Eggnog Poke Cake is a simple sheet cake filled with rich eggnog cream and topped with fluffy whipped topping and a dusting of grated nutmeg.
Who doesn't love a classic holiday treat like eggnog? With a few simple ingredients, you can make this delicious blend of eggnog flavored cake filled with a rich eggnog filling and topped with fluffy whipped topping. It is eggnog heaven in a cake!
Wow your friends and family this holiday season with this easy twist on a holiday classic. This festive cake with layers of rich eggnog flavor is incredibly easy to make.
So, grab a cup of eggnog and let’s get baking!
What Is a Poke Cake?
A poke cake is a variation of a filled cake. Instead of layers of cake with a filling between them, a poke cake has pockets of gelatin, custard, or pudding spaced throughout the crumb of the cake. The cake is then often frosted with whipped topping or whipped cream.
Poke cakes first appeared in the 1970s and were recipes advertising Jell-O products to make a dessert featuring a boxed cake mix, Jell-O gelatin or pudding, and Cool Whip or Dream Whip Toppings. These desserts were a modern take on the traditional filled layer cake and were both easy to make and crowd-pleasing.
Why We Love this Eggnog Poke Cake
- Has Eggnog in the Cake and the Filling!
- Has Just 8 Ingredients Plus Water.
- Super Quick and Easy to Make.
- Serves a Crowd with up to 16 Servings.
- Can Also Be Made Without Alcohol.
About This Recipe
My husband loves eggnog and if there is one flavor that says Christmas, it is also eggnog. So making a poke cake with the flavors of eggnog and rum was an easy stretch of the imagination.
This cake begins simply with a boxed vanilla cake mix. When making the cake batter I swap out some of the water for eggnog and also add ground nutmeg.
The creamy eggnog filling is made with vanilla pudding mix. Eggnog and spiced rum is used instead of milk and I use less liquid to make it thick and rich. Lastly, the topping is simply thawed frozen topping (Cool Whip) and a generous sprinkling of freshly ground nutmeg.
The hands-on prep is only about 25 minutes total with the rest of the prep time being baking and chilling. This is one festive dessert that won't have you frantically rushing to get it done. It can easily be made in between package wrapping and other holiday cooking.
The last big plus is that this dessert easily serves 12 to 16 which makes it great for buffets and pot-lucks.
My husband's comment when he had his first slice was that it tasted just like his grandma's eggnog. For me that is the best compliment ever and I know I will be making this Eggnog Poke Cake every year for the Holidays.
So, let's cook!
Here's what you need:
- Vanilla Cake Mix - Use any vanilla cake mix as long as it is a 13.25-ounce mix. You can use plain vanilla or French Vanilla.
- Large Eggs - This recipe requires large eggs. For the proper proportion of eggs to cake mix, do not substitute a different-sized egg.
- Eggnog - You can use either homemade or store-bought eggnog. You will need 1 quart.
- Vegetable Oil - Choose a neutral-flavored cooking oil to let the eggnog flavor shine.
- Freshly Ground Nutmeg - Freshly ground nutmeg has the best flavor and aroma. But you can use pre-ground nutmeg in this recipe.
- Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix - You will need 2 boxes or vanilla instant pudding, 3.4 ounces each. Both vanilla and French vanilla taste delicious in this recipe.
- Spiced Rum - This eggnog cake is extra delicious when made with spiced rum. My favorite is Captain Morgan Private Stock but you can use your favorite. You can also use brandy if you prefer it over spiced rum.
- Whipped Topping - I use Cool Whip, but you can use your favorite whipped topping or stabilized whipped cream. For this recipe, you will need an 8-ounce container which is 3 cups.
- Cold Water - Just plain cold water is also needed to mix the cake. (not shown)
Please see the recipe card for the exact quantities.
Preheat and Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Spray non-stick cooking spray or grease the bottom only of a 13x9-inch pan and set aside.
Mix the Cake. To the large bowl of a large stand mixer add the cake mix, eggs, eggnog, water, oil, and nutmeg and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 26-28 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
Cool and Poke. Allow the cake to fully cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Use the rounded end of a wooden spoon or a large straw to poke well-spaced holes into the cake.
Make Eggnog Filling. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together the vanilla pudding mix, eggnog, and spiced rum.
Filling the Cake. Slowly pour the pudding mixture over the cake allowing time for the pudding to fill the holes. Smooth the top of the pudding layer. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
Top and Garnish. Spread the whipped topping evenly over the top of the cake and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg. Continue to refrigerate the cake until serving time.
My Top Tip
♡ To give every slice lots of nice eggnog cream filling, be sure to space the holes well throughout the cake.
Substitutions & Variations
- Substitute Yellow Cake Mix. You can substitute a yellow cake mix for the vanilla cake mix and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Substitute Ground Mace. Mace is the outer covering of a nutmeg seed which has a very similar flavor to ground nutmeg and is less expensive.
- Substitute Ground Cinnamon. If you don't like nutmeg you can substitute ground cinnamon.
- Substitute Pumpkin Pie Spice. You can also substitute pumpkin pie spice for the nutmeg.
- Substitute Stabilized Whipped Cream. You can use stabilized whipped cream instead of thawed, frozen whipped topping.
Make it Non-Alcoholic
- Substitute Rum Extract. Instead of spiced rum, make the filling with 3 cups of eggnog and 2 teaspoons of rum extract.
I like using a stand mixer to mix the batter quickly, but you can use a hand mixer too, or beat the batter by hand.
Make-Ahead & Storage
You can bake the cake the day before and finish it with the filling and topping the next day.
This cake must be stored in the refrigerator covered in plastic wrap to keep it fresh tasting. Leftovers will keep up to 3 days when stored in a sealed airtight container or covered in plastic wrap.
More Delicious Holiday Desserts
♡ Did you love this Eggnog Poke Cake? Please leave us a star rating and a comment below!
Eggnog Poke Cake
- 1 Box Vanilla Cake Mix, 13.25 Ounce Mix
- 3 Large Eggs
- ⅔ Cup Eggnog, Homemade or Store-Bought
- ⅓ Cup Cold Water
- ⅓ Cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
- 2 Boxes Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix, 3.4 ounces each
- 2 ½ Cups Eggnog
- ½ Cup Spiced Rum, or Brandy
- 3 Cups Whipped Topping, 8-Ounce Container
- Freshly Ground Nutmeg
- Preheat and Prepare. Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C. Spray non-stick cooking spray or grease the bottom only of a 13x9-inch pan and set aside.
- Mix the Cake. To the large bowl of a large stand mixer add the cake mix, eggs, eggnog, water, oil, and nutmeg and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.1 Box Vanilla Cake Mix, 3 Large Eggs, ⅔ Cup Eggnog, ⅓ Cup Cold Water, ⅓ Cup Vegetable Oil, 1 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Nutmeg
- Bake. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 26-28 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake.
- Cool and Poke. Allow the cake to fully cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Use the rounded end of a wooden spoon or a large straw to poke well-spaced holes into the cake.
- Make Eggnog Filling. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the vanilla pudding mix, eggnog, and spiced rum.2 Boxes Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix, 2 ½ Cups Eggnog, ½ Cup Spiced Rum
- Filling the Cake. Slowly pour the pudding mixture over the cake allowing time for the pudding to fill the holes. Smooth the top of the pudding layer. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour.
- Top and Garnish. Spread the whipped topping evenly over the top of the cake and sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg. Continue to refrigerate the cake until serving time.3 Cups Whipped Topping, Freshly Ground Nutmeg
Encharted Cook Notes
Per 1 serving. All nutritional information on this site is an estimate. Your results may vary.