Bourbon Caramel Poke Cake

November 5, 2017

I’m back with a pretty American recipe, it has to be said. It’s got pumpkin and bourbon — two flavors that will always epitomize America to me. People go a little crazy for all things pumpkin pie spiced as soon as the first day of autumn arrives. I work for Allrecipes  in Seattle, and the arrival of the PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte) in Starbucks is somewhat of a milestone every year, and heralds the onslaught of fragrant cakes, and all things pumpkin related.  When I moved here first, I was a little cynical about the whole obsession with pumpkins, but now it’s kind of comforting and synonymous with a cozy American fall  (Help, I’ve been sucked in!!!)

Anyways, as part of my job, I get to develop some fun recipes. This one was a particular joy to make. Fresh cream, pumpkin spiced cake, bourbon, and toasted pecans — what’s not to love! It’s a poke cake, which are  phenomenally popular here. To make it, you poke holes in the top of a warm cake, and pour in some gooey delicious syrup (salted caramel in this case) that soaks into the whole cake. Back home, I think we would call it a drizzle cake. Either way, it’s pretty delicious to eat. Recipe is below, or if you want to watch a snazzy video of how to make it, click here.


  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup of canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of salted caramel sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of bourbon
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon of bourbon
  • 1/2 cup of chopped toasted pecans


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C
  2. Line an 8 inch square tin with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, oil, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and beat to combine.
  4. Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl.
  5. Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and beat until just combined.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula.
  7. Place the cake into the oven, and cook for 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Test with a cake tester or sharp knife to confirm it’s cooked.
  9. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, heat the caramel sauce with 1/2 tablespoon of bourbon in a saucepan until warmed through.
  10. Using the sharp end of a chopstick, poke small holes evenly spaced on the surface of the cake.
  11. Pour most of the caramel sauce into the holes of the cake. Reserve about teaspoon for the topping.
  12. Place the cake on a cooling wrack to cool.
  13. Whip the cream and add the bourbon to the whipped cream. Give the cream a final whip so that it forms soft peaks.
  14. Spoon the whipped cream on top of the cooled cake.
  15. Scatter the toasted pecans on top of the cream.
  16. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the cream.

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