Delicious Red Velvet Poke Cake with homemade cream cheese frosting is moist and velvety. It’s perfectly sweet for any occasion.
Red Velvet Poke Cake is filled with chocolate and tang. For more divinely scrumptious red velvet treats try Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake, Red Velvet Milkshake, and Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Homemade Red Velvet Cake
Poke Cake has always been a family favorite of ours!!
Poke Cakes are deliciously moist due to the added liquid poured over the top. Some recipes require poking larger holes using the end of a wooden spoon. Other recipes, like this one, poke smaller holes using a fork.
In either case, make sure to space all the holes properly. If you make too many close together, the cake gets extra soggy, if spaced too far apart, not enough liquid will seep into the cake.
Poke Cakes are typically so easy to make, especially if you make it starting with a box cake (like Banana Pudding Poke Cake and Boston Cream Poke Cake), but today’s recipe is for a homemade Red Velvet Poke Cake!
This cake is thick, moist, and topped with my favorite cream cheese frosting. Everything is made from scratch and ready to go in a little over an hour!
How to Make Red Velvet Poke Cake
PREP. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter/flour (or spray) a 9×13-inch baking pan, and set aside.
WET INGREDIENTS. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the red food coloring and vanilla extract, and beat until combined.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated.
DRY INGREDIENTS. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk/vinegar by hand. Mix together with a wooden spoon just until combined, do not overmix.
BAKE. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and spread it into an even layer. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
POKE. Remove and poke holes into the cake with a fork. Pour the condensed milk over top (I only used half but you can use the whole can). Allow the cake to cool before frosting.
FROSTING. To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed for 2-3 minutes, then reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar. Add in the salt, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat for an additional 2-3 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
DECORATE. Spread across the cooled cake and decorate as desired.
MakING AHEAD + MAKING CUPCAKES
Make ahead of time. The extra liquid needs some time to soak into the cake. It is best to make the poke cake ahead a couple of hours before serving and keep it in the fridge. Poke cake tends to get soggy after too much time. Try starting with a dry cake to prevent this.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake pan with paper liners.
- Fill each liner to about ⅔ of the way. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when gently pressed and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool. Poke holes, add condensed milk, then frost.
Tips + Variations
We like to do things homemade when we can, but when we are in a rush we will definitely use a cake mix or canned frosting to make the process even quicker!
Box cake mix. This recipe makes a cake from scratch, but to use a cake mix just bake it according to the package instructions. After baking, poke holes and add condensed milk.
- Improve the box cake mix by replacing the oil with an equal amount of melted butter and using milk in place of water.
Canned frosting. The Red Velvet signature flavors pairs really well with cream cheese frosting. You can definitely use canned frosting for this poke cake, but again – homemade is best. When it comes to frosting, we just feel like you can’t beat a good and easy homemade version. 😉
Variations. Due to the red cake, I love making this cake for Valentine’s day or as a Christmas red velvet poke cake. Simply use coordinating festive sprinkles. Some other variations include:
- Sprinkle crushed Oreo cookies on top.
- Top with cool whip for a light frosting, instead of our cream cheese frosting.
- Sprinkle on mini chocolate chips.
- Make it a blue velvet cake by using blue food coloring.
- Use different holiday sprinkles.
STORE. Because of the cream cheese frosting and sweetened condensed milk, we recommend covering and storing this cake in the fridge. It should keep for up to 3-4 days.
FREEZE before frosting for best results. If it’s already frosted, let the frosting set and harden a bit (so as not to stick to the wrappings).
More delicious poke cakes:
- Jello Poke Cake
- Banana Pudding Poke Cake
- Boston Cream Poke Cake
- Lemon Lime Poke Cake
- Oreo Pudding Poke Cake
For more great red velvet recipes:
- Red Velvet Cheesecake Cake
- Yummy Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
- Red Velvet Waffles
- Delicious Red Velvet Milkshakes
- Best Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Red Velvet Poke Cake Recipe
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup red liquid food coloring or 1 tsp if using gel: see notes
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
- 12 oz sweetened condensed milk (I only used half)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup butter room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese room temperature for 30 min
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp milk or heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter/flour (or spray) a 9×13-inch baking pan, and set aside.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the red food coloring and vanilla extract, and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk/vinegar by hand. Mix together with a wooden spoon just until combined, do not overmix.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and spread it into an even layer. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove and poke holes into the cake with a fork. Pour the condensed milk over top (I only used half but you can use the whole can). Allow the cake to cool before frosting.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed for 2-3 minutes, then reduce the speed and add the powdered sugar. Add in the salt, vanilla extract, and milk. Beat for an additional 2-3 minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.
- Spread across the cooled cake and decorate as desired.
Cake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Thanks again Kristyn for having me!
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Sounds nice. I’ve never had a poke cake either.
This just might be on our Valentine’s Day Dinner menu.
This looks really great! I love poke cakes and think this one should be added to my recipe box. I’m a new food blogger and love meeting others. I’ve followed your social sites and hope we can connect on those. I found you on a link party and I’m excited to read more of your blog! Becky
i made this yesterday for a church activity. I actually doubled the cake recipe since we were feeding a big crowd. I used one whole can of evaporated milk plus a small can of media crema (it’s a Mexican style canned milk) since that was all I had on hand. Can I tell you that this cake was a huge hit!!! It was so moist from the milk and the frosting was perfect. I usually don’t like frosting but this one was really good! I am going to be making this again. Oh and the frosting just has you had it was just enough to cover my huge sheet cake sized cake.
Thanks for this. I would have never have thought to make a poke cake out of Red Velvet.
SO glad it was a hit! 🙂
I made this cake for my mom’s birthday last year. It was great! And it was so easy to make and definitely worth it. It finished the same day. With 4 people.
Looking for another similarly amazing recipe for her birthday this year
I forgot to rate :p
worth busting out of my diet for this recipe love the creamy frosting with red velvet, thank you
LOL!! I’m glad! I am all about the cream cheese frosting with velvet, too! Thank you!
Could you use black cherry jello to pour over top of baked cake?
I personally haven’t tried, but it’s worth a try 🙂
Beautiful and so yummy!
Thank you so much! I’m glad you liked the cake. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂
A great dessert for that special day! So easy and taste delicious. Love the cream cheese frosting.
Oh my goodness. This was absolutely delicious and so easy to make with these directions!
We make this every year!! It’s the perfect Valentine’s dessert & it tastes delicious!! Love red velvet & it’s so pretty!
I made this yesterday for my son’s party and it was such a hit. The frosting is amazing!
Yum! What a delicious, moist cake! Red velvet is a favorite in our house and this one turned out perfectly.
I love the way this Red Velvet Poke Cake turned out. It is so rich and creamy and just downright delicious. This will be my go to recipe for my Christmas Cake too! Thanks for the recipe. I love it.
I really love cold cake and this red velevet cake is so easy and yummy