Boston Cream Poke Cake

Everything you love about Boston cream donuts and pies, in the form of a cool and creamy pudding poke cake!

This Boston Cream Poke Cake has a texture and taste that is nothing short of dreamy. Best of all, it’s made entirely from box mixes – EASY!! For more yummy cakes try Root Beer Float Ice Cream Cake, Mississippi Mud Cake, or Caramel Cake.

Boston Cream Poke Cake on a white plate

Boston Cream Cake

This Boston Cream Poke Cake recipe was actually suggested by my husband, whose favorite donut happens to be a Boston Cream donut (it’s my favorite too!).

The Boston Cream donut was actually created after the famous Boston cream pie, which isn’t a pie at all, but a cake! The rich, classic dessert consists of a vanilla custard sandwiched between two yellow cake layers, and topped with a chocolate ganache or frosting.

If you’re a fan of either the Boston Cream Pie or donut, I promise you will like this recipe. It has all the same components: yellow cake, vanilla cream (pudding in this case), and a chocolate topping (also pudding in this recipe).

And the best part is that it only requires 3 box mixes, plus the few ingredients needed for the mixes. Talk about simple!! The hardest part is patiently waiting for the poke cake to refrigerate for 30 minutes, you know what I mean? 😉

How to make Boston Cream Poke Cake

CAKE. Make cake as directed in a 9×13 pan. While the cake is still slightly warm, use the end of a large wooden spoon and poke several holes into the cake.

VANILLA PUDDING. Make French Vanilla pudding as directed. Wait a minute for it to thicken up a little more and pour over cake, making sure it fills all the holes.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING. Make Chocolate pudding as directed. Pour over the cake and the layer of vanilla pudding, using it as a frosting or ganache.

Tip. This step may be easier if you refrigerate the cake for a little while after pouring the first layer of pudding.

ENJOY! Refrigerate at least 30 minutes to let all the pudding set, and serve cold. ENJOY!

It really is that simple! And like I said, it tastes just like a Boston Cream donut, but in the form of a moist, creamy cake. Poking the holes in the cake allows the pudding to seep into the cake and give it a really nice consistency. That’s what makes poke cakes SO delicious!

Boston Cream Cake topped with chocolate pudding on a white plate

Poke CAke Variations + SToring Info

  • Oreo Pudding Poke Cake – chocolate cake, Oreo pudding, and crushed Oreos
  • Banana Toffee Poke Cake – yellow cake with mashed bananas, caramel topping, whipped cream, and toffee bits
  • Coconut Poke Cake – white cake, coconut milk, whipped cream, and shredded coconut
  • S’mores Poke Cake – chocolate cake, marshmallow creme, whipped topping, and gram cracker crumbles
  • Lemon Lime Poke Cake – white cake, lime gelatin, lemon dream whip, whipped cream, and grated lemon/lime peels
  • Grasshopper Poke Cake – devil’s food cake, hot fudge, peppermint frosting, and chopped Andes mints

STORE this cake covered in the fridge for 3-5 days. Serve cold to avoid the cream melting.

FREEZE the cake for 3-4 months after it has been wrapped in plastic wrap twice and a layer of foil. If need be you can make this cake about a day ahead of time. This will give the pudding time to soak into the cake. If you make it any further in advance you risk the cake becoming too moist.

For more chocolate cake recipes, check out:

Boston Cream Poke Cake

4.60 from 5 votes
Everything you love about Boston cream donuts and pies, in the form of a cool and creamy pudding poke cake! 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 204 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna


  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box french vanilla pudding (5.9 oz)
  • 1 box chocolate pudding (5.9 oz)
  • 4 cups milk


  • Make cake as directed in a 9×13 pan.
  • Poke holes into cake using the end of a large wooden spoon while cake is still semi-warm.
  • Make French Vanilla pudding as directed. Wait a minute for it to thicken up a little more and pour over cake, making sure it fills the holes.
  • Make Chocolate pudding as directed. Pour over cake as well.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and serve cold.

Pictures for this recipe were re-taken by Alicia of The Baker Upstairs

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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  1. YOU are VERY BAD for my WAISTLINE! this recipe sounds divine & is definitely being tucked away for future use. YUMMO!

  2. On the boston cream poke cake are you using instant pudding or regular cook and serve pudding. Also do you let it cool or pour over cake while the pudding is still hot. thanks for your help

  3. 5 stars
    This was so great! Took it to my in-laws for dessert and it was a huge hit, and so easy! It will definitely be my new go-to for potlucks and easy desserts. And even better the next day! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Yay!! Love hearing that. I actually just ate a piece 5 minutes ago. I made it for a church function last minute because I usually have the supplies on hand and it’s quick. 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    I am going to make this for my mother in law’s birthday tonight :] I am assuming you don’t put the instant pudding in the fridge like the directions say. You just prepare it and let it thicken a little and then pour it over?

    1. Sorry – just saw this… and yes, pour it over after you’ve made it and stirred it for a minute or two. How did it turn out? Did she like it?

  5. Having your Boston Cream Poke Cake for our St Patty’s Day dessert tonight. Instead of using the chocolate pudding however, I found Duncan Hines chocolate “Amazing Glaze” to put on top. Can’t wait to dig in! Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi Wendi! Thanks for the comment. Curious to know what you thought of your Boston Cream Poke Cake. Hope it was great. Your changes sounds delish! 🙂

  6. This looks so simple and yummy!! I am going to try it! Plus I pinned you on my interest food board 🙂

      1. This was SUPER Easy! Wonderfully light and Oh SO moist! My family loves it and after just making it last night, (I’m talking 9p.m.) It’s about 3/4 gone! This is something I will gladly make again, and again!! Thanks Lil Luna! I’m bookmarking your blog!!

        1. YAY! So glad. It’s always fun to find a recipe the whole fam likes. Hope you can come back again. I have lots of recipes I’ve been working on. Have a great night! 🙂

  7. This looks great – I’m going to try it tonight, and if it is as yummy as it looks, I’m going to make it for our mission trip (50 high school kids – last year I made ACTUAL boston cream pies, which took a long time and were pretty messy).

  8. Found your recipe through pinterest – I just wanted to make a quick comment to show my appreciation. I made this yesterday for a fourth of july barbecue and it was perfect – cool, moist and tasty! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Katie!! I LOVE hearing that. I made it on a whim and was so glad that it turned out okay (and yummy!!) I think if you like Boston Cream you will definitely like this dessert. So glad you guys did. 🙂

  9. Hi! This sounds perfect for my husband’s birthday! Just 2 questions, how deep do you poke the holes and how far apart do you poke the holes? And you leave it in the pan, right? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessica! Yes, I leave it in the pan and poke the holes like an inch deep about an inch apart. Does that help?

  10. So happy I came across this, I am not a fan of boston creme, (although this sounds delicious I will have to try it) but my hubby is. Can’t wait to surprise him with this cake for his birthday!

  11. I pinned this a couple weeks ago and just went to make it…the recipe is no longer showing. Help!!

  12. The puddings used are “instant” not “cook and serve” right? Will the pudding seep into the holes like gelatin or will it need some “help”? Have you ever used just chocolate frosting or a different topping for this cake? Let me know what you would recommend other than choco pudding. Thanks and love ALL your recipes!

    1. I use instant 🙂 And, yes, it does seep in. I have not tried a different topping, though I like to experiment, so I will have to see what else would work. Thank you so much!

  13. Hi,
    On the Boston Cream Poke Cake are you using Instant pudding or cooked pudding. This sounds like a wonderful cake.
    Rio Reng

  14. I made THIS but it didn’t turn out as I expected. The vanilla pudding was too thick and did not go into the holes in the cake. It was too thick. It was still good tasting and my grand kids loved it, but i’m going to try it again using the small pkg of pudding. You really have a wonderful website.

    1. I am glad they still liked it. I try to pour it before it gets thick. Thank you so much for saying that! I really appreciate it!

      1. I’ll try that. I must have waited too long and the pudding got too thick.
        I am going to make it again because I found out my grand kids were telling their parents about this wonderful cake.

  15. 3 stars
    This got screwed up & I don’t know how much of it is me or the recipe as written. For such a simple recipe, that’s not easy to do. It calls for 4 cups of milk which I thought was to be split between the two puddings, even though the directions say, “as instructed.” Well, the pudding boxes call for 3 cups of milk EACH, so the vanilla pudding was starting to set after whisking it for just 30 seconds. No filling in the holes I made in the cake, so I just spread it on top & did the same with the chocolate pudding. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more milk in the house, so I was stuck & had to make do.
    If a total of 6 cups of milk was to be used, the recipe should have stated, “1 cake mix box & ingredients listed on the box” & the same for the puddings.

  16. This Boston creme pie poke cake looks delicious. Please let me know are you using instant or cooked pudding. Thank you Mary

  17. This sounds delicious and I want to try it. But I’m wondering about the extra ingredients listed – ie the eggs, oil and milk. If I’m to make the cake and puddings each ‘as directed on the box’, then how do these fit in?
    Thanks for clarification.

    1. Great question! So a typical yellow cake mix box calls for 1/2 cup of oil and 3 eggs. So you’d use those ingredients and then follow the directions listed on the box mix as to how to mix/bake times and temps/etc. The pudding mixes both should call for 2 cups of milk each on the back of the box. Hopefully that makes sense! 🙂

  18. So happy to hear it. I’ll have to try cupcakes next time. Great idea to pipe it in the middle. 🙂