While there is a surplus of spooky Halloween recipes out there with designs that are more on the nose, there is one easy-to-make cake that will lend a more subtle touch of creepiness to your Halloween party's dessert game. The poke cake has been around since the '70s, characterized by poking holes in it after baking and pouring liquid Jell-O over it so the flavor seeps into the holes. It started appearing in cookbooks and ads once the Jell-O craze of previous decades was beginning to die down as a way to reignite interest in the gelatinous treat. Modern poke cakes, however, have a lot more creativity infused into them, making them the perfect simple bakes for those who love a bit of gory Halloween party fun.
Sure, you're poking the cake yourself, but who's to say that "poke" doesn't mean a vampire's bloody bite? The goal when making a poke cake is to let your sweet, colorful topping of choice ooze steadily into the holes you've created, which is the secret to great flavor distribution and extra moisture. Since we want the "blood" to be visible, the best way to achieve this effect is by baking a vanilla or lemon sponge cake and topping it with vanilla frosting or Cool Whip. This combo is the perfect canvas for blood splatters galore, inside and out. It doesn't have to be a basic-tasting cake either, and you can upgrade the ingredients so it turns out tasting rich with flavor.
Go Fruity Or Syrupy Sweet As Long As The Topping Is Red
The great thing about poke cake is its simplicity. So if you've got your favorite boxed vanilla cake mix handy, that will work nicely to create the fluffy sponge cake for this blood-soaked bake. You could choose a more old-fashioned Jell-O poke cake recipe, filling the holes with cherry or strawberry flavor and giving it time to soak for a while after you've poured it over the cake. However, if you want to avoid giving your Halloween poke cake an artificial taste, you can go with something a bit more fruity instead. Maraschino cherry syrup or strawberry pie filling are both great choices that can balance out all the sweet flavors with a hint of tartness and add depth. The flavors of raspberry preserves work well with the zing of lemon cake if that's the route you choose.
To make your boxed cake mix taste homemade, you could swap out the water for buttermilk and add extra ingredients like lemon zest or almond extract to the batter. After baking it and letting the flavors absorb into your poke cake, top it with an even layer of vanilla or cream cheese frosting. Don't forget to create the creepy splattered blood patterns on the top using the same saucy filling you infused into your cake, or simply use red food coloring. This is one dessert that's sure to be a Halloween party hit, especially among the vampires present.
Read the original article on Mashed.