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Best Easy Red Velvet Poke Cake

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pieces of cake on plate

This red velvet poke cake is delectable and irresistible. It’s filled with sweetened condensed milk and topped with a buttery cream cheese frosting that’s out of this world. You only need 12 ingredients to make this easy poke cake + the frosting. It’s seriously the best poke cake and will win over any crowd, and you’ll be left with nothing but a few crumbs.

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Best Easy Red Velvet Poke Cake

If you get tired of ordinary cakes, then you should make this extraordinary red velvet cake for something different. 

best poke cake on plate ready to eat

What Is Red Velvet Cake?

A red velvet poke cake is a soft, moist cake that is notably red in color. It’s got cocoa in it, so it has a flavor that is sort of chocolaty. What sets red velvet cake apart from the traditional cake recipes is the vinegar and buttermilk that it’s made with. 

My poke cake recipe has the perfect amount of sweetened condensed milk in it that’s amazingly sweet and delicious. The homemade frosting is so creamy and fluffy, you’ll want to eat it with a spoon. 

Red Velvet Cake Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • Unsalted butter – Whenever possible, always try to use unsalted butter for the best outcome. If you do use salted, don’t add salt to the cake, or it will not turn out good. 
  • Granulated sugar – Sugar makes the cake nice and sweet just the way it should be. 
  • Eggs – They are your binder for the cake. 
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder – Cocoa powder gives the easy red velvet cake recipe. It’s a subtle chocolate flavor comes from the cocoa.
  • Red food coloring – You get that gorgeous deep red in the cake with red food coloring. 
  • Vanilla extract – Adding vanilla extract makes this cake so flavorful, you don’t want to miss it. 
  • Buttermilk – One of the main ingredients that sets this red velvet poke cake apart from other cake recipes. 
  • All-purpose flour – I prefer all-purpose flour instead of self-rising for cakes. 
  • Salt – Just a touch of salt adds the right amount of flavor. 
  • Baking soda – The soda is what causes the cake to rise when it’s baking. 
  • Distilled white vinegar – You might not think vinegar belongs in cake, but trust me, it makes it amazing!

For the Drizzle:

  • Sweetened condensed milk – I don’t have to tell you that this easy poke cake is 10 times better with this sweetened condensed milk. 

For the Frosting:

  • Butter – Using butter adds to the creaminess of the frosting. 
  • Cream cheese – Oh my gosh, that flavor is beyond delicious. 
  • Powdered sugar – To give the frosting the right amount of sweetness, powdered sugar is your best bet. 
  • Vanilla extract – Vanilla is a nice touch to this smooth and fluffy frosting. 

easy poke cake with fork in it on plate

How To Make Red Velvet Poke Cake

This beautiful homemade red velvet cake is genuinely as delicious as it is pretty. You can even serve this as a Christmas poke cake during the holidays. Just add a few festive sprinkles, and everyone will go wild for it. Okay, let’s get started on these simple directions:

First Step: After you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F., use butter to grease both sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan. Add some parchment paper to the pan and allow it to hang over the sides a little. Butter the parchment paper too. 

TIP: Allowing the parchment paper to hang over the edges will make it much easier for you to remove the cake from the pan.

Second Step: Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add the butter and sugar. Cream them together with medium speed. It will take around 3 minutes and should be light and fluffy when it’s done. After it’s mixed, scrape the sides of the bowl and add in eggs. Beat until it’s combined well. 

Third Step: Combine the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, and red food coloring together in a small bowl. It will look like a thick paste. Add it to the batter and mix on medium speed until it’s all been combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue beating, so the color is dispersed through all the batter. 

Fourth Step: Pour half the buttermilk and half the flour into the bowl. Mix well until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl again and pour in remaining buttermilk and flour. Continue mixing until it’s smooth, which will take about a minute. 

Fifth Step: Turn the stand mixer to low and sprinkle in salt, baking soda, and vinegar. Beat everyone on high for 2 minutes until everything is well combined. 

Sixth Step: Add the batter to the prepared baking pan and make sure the top is smooth and even. Bake for 25-30 minutes. If you poke it with a toothpick, it should come out clean when it’s done. 

Seventh Step: Take the cake out of the oven when it’s done and poke holes in the top of the cake. Use a wooden spoon, fork, or skewer to poke the holes. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the top of the cake. Allow the cake to cool then add frosting. 

Eighth Step: While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. Mix the butter and cream cheese in the stand mixer using a paddle attachment. Beat it for around 3 minutes until it’s fluffy. Pour in powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until light and fluffy. 

Ninth Step: Add the frosting to the top of the cake and add any decorations you would like. 

poke cake with sweetened condensed milk being poured in it

How Do You Store Homemade Red Velvet Cake?

Store the homemade red velvet cake in a cake pan or storage container with a lid. It should be airtight and be kept in the refrigerator. Because of the cream cheese in the frosting, it’s not safe to let the frosted cake set out any longer than 2 hours at a time. 

If you ever notice the poke cake with condensed milk has an odd odor, mold growing on it, or seems slimy or overly dry, that means it’s passed it’s prime and should be tossed. It’s never a good idea to eat old cake. 

plates with homemade red velvet cake

Can I Freeze Poke Cake?

Yes, you can actually freeze poke cake. Don’t prepare the frosting until you are ready to serve it because it won’t freeze well. The cake itself will freeze well if you keep it in an airtight container. It’s important to always allow the cake to cool to room temperature before freezing; otherwise, it won’t age well. To serve, take the cake out of the freezer and thaw then add a batch of frosting on top. 

several pieces of red velvet poke cake on plates

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ready to serve red velvet poke cake


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Best Easy Red Velvet Poke Cake

Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
This homemade red velvet poke cake is always a hit. You'll crave this easy poke cake; it's so good. You can make the best poke cake with 12 ingredients + frosting.
plates with homemade red velvet cake
5 from 1 vote


For the Cake:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 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
  • 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
  • cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
Author: Laura

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