Good Eats and Sweet Treats from My Small Boston Kitchen

Individual Chocolate Caramel Poke Cakes

It feels like it has been forever since I did any baking with chocolate. The first part of my year was pretty lean on the baking in general, and then when I finally got back into the swing of things, the focus was on fruit and citrus and summery flavors all the way. Now that the seasons are changing, and the weather along with it, I can’t ignore that it’s time to change up my recipes, too. This year, I definitely didn’t feel like I got enough of the fruity, citrusy, summery stuff done, but fortunately, I love apples and pumpkins and warm spices, and of course I love chocolate the most. So I guess it’s time to get back to it now, and these adorable little cakes weren’t a bad place to start.

I don’t think I’ve ever really made a poke cake before, but the idea of it is kind of genius. Bake a cake, and then pour delicious syrup on top of it, and double the deliciousness. How could that be bad?! There has always been a significant appeal to me of a tres leches cake, perhaps the most epic of “poke” cakes, but for some reason I have never made one! (Note to self: add a tres leches cake to winter baking list.) These poke cakes are a different breed entirely, but quite wonderful in their own right.

Chocolate Poke Cakes recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

Chocolate Poke Cakes recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

The chocolate cake itself is easily the most moist chocolate cake I have ever made. It certainly doesn’t need any moisture from the added caramel, but I actually found the end result to be almost like a chocolate caramel pudding cake, which was a pleasing combination that looked almost as beautiful as it tasted amazing. We had some Fat Toad Farm Goat Milk Caramel around — the Salted Bourbon — which is what I ended up using for the caramel sauce, and it lent that really unique, goaty-caramel flavor that I just love. If you’re not anti-goats-milk-products, and you haven’t tried Fat Toad before, I highly recommend it. Their product will completely redefine how you think about caramel, both in taste and texture, and I really love it. That said, if you aren’t a fan of goats-milk goods, this would be equally awesome with a basic salted caramel sauce on top.

Chocolate Poke Cakes recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

I finished my little cakes with a generous dollop of very lightly sweetened whipped cream, and a sprinkling of these crispy chocolate pearls. The pearls were actually an awesome addition, and since most people won’t have those at home, I just recommend something as a final touch to give this dessert some crunch. The original recipe called for Heath Bar pieces, which would definitely be pretty awesome.

Chocolate Poke Cakes recipe - Sweetly Serendipity

Individual Chocolate Caramel Poke Cakes

Ingredients

    For the cake
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup spelt flour (can substitute wheat or white)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  • For the topping
  • 1 cup caramel sauce
  • Whipped cream
  • Candy bits (crispy pearls, Heath bar, etc.)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 18 small (4 ounce) glass canning jars or ceramic ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place jars on a large baking sheet, making sure there is enough space between each jar for air to circulate while baking.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low speed just until incorporated.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the electric mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients, and mix until incorporated.
  4. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula, to make sure all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. The batter will be very thin.
  5. Using a large scoop, fill each prepared jar or ramekin about 23 of the way full. Take care not to overfill. Bake cakes for 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Once cakes have cooled slightly, use a toothpick or wooden skewer to poke holes across the tops of each cake. Spoon about 2 teaspoons of caramel over the holes you made on each warm cake. Just before serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream, if you feel so inclined, and a sprinkle of candy pieces!
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