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Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake

5 from 2 votes

posted: 06/14/17

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake is completely from scratch and insanely good! You HAVE to make this! This caramel poke cake is a recipe that people request again and again!

If you are looking for another great caramel poke cake recipe, make this Caramel Apple Poke Cake. If you still have too many zucchini, make this Zucchini Sheet Cake or these Apple Carrot Zucchini Muffins.

The Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake has a cream layer and drizzled with caramel.

This poke cake is made totally from scratch with fresh zucchini and then you STUFF it with homemade caramel sauce, top it with THE BEST cream cheese frosting, and drizzle more caramel sauce on top. This cake is the stuff of dreams and legends. If you aren’t a poke cake fan, this will turn you.

Do you ever feel like the universe is speaking to you?

So over the weekend we had this most amazingly beautiful day at the beach with our kiddos and my niece and nephew who we were watching for a few days. All the kids and Nathan were playing in the sand and I was in the shallow waves with Piper who was loving every second of it, when this guy walks by and casually says,

“Awww, man. I miss those days. Mine are all big now.”

In a glass casserole dish, the Zucchini Poke Cake is topped with some white frosting and drizzled with caramel.

I’m definitely one of those moms that thinks about the days when my kids will all be in school . . . . with gleeful anticipation. You guys. I LOVE being a mom. I live and breath for my kids most days, but holy crap it’s so hard. And I just long for the quiet.

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when one of my blogging friends posted about how much she was struggling with her youngest starting kindergarten. She even went so far as to say that if you are one of those moms who longs for the days when the kids will all be in school to think again because it sucks.

The Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake has a cream layer and drizzled with caramel.

The other day, the sister of a childhood friend posted this article in reference to her only child going away to college. It is so well written because it just talks about how painful it is for them to leave home. There’s no, so you better appreciate the crap out of them now guilt trip.

All these things have been ticking around in my brain, but when that guy looked at Piper and I with this longing and talked about missing them being this little. That was it. It was like the universe yelling at me to just stop for a second and breath them in. It won’t last forever, these days where I am “the best mom ever” and they want endless snuggles and to talk to me about any and all little things.

I even thought about giving up blogging.


So, this is my question to all you moms out there:  How?

How do you embrace and love and cherish every second of their snot covered noses, while still maintaining some sense of your own self and not going crazy? Because I have to tell you, I’m just not going to get on the floor and pretend I’m a cat. Snuggles and books and art projects and bike rides? Yes. Cats? It’s not happening.


A fork digging into the Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake has a moist interior and drizzled with caramel.

So this Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake. You guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuys! It is made totally from scratch, but won’t take a million and a half steps. You guys, I love all the desserts that I put on my blog, but there aren’t that many that I *seriously* want to face plant in. I’m just not a huge dessert fan. But this. This poke cake, with it’s spices and it’s drippy caramel sauce, and it’s cream cheese frosting and fresh zucchini . . . I’ve already had two pieces and I’m on my way to slice myself a third. YUMMY!

5 from 2 votes

Caramel Zucchini Spice Poke Cake

Serves: 16 pieces
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
This Caramel Zucchini Poke Cake is completely from scratch and insanely good! You HAVE to make this!


For Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsps cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 pound zucchini grated finely (about three medium zucchini)

For Caramel Sauce

  • 4 TBSPs unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 TBSP vanilla extract

For Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 by 13 inch pan by spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Whisk together in a large bowl the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
  • Whisk the eggs and sugars together in a large bowl until the sugars are just about dissolved. Now add the oil about a half a cup at a time and whisk in until it’s combined.
  • Slowly add the flour mixture. Stir in the zucchini. Pour into the pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  • While the cake is baking, combine the butter, brown sugar, and heavy cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Stir consistently while the sauce cooks until it thickens, about five minutes. Add in the vanilla. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl or a stand mixer beat the cream cheese. Beat in the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla. Continue beating on medium for five minutes. Put the frosting in the refrigerator to frost the cake the following day.
  • When the cake is finished, remove it from the oven, allow it to sit for about 10 minutes and then poke about 24 holes in it. Fill each of the holes with caramel sauce, you should end up using about 2/3 of a cup. Reserve the rest.
  • Cover the cake and allow it to sit overnight. The next day, frost it and drizzle with the remainder of the caramel sauce. Serve the cake at room temperature.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

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Caramel Zucchini Spice Poke Cake

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Mir says

    Chica, you are speaking to someone who GETS what you’re saying. My kids all entered school last year, and it was HEAVEN. Like, sometimes I get home an hour before they do and the house is quiet and clean and I can watch Netflix. It’s so beautiful.
    I’m also trying to enjoy them while they’re young and all, but let’s be honest. I’m exhausted.
    This cake looks like the best way to spend some alone time at home!

  2. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust says

    I am the worst. I don’t like to parent, but I love my child. It’s strange because I always see everyone sobbing all over FB about how they miss their kids when they’re away or at school and I’m all….Huh? But I know when she isn’t here anymore when she’s older…I’ll be sad. But I’ll also get to go on more vacays so…. ;)

  3. Kathleen Salvador says

    My children are 3 1/2 and 9 months. I am working mother and my heart aches when I leave them every morning. I am happy for the break but long for them all day. Trying to stay present and really breath them in is the trick. Just get distracted by life. That article about college was rough. I am going to advocate for commuting to school like I did so I can get a few more years with them. heh I want my boys to be the biggest mama’s boys around. :) hehe We will all get through it. xoxo

    • Lisa Longley says

      So sweet Kathleen! Here’s hoping they do commute!

  4. Cari says

    Love all your zucchini recipes. Our garden was very prolific w zucchini this year & i have about 25 2 cup pkgs of shredded zucchini in my freezer. However its frustrating as so many recipes like yours call for a pound of zucchini – what does rhat ranslate to in cups?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Ugh, I know, Cari. As I was making this I had a little voice in the back of my head saying “Measure the cups . . . ” but alas, I did not. I’m going to making this one again soon, so I will be sure to do that. In the meantime, if you have a kitchen scale, you could always put a measuring cup on it, zero it out, and then start filling until you hit a pound. If I had to guess it’s about 2 cups.

  5. Katherine says

    Not a mom yet over here, so I can’t say that I understand. But one day I will. :)
    This poke cake looks so yummy! Love that caramel.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Thanks Katherine!

  6. Judy says

    Love using zucchini in cakes and breads. However, one question: Do you drain the moisture out of the zucchini? I have had disastrous results by NOT draining. How long do you drain it? Cheesecloth?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I didn’t drain this at all, or squeeze out the moisture. I’ve made this cake that way many times and it turns out great every time. One thing to keep in mind is that it’s a poke cake, so the whole idea is like an EXTRA moist cake. Either way, no squeezing out of moisture and you will be good.

  7. Terry says


  8. Stephanie says

    Could you use applesauce instead of oil? Thanks!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Yes, but it will really change the texture of the cake.

  9. Angie says

    5 stars
    Just made this Best zucchini recipe EVER!!! Definitely a keeper. Thanks so much for sharing it! ❤️❤️❤️

    • Lisa Longley says

      This makes my day! I’m so glad to hear you liked it.

  10. Gaye says

    Wondering about the amount of oil 1 1/2 cups seems excessive is this amount right?
    Also wondering how many cups of zucchini are in a pound?

    • Lisa Longley says

      The amount of oil is correct. It is about 4 cups of shredded zucchini per pound. I hope you enjoy the cake.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners