The next morning I scoured the web (and Pinterest) to see if anyone else had made a similar cake before. And... nobody has! I feel like a genius! So, off to the store I went to gather my ingredients, with a big ole' smile on my face. It's not too often that I create my own recipes, people. This is a pretty special occasion! :)
1 box white cake mix (and ingredients on box to make cake)
2 packets instant apple cider mix
1 3 oz. box vanilla instant pudding mix
2 Tbs caramel ice cream topping
caramel bits (made by Kraft, found in baking aisle)
1. Prepare cake mix according to directions on box. Pour half of batter into pan. Then swirl two Tablespoons of caramel topping over batter. Top with remaining batter. Bake cake according to directions on the box. Remove cake from oven and let cool completely (about one hour).
2. Using a fork or bamboo skewer, poke holes into the cooled cake.
3. Pour apple cider packets and pudding mix into a bowl. Add one cup hot water, stirring to dissolve. Then add 3/4 cup of cold water and stir again. Pour mixture over cake, covering completely and filling all holes. Drain excess cider mixture back into bowl. (I realize this sounds strange, but you will have excess. It was very easy to tilt my cake pan and drain the extra mixture into a bowl. The cake is very sturdy and you needn't fear that it will fall out of the pan!)
5. Slice cake and add cool whip topping to each piece. Top with apple slice, caramel bits and cinnamon. Serve!
This cake was delicious! It wasn't soggy at all (like some poke cakes can be). My husband and both of my toddlers loved it and asked for more. A sure sign of a winning dessert! The only thing I would change would be to add more caramel to the cake itself. I felt that the caramel flavor was lost amongst the apple cider goodness. Perhaps try adding half a cup when you make it and see if that gives it more of a caramel kick.
I'd love to know if you try out this delicious cake! Every bite tastes like a little bit of Fall! :)