Red Velvet Poke Cake

Delicious Red Velvet Poke Cake with homemade Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s super moist and velvety and perfect for Valentine’s  or any special occasion.

Red Velvet Poke Cake

Homemade Red Velvet Cake

Hello Lil’ Luna readers! It’s me Natalie, from Life Made Simple. Today I’m sharing a dessert that has always been a family favorite – poke cake!! They’re 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 a for a homemade red velvet poke cake that I think you will love.

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!

Can you use a red velvet cake mix as a shortcut?

Of course, you can! We like to do things homemade when we can, but when we are in a rush we will definitely use a cake mix to make the process even quicker!

Red Velvet Cake Fork Pokes

How to Make Red Velvet Poke Cake

The cake itself is best if made part with a hand/stand mixer and part with a wooden spoon. Why? Well you want to get the butter and sugar creamed so the cake bakes up fluffy and tender. But you don’t want to over-mix it when you add the dry ingredients, buttermilk and vinegar to it. So I prefer to combine those ingredients by hand, with a wooden spoon (or spatula). That way you don’t end up with a dense, tough cake!

After preheating the oven, you will use a hand or stand mixer to beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the ref food coloring and vanilla and beat until combined. Then, add the eggs on at a time, mixing until just incorporated.

From there you will whisk the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda in a small bowl. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and buttermilk/vinegar by hand. Then, mix together with a wooden spoon until just combined – do not over-mix. Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25 minutes.

After the cake comes out of the oven the fun starts! You get to poke holes in it with a fork! That way the sweetened condensed milk soaks in and makes everything sweet and extra moist.

Then all that’s left to do is whip up the cream cheese frosting. It’s so easy to make and comes together in minutes. When the cake is cool, spread it over top and enjoy! It’s sure to be a hit for any holiday or special occasion! Enjoy 🙂

Red Velvet Cake Pics

How to store Red velvet poke cake?

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 in the fridge.

Can you freeze Red Velvet Poke Cake?

Yes, you can, but we recommend doing it before you add the frosting. If it’s already frosted, you can freeze it if stored properly, but you will need to make sure it gets hardened first (so the frosting doesn’t stick) if you are wanting to freeze it for longer.

Can I used canned frosting for this recipe?

You can definitely used 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. 😉

Red Velvet Poke Cake Recipe on plate

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Red Velvet Poke Cake Recipe

4 from 1 vote
Delicious Red Velvet Poke Cake with homemade Cream Cheese Frosting. It's super moist and velvety and perfect for Valentine's  or any special occasion.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 623 kcal
Author Lil' Luna



  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated 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 oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter/flour (or spray) a 9x13-inch baking pan, set aside.
  • Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the red food coloring and vanilla extract, 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, spread 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 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.


If you are using gel instead of liquid food coloring, add an additional ⅓ c. of buttermilk to the recipe.
Cake recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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Thanks again Kristyn for having me!

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One word – YUM! For more great recipes from her be sure to head to Life Made Simple.

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About the Author

Natalie Dicks

I'm the food photographer and blogger behind Life Made Simple. I'm passionate about creating from scratch family-friendly recipes ranging from healthy to decadent.

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  1. 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

  2. 4 stars
    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.

  3. 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