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How to Make the Best Pudding Poke Cupcakes

How to Make the Best Pudding Poke Cupcakes

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Bear with me while I set up the story behind these pudding poke cupcakes for you…As a child of the 70s, I was inundated with Jell-O commercials for pudding, gelatin, and pudding pops. That chocolaty goodness was super easy to whip up – instantly, thanks to the just add cold milk feature.

Looking back at those commercials now, they were all either sexist (the little woman at home frantically trying to think of what dessert for dinner that night!) or racist.
Just look at this gem of a commercial from the 1950s that kicks off their NEW instant pudding version. Ugh! Everything back then was marketed to housewives kind of like this – eesh!

Let’s not even talk about the ones that feature Bill Cosby who was the face for their brand for 25 years… I wonder if he gets his Jell-O Puddin’ Pops in prison?

Pudding Poke Cake

Soon Jell-O pudding Poke cakes were all the rage at any local potluck… everyone had their own twist to them and honestly? They were pretty darn tasty!

How much easier could it be to simply bake a cake, and frost it with pudding? These were super moist cakes that you could make a few days in advance, and people usually asked for a second piece.

Pudding Poke Cupcakes

I took that classic potluck treat and turned it into bite-sized gems that are a little more Covid-friendly to share, portion controlled, and

Cupcakes with Pudding Filling

So, you aren’t going to poke really more than one hole in each cupcake, but that is OK. It still works like the cakes did. You end up with personal portioned versions of your beloved childhood potluck treat.

I am using a boxed cake mix for this as we were in kind of a time crunch but you can use my scratch yellow cake recipe instead if you want to – or simply use my tips to dress the boxed mix up.

It really doesn’t matter as these cupcakes with pudding filling are going to be super moist and rich, at the same time.

I know some people like to make poke cupcakes with condensed milk but it really isn’t necessary.

How do you poke a hole in a cupcake?

Use your finger to poke a hole in the center of the cupcake, pressing the center cake down and creating a hole for your filling (be sure your hands are clean or wear gloves!). Use a small paring knife to cut a hole in the center of your cupcake, removing the middle cake so your filling has lots of space.

Chocolate poke cupcakes

I used yellow cake with this recipe but you can easily switch it up. Yellow cake with chocolate frosting is a huge fan favorite around here. You could easily switch it to chocolate cake mix, or switch out the pudding flavor as they have a large variety!

Just look at all of these choices:

  • Banana Cream
  • Boston Cream Pie
  • Butterscotch
  • Candy Cane
  • Caramel Cheesecake
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Classic Turtle
  • Coconut Cream
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Devil’s Food
  • Double Chocolate
  • Dulce de Leche
  • French Vanilla
  • Gingerbread
  • Lemon
  • Orange Ice Cream
  • Oreo Cookies ‘n Cream
  • Pistachio
  • Pumpkin Spice
  • Red Velvet
  • S’more Pudding
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Strawberry Creme
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  • White Chocolate
  • annnnnd more yet!

By simply switching a few different cake mix flavors or pudding flavors your combination ideas are literally in the hundreds!

You are only limited by your imagination – and right now I have chocolate cupcakes with Candy Cane pudding stuck in my head for a fun Christmas Treat!

How to Make the Best Pudding Poke Cupcakes

Let’s get to baking! These are pretty easy to do with the kids, and when you do, they take ownership of it. Let them help whip up this dessert!

Pudding Poke Cupcakes Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix and what the box calls for
  • 2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 cups milk
pudding poke cupcakes mix

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for one 9×13 inch cake. Spoon into muffin cups, filling cups half full.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops of cupcakes spring back when gently touched. Cool in pan for 3 minutes. Remove from pans and put on a wire rack.

Use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes into each hot cupcake.

frosting for puddinkg poke cupcakes

Pudding Poke Cupcakes Frosting

Combine the pudding mix with the confectioners’ sugar and gradually stir in the milk. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed for not more than 1 minute. Do not overbeat.

chocolate pudding cupcakes

Quickly, before pudding thickens, pour about 1/2 of the thin pudding evenly over the warm cupcakes and into the holes. (This will make the stripes in the cupcake.)

Allow the remaining pudding to thicken slightly then spoon over the top, and spread to frost the top of the cupcakes. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

pudding poke cupcakes ready to eat

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