so it’s necessary to keep it refrigerated.

How long does Hot Chocolate Poke Cake last in the fridge?

I would recommend storing the decadent chocolate cake for up to 3 days in a tightly sealed container.

Bite of hot chocolate poke cake on a fork.

Mini Marshmallow Bits

Can’t find the mini marshmallow bits? Have you looked in your grocery store by the hot cocoa?? Still no luck? No worries. You can either completely skip them from the garnish or sprinkle with mini marshmallows (instead of the bits).

The bits do have a different texture – they’re kind of like the dehydrated crunchy marshmallows in Lucky Charms cereal. Although the crunch is kind of fun in this cake, they do get soft after a few hours, making them your typical soft and chewy marshmallow texture (also delish!).

Other Delicious Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Poke Cake

Cinnamon Roll Cheesecake

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Moist Chocolate Bundt Cake

Hot Chocolate Poke Cake

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
This chocolate cake is filled with fluffy marshmallow filling, a layer of rich fudge and topped with a hot cocoa whipped topping. Finish it off with some mini marshmallows and fudge, and you'll be in hot cocoa heaven!!!


  • 1 box Devil's food cake mix + eggs, oil and water (amount called for on the box)
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup water
  • One 11.5-ounce jar hot fudge topping
  • One 8-ounce container whipped topping thawed
  • Two 1.25-ounce packets instant hot cocoa powder
  • Mallow Bits for garnish


  • Prepare and bake the cake mix as recommended on the box and bake in a 9×13 inch pan.
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes into the cake about every other centimeter into the cake. Be carefully to just push the spoon about 2/3 of the way through the cakes.
  • In a medium sized microwave-safe bowl, add the 2 cups of fluff and 1/4 c water. Heat the mixture in 20 second intervals or until smooth and runny.
  • Pour the fluff mixture over the poke cake slowly, allowing it time to soak down the "pokes" a bit.
  • Next, open the jar of hot fudge sauce and microwave on high for 20-40 seconds, or until smooth and velvety. Reserve about 2 tbsp of the hot fudge for the garnish. Spread the hot fudge over the marshmallow fluff and smooth out on top. Place into the refrigerator to set up.
  • Combine the whipped topping and instant hot chocolate mix. Spread over the cooled cake.
  • Decorate with hot fudge and mini marshmallow bits. Enjoy!


You can opt to make a homemade chocolate cake instead of a box cake, if you wish.


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2.4g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2.6g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 187mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 21g | Vitamin A: 8.9IU | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 1.2mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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An overhead shot of a table filled with slices of poke cake and a mug of hot chocolate.
A fork sitting on a table with a piece of poke cake on it, in front of the slice of cake it came from.

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