Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Better Than" Pudding Poke Cake

Happy Birthday to Me (Simply

Sister #2, of Sisters Do Food and Fitness, is having a birthday next week! To celebrate, Amy organized a dinner with a bunch of her friends at a great little pizza joint. I wanted the dinner to be special for her, so that morning I went out and got some balloons to take to the restaurant for decoration. At about 2pm, it suddenly hit me that I needed a birthday cake for her too! I don't know if it was the running errands in the 103 degree heat or the fact I was now just so relaxed on the couch in the AC... but somehow the thought of a birthday cake had completely slipped my mind! Really, a birthday celebration with no cake?! That would have been an epic fail on my part. Well, there was no way I was just going to go to the store and buy one. First of all, it was 103 degrees out (no joke)... and secondly, store-bought cakes (while delicious) are so impersonal. So I took to the cupboards to see what ingredients I had for ANY kind of cake!

In my frantic ingredient search, I found a random box of sugar free yellow cake mix. Yellow cake seems like a great starting point, right?... except I had never used a sugar free mix before and had no idea what the cake would turn out like! Knowing I had 1 special birthday girl (and 17 of her friends) to impress, I had to ask myself "is this really the best time to experiment?". While I pondered my other (safer) options, I came across a box of instant sugar free chocolate pudding and a tub of fat free cool whip... and I remembered I still had some caramel topping and a Heath bar left over from a
Better Than Sex Cake I had made for my Ladies Night In party last month!  I decided I would take all of those ingredients and make a "Better Than" version of a pudding poke cake.... the caramel, whipped topping, and toffee pieces would surely take a plain yellow pudding cake to the next level!  Oh and the best part... since the cake is a 'sugar free, lighter' cake we would feel less guilty about eating it after consuming a bunch of cheesy pizza.  I quickly went to work on the cake, crossed my fingers and prayed it would turn out as delicious as I was imagining it would...

"Better Than" Pudding Poke Cake

(makes 1 - 9x13 pan, 16 servings)

1 (18.25 ounce) package sugar free yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant sugar free chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 cups fat free milk
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1 (8 oz.) tub fat free whipped topping
1 toffee bar, crushed (I used a Heath bar)

Prepare and bake cake mix according to package directions for one 9x13 inch cake. Remove cake from oven.

While cake is still warm, poke holes down through cake to pan with the round handle of a wooden spoon. Holes should be at 1 inch intervals.

Warm caramel topping in the microwave for 30 seconds. Drizzle 1/2 cup topping over warm cake and into holes.

Combine the pudding mix with the confectioners' sugar and gradually stir in the milk. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed (or whisk) for not more than 1 minute. Do not over beat.

Quickly, before pudding thickens, pour about 1/2 of the thin pudding evenly over the warm cake and into the holes.

Allow the remaining pudding to thicken slightly, then spoon evenly over the top.  Chill cake for at least an hour.

Once cool, spread the tub of whipped topping evenly over the chilled cake. Sprinkle top of cake with crushed toffee bar.

Chill cake until it is ready to be served. Store leftovers in the refrigerator!

Note: This cake can have SO MANY variations using different cake mixes, different pudding flavors, and different toppings. (I can't wait to try all of them!)

Nutritional Info:(1 of 16 servings)
251 calories, 8.9g fat, 44g carb, 2.4g protein

My 'Better Than' Pudding Poke Cake ended up being everything I hoped it would.... it was light and moist, but rich with chocolate and caramel flavors. The crushed toffee bar gave the cake a little chewy, crunchy texture. All in all, it was delicious and perfect. :) I was so nervous serving it not knowing how it would taste (this was one of my many experiments), but the birthday girl LOVED her cake... and so did all of her friends. Everyone wanted to know what kind of cake it was and how I made it; they were shocked to hear how easy it was and that it was sugar free cake and pudding. There is no better feeling in the world for a cook than to hear someone say, "wow, this is so good!". Making people smile and giving them something yummy and memorable to eat are always my main goals when I cook or bake... and I'd say this time was a success!

Happy Birthday Amy! I'm glad I could give you a special birthday treat :)


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