Caroline Bellefleur's Chocolate Cake
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 1 sheet cake or 24 cupcakes
This is a basic poke cake recipe using a box mix, a sweet syrup made from dates, and a vanilla frosting with chopped pecans.
  • 1 package Swansdown Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix (or Duncan Hines, if you can't find Swansdown -- I can only ever find Swansdown Cake Flour)
  • Syrup:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package seedless dates
  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • Frosting:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons brewed coffee
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Prepare the box cake mix according to the box instructions for a 9 X 13 pan. Bake and cool.
  2. While the cake bakes, combine the water, sugar, and confectioner's sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for 30-40 minutes, until you have a sweet sticky syrup. Stir occasionally while cooking.
  3. Poke the COOLED cake with a skewer all over the top. Then pour and spread the liquid over the cake using a rubber spatula to spread it across into all the nooks and holes you poked in the cake.
  4. While that is cooling, beat the powdered sugar and shortening. Add the salt vanilla, vanilla, coffee, and chopped pecans. (see notes)
  5. Frost the cooled cake and chill before serving.
#1- I included the original recipe's recommended frosting made with shortening but I usually am not crazy over all-shortening frosting (this frosting DOES taste delicious.though) unless it's for an all- white cake (and then it's necessary for color!!). I would suggest using unsalted butter (at room temperature) instead of the shortening. I also found this frosting to be a little too thin. I would suggest starting with the called for 3 tablespoons of butter and then adding the butter a tablespoon at a time (no more than double) to reach your desired consistency.
#2- To make cupcakes (as pictured) instead of a sheet cake, follow the box instructions for baking cupcakes and when they have cooled poke 5-6 holed in each. Spoon the syrup over each cooled cupcake before frosting. Additionally, I like to fill my cupcakes ¾ full instead of the recommended ⅔ and bake a little longer at 325 instead of 350-- it makes fluffier cupcake domes!
Recipe by Sugar Dish Me at