What started out as a trend in 1970s American suburbia – then a boxed vanilla cake mix made as a tray bake, poked with holes and the holes filled with jello (or jelly here in SA), the jelly set, the top of the creation then spread with whipped cream and sliced into neat squares to serve. As we know, any good trend of yesteryear is bound to make a vintage revival – and, in this case, there’s good reason for our Pinterest feeds to be filled with poke cakes of all descriptions! Poking your cake (or brownies in this case) allows for extra deliciousness as the topping seeps into even more spaces and creates a “filling” for simple tray bakes.
Recipe and styling by Claire Ferrandi
Photograph by Dylan Swart
Caramel, peanut butter and chocolate poke cake
- 1 box chocolate brownie mix + any required ingredients, as per packaging instructions
- 1 x 360g tin Nestlé Caramel Treat
- 200g smooth peanut butter
- 10ml (2 tsp) vanilla essence
- 1,25ml (¼ tsp) salt
- 60ml (4 tbsp) fresh cream/milk
- 2 x 40g bars Cadbury Crunchie, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven according to the brownie mix’s packaging instructions. Grease and line a 25cmsquare brownie tin. Prepare the brownie mixture according to packaging instructions, transfer to the prepared tin and bake for the required time.
While the brownie cake is baking, place the Nestlé Caramel Treat and peanut butter in a large bowl, and stir until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Add the vanilla essence, salt and fresh cream/milk, and stir until smooth and well combined.
While the brownie cake is still hot, poke deep holes in the brownie using the handle end of a wooden spoon (poke them at about 2cm intervals). Allow the brownie cake to cool down completely before removing it from the tin in one, large square. Spread the caramel-peanut butter mixture over the brownies, working the caramel into the holes with a palette knife.
Sprinkle with the chopped Cadbury Crunchies and place in the fridge to firm up, 30 minutes. Remove from fridge, cut into 4 – 5cm squares and serve.