Red Velvet Poke Cake

Alright guys, I just couldn’t help myself! I have a treat for you today that is going to knock your socks off! A red velvet cake poked to death, doused in sweetened condensed milk, and then covered in cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Poke Cake {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}
Have you ever heard of a poke cake before? Up until about a month ago I’ve never heard of them, then all of a sudden my Pinterest feed is being bombarded with picture after picture of poke cake. Chocolate, pumpkin, banana, carrot, red velvet-you name it, I’m sure there is a poke cake recipe out there somewhere.

Red Velvet Poke Cake {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

This recipe starts with a normal red velvet cake with holes poked in the top with the base of a wooden spoon. Sweetened condensed milk is then poured over the holes, which allows the liquid to seep into the cake and make it extra moist and flavorful. After the cake has cooled for a few hours and the sweetened condensed milk has been absorbed into the cake, it is topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting.

Red Velvet Poke Cake {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

The result? Well take a look for yourself! It’s absolutely incredible…with little pockets of cream cheese frosting scattered throughout each slice….one word…heaven! In fact, this is one of those cakes that actually gets better the day after it’s baked. So if you plan on making this for your sweetie for Valentines Day make it at least 24 hours before you plan to serve it. Just place in the refrigerator overnight and frost in the morning! Super. Simple.

RED VELVET POKE CAKE {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

So what are you waiting for? This cake isn’t going to make itself! Want to make it even simpler? Use a boxed red velvet cake…I promise I won’t tell. 😉

Red Velvet Poke Cake {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

Red velvet lover or not, this poke cake is irresistible! 😀

Red Velvet Poke Cake {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

Red Velvet Poke Cake

A red velvet cake poked to death, doused in sweetened condensed milk, and then covered in cream cheese frosting.


For the Cake:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

For the Drizzle:
1 (12-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

For the Frosting:
8 ounces butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4¼ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. (This will make it easy to remove the cake from the pan) Butter the parchment.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the eggs and beat on high until well combined.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a smooth thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again making sure that all the batter gets color.

4. With the mixer on low, add half of the buttermilk and half of the flour; mix until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth, about 1 minute.

5. Reduce the mixer to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another 2 minutes until completely combined and smooth.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.

7. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the top of the cake. You can use the end of a wooden spoon, a skewer, the tines of a fork, etc. Slowly pour the can of condensed milk all over the top of the cake, making sure to drizzle it evenly all over the top. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

8. To make the Frosting: Place butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.

9. Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and decorate as desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Red Velvet Poke Cake {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

One Year Ago: Nutella Sandwich Cookies Nutella Sandwich Cookies {Sweet Pea's Kitchen}

Two Years Ago: Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake

Three Years Ago: Pretzel Bites with Cheese Pretzel Bites with Cheese

21 Responses to “Red Velvet Poke Cake”

  1. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — February 6, 2014 @ 7:40 am

    Red velvet love- yum!

  2. #
    Karly — February 6, 2014 @ 8:09 am

    Love red velvet! This cake looks amazing!

  3. #
    kloesunny @ — February 6, 2014 @ 8:34 am

    Looks awesome! I love how the red velvet cake is from scratch! (no cake mix…I am weird that way.) Perfect for Valentines Day!

  4. #
    Liz — February 6, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

    Thank you for the nice recipe and have another Happy Day!

  5. #
    Joan in VA — February 6, 2014 @ 12:33 pm

    Poke cakes are OLD. I’m 73 and I was doing them as a new bride. However, back then (when the dinosaurs roamed) we didn’t use wooden spoons to poke the holes. We poked with meat forks.

    In spite of having made them for years upon years, I’ve never used just sweetened condensed milk for my ‘poke liquid’. I’ll have to try that.

    • Christina replied: — February 9th, 2014 @ 8:08 am

      I had no idea that poke cakes have been around a while! Ha! I’m sure happy I found them though…after trying this recipe I can’t wait to make more of them! :)

  6. #
    Kris - Sugar Cookies to Peterbilts — February 6, 2014 @ 4:02 pm

    I think this is the first time I have seen a recipe for Red Velvet Cake from scratch. I do think this will be what I make for Valentine’s Day. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  7. #
    Lindsay — February 6, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

    Wow this looks great!!!

  8. #
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner — February 7, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

    I’ve heard of poke cakes, but have not made one yet. I love how yours look moist but not overly saturated like I’ve seen elsewhere. Perfect for Valentine’s Day. :)

  9. #
    Jenn — February 7, 2014 @ 7:53 pm

    I love that this poke cake recipe is from scratch and not a cake mix!

  10. #
    Medeja — February 7, 2014 @ 11:57 pm

    Oh it looks moist and sooo tempting!

  11. Pingback: Sweet Pea's Kitchen » Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  12. #
    Dina — February 8, 2014 @ 8:51 am

    i love red velvet. it looks delish!

  13. #
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef — February 8, 2014 @ 11:03 am

    i love that you made a from-scratch cake for a poke cake. i don’t like most poke cakes i’ve tried because they have been made with cake mixes. not bad, but not as good as homemade. love this version! pinned :)

  14. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — February 8, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

    Haha. I love how huge your holes are! (weird sentence… sorry)

    I’ve made this before! Sooo good. I only made half because I knew I’d inhale it. And I did.

    And it works without the food coloring, in case anyone is wondering. 😉

  15. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — February 10, 2014 @ 9:05 am

    Hold on a moment while I revive myself. Wowza, this cake looks amazing. I love that you “poked it to death” and slathered with with sweetened condensed milk. Go big or go home, right?

  16. #
    andie ruppert — March 2, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

    I made this cake yesterday and everyone loved it!! Best Red Velvet Cake ever!!

  17. Pingback: Sweet Pea's Kitchen » Rainbow Poke Cake

  18. #
    Monique — May 4, 2014 @ 11:17 am

    Looks VERY good. Making this for mom on Mother’s Day!

  19. #
    Lady LaWanna — May 24, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

    This cake looks good!! I am going to try it for my kids class party.

  20. #
    Jackie — February 8, 2015 @ 7:02 pm

    Saw this on FB & looks perfect for Valentine’s Day!!

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