May 15, 2022

Carrot Poke Cake

Carrot Poke Cake

We all know and love a traditional carrot cake but have you heard of a carrot poke cake? Especially one with orange-vanilla panna cotta? It's so moist and we have to say, definitely one that is quickly becoming a favorite dessert.

What is Carrot Poke Cake?

The concept of poke cake first came to me when I was working with one of my best friends, Andrew, and we were discussing how we could make a cake that would stay fresh for more than a few days. His favorite dessert was chocolate cake, but everytime we would make a cake, no matter what we did, after the second day, it just simply wasn’t good enough for us to serve at the restaurant. The cake would either become too dry or start to taste like the cooler. So with that I set about trying to find a way that we could make a cake that we could feature on the menu that would last at least four days, so none would go to waste.

Basically, a poke cake is a cake, that once baked, has holes poked in it and then is enriched with a panna cotta or pudding that is poured into the holes and crevices (take a look at the video below). The resulting cake is the most moist and creamy cake imaginable. Imagine the result when you eat a slice of warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. As the ice cream melts, it seeps into the pores of the cake and you are left with that perfect combination of cake and sauce.

Ingredients for Carrot Poke Cake

While we have tried this technique with numerous combinations, dark chocolate cake with white chocolate panna cotta, chocolate cake with coconut milk panna cotta, and coconut-pecan icing and lemon pound cake with strawberry panna cotta and whipped cream, both myself and Alejandra agree that the carrot cake has to be at the top.

The panna cotta, which translates to “cooked cream” in Italian, is delicately flavored with vanilla and orange and then thickened with gelatin. The cake is then topped with a cream cheese icing to bring all the flavors of a traditional carrot cake with a texture that is divine. Here's what you need:

For the Cake

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Eggs
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Carrots
  • Pecans

For the Orange-Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • Evaporated milk
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Heavy cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Gelatin
  • Orange

Tips for making Carrot Poke Cake

  • Baking the cake: After you've combine all of your ingredients, you'll want to bake the cake at 350 F for about 50-60 minutes or until you can insert and remove a toothpick from the center of the cake without any raw batter on it.
  • Letting the cake rest: Make sure you cool the cake at room temperate for about 30 minutes. This will allow you to be able to poke holes all around the cake.
  • When to make the pan cotta: We recommend you make the panna cotta while the cake is baking since you'll also want to cool down the panna cotta for about 10 minutes.
  • Poking holes: Once both your cake and panna cotta are cooled, you're ready for the fun part, making the holes! Don't be shy here. You want to almost crumble the top of the cake.
  • Serving the cake: Once it's ready though, we highly recommend heating each slice in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or until the liquid starts to melt slightly, then topping with a dollop of cream cheese icing before serving. So so good and perfectly moist!

We hope you love this recipe as much as we do! Did you have fun poking the holes? Let us know in the comments!

Cheers and eat well!

Carrot Poke Cake

A traditional carrot cake enriched with a delicately flavored Orange-Vanilla Panna Cotta. It's so moist and surprisingly easy to make!















For the Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups carrots (peeled & grated)
  • 1 cup pecans (chopped)

For the Orange-Vanilla Panna Cotta

  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 12 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 5 sheets of gelatin (or 3/4th ounce of powdered gelatin)
  • 1 orange (zest & juice)


Making the Carrot Poke Cake

  1. Crack your eggs into the bowl for your stand mixer, add the vanilla extract and start mixing, on medium speed, with the whisk attachment.
  2. Slowly stream in the sugar and continue to mix for about 4-5 minutes or until the egg mixture becomes light and airy.
  3. In the meantime, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Peel and grate the carrots so that they are cut into small strands similar to shredded cheese. Set them aside.
  5. Once the eggs are light and airy, stream in the oil and continue mixing until everything is incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixer off, add about 1/3rd of the flour mixture and turn back on the mixer on a low setting and mix till incorporated.
  7. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, add another 1/3rd of the flour mixture and continue to mix again.
  8. Once incorporated, add the last of the flour and continue to mix to incorporate. Only mix as much as you need to. Do not overmix.
  9. Once everything is fully incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, add the carrots and pecans and gently fold them into the batter.
  10. Once everything is evenly mixed and distributed, pour the batter into a 9”x 9” cake, or spring-fold pan and bake at 350 F for about 50-60 minutes or until you can insert and remove a toothpick from the center of the cake without any raw batter on it.
  11. Cool the cake at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  12. After the cake is cooled to room temperature, take a fork and poke holes all around the cake until every space has holes in it.

Making the Orange-Vanilla Panna Cotta

  1. Bloom the gelatin by soaking the sheets in ice water for about 5 minutes, until it is completely soft. (If using powdered gelatin, sprinkle the gelatin into the cold heavy cream, whisk, and allow it to sit for about 6 minutes.)
  2. In the meantime, add the evaporated milk, condensed milk, heavy cream, vanilla, salt and sugar into a pot.
  3. Using a peeler, peel the zest from the orange and put it into the pot. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice into the pot as well. Discard the remaining orange scrap.
  4. Whisk everything together and gently heat on low heat.
  5. Once the gelatin has fully softened, pull the gelatin out of the water, squeezing to drain off the remaining water and put it into the pot. (If using powdered gelatin, add the cream and gelatin to the pot. It will seem very thick.)
  6. Heat the cream mixture slowly, stirring occasionally, till you see the first bubble on the surface of the cream. Turn the cream off and stir to ensure the gelatin has fully dissolved.
  7. Strain the cream mixture and set it aside to chill to about 100 F. (about 10-15 minutes.)

Adding in the Panna Cotta to the Carrot Poke Cake

  1. Once the cake has been baked and poked, and the panna cotta is about 100 F, slowly pour the panna cotta on top of the cake, ensuring to pour evenly around the entire cake.
  2. Poke the cake a few more times to ensure the panna cotta seeps into all the pores of the cake and then put the cake into the fridge to set for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  3. After the panna cotta sets and the liquid no longer jiggles, you can portion and serve the cake.
  4. We recommend heating each slice in the microwave for about 20 seconds, or until the liquid starts to melt slightly, then topping with a dollop of cream cheese icing before serving.


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