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This deliciously moist Red Velvet Poke Cake is filled with a cream cheese sauce and topped with a light and fluffy frosting. It’s a decadent dessert everyone will love!!

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A slice of Red Velvet Poke Cake on a white plate with a silver fork next to it.

I LOVE THIS CAKE.  I mean, I love about any cake, but this one in particular is SO yummy and decadent!  It combines two of my favorite desserts – poke cakes and a moist red velvet cake and they come beautifully in this epic red velvet dessert!

​Not only is this cake delicious, it’s also easy to make, thanks to a box mix!  Give it a try and you’ll be making for all family gatherings, holiday parties, Valentine’s Day and more!

Ingredients needed to make a red velvet poke cake on a white background.

Ingredients Needed (amounts in recipe card below)

  • Red Velvet Cake – You can use a boxed cake mix or make your own
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk – Don’t confuse this with evaporated milk!
  • Cream Cheese – You can use full-fat cream cheese or the 1/3 less fat neufchâtel cream cheese
  • Powdered Sugar – AKA confectioners sugar.
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Whipped Topping – I use a tub of Cool Whip, but you could make your own stabilized whipped cream

How to Make Red Velvet Poke Cake

Make a Red Velvet Cake

You can either make a homemade red velvet cake or simply follow the box directions on a box red velvet cake mix.  

Depending on the brand you use, you’ll combine the box mix with eggs, oil and water.  Bake the cake in a 9×13-inch prepared baking pan according to package instructions.

Fill the Cake

Add softened cream cheese to a bowl and stir until smooth.  You can use the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, a hand mixer or a wooden spoon (& a little arm strength!).  

The filling for a poke cake in a clear bowl.

Once the cream cheese is smooth, add vanilla extract and a little bit of sweetened condensed milk at a time until it’s all incorporated and smooth.

A red velvet cake with holes poked in it.

Use the back of a wooden spoon or a large straw to poke holes into the warm cake.  Slowly pour the filling over the cake and use a spatula to spread it out, giving it time to seep into the holes.  

A poke cake with filling spread over it.

Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting

Add the room temperature cream cheese to a large bowl.  Use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to make sure the cream cheese is soft and smooth.  

Add the powdered sugar, vanilla and little whipped topping at a time until it’s all incorporated.  Spread the mixture on top of the cake in an even layer and top as desired!

The top of a red velvet cake.

How to Decorate a Red Velvet Poke Cake

​There are so many different ways to top this cake!  Here are a few of my favorites…

  • Top with extra red velvet cake crumbs (I like to take 2 tablespoons of the batter and bake it in a small dish.  I use this as the crumbs on top!)
  • Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over the cake
  • Top with white chocolate curls
  • Add colored sprinkles to match the occasion – red and green sprinkles for Christmas or pink and red sprinkles for a festive dessert on Valentine’s Day!
A slice of Red Velvet Poke Cake on a white plate with a silver fork next to it and a red and white towel in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the flavor of red velvet cake?

Red Velvet Cake is essentially a cake flavored with cocoa powder and lots of red color added.  It’s traditionally topped with a cream cheese frosting.

​Does poke cake need to be refrigerated?

Yes.  Because of the cream cheese and whipped topping, you’ll need to keep this refrigerated.

How should I store leftover poke cake?

Cover with plastic wrap or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Can I freeze a poke cake?

I don’t recommend it.  This is a very moist cake and if you freeze and thaw the cake, it’ll turn soggy.

A bite of moist red velvet poke cake on a silver fork.

​Other Poke Cakes You’ll Love

A slice of Red Velvet Poke Cake on a white plate with a silver fork next to it.

Red Velvet Poke Cake

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cool Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
24
This deliciously moist Red Velvet Poke Cake is filled with a cream cheese sauce and topped with a light and fluffy frosting. It's a decadent dessert everyone will love!!

Equipment

  • One 9×13-inch pan

Ingredients
 

  • One box red velvet cake mix prepared in a 9×13-inch pan
  • One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract divided
  • Two 8 ounce blocks cream cheese softened, divided
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • One 8 ounce tub whipped topping
  • sprinkles if desired

Instructions

  • Prepare the red velvet cake mix and bake in a 9×13-inch pan according to the box instructions.
    One box red velvet cake mix
  • While the cake is in the oven, add one 8 ounce block of cream cheese to a mixing bowl.
    Two 8 ounce blocks cream cheese
  • Stir the cream cheese and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla until it's smooth. You can do this with a hand mixer or simply mix by hand.
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Slowly add the sweetened condensed milk and mix until smooth. Using a whisk will help ensure it's a smooth sauce.
    One 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • When the cake comes out of the oven, use the end of a wooden spoon to poke holes into the cake.
  • Pour the filling over the cake, using a spatula to spread it out and help it get into the holes.
  • Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir the remaining cream cheese until smooth. Again, you can do this with a hand mixer or simply mix by hand.
    Two 8 ounce blocks cream cheese
  • Add the powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a little bit of the whipped topping; stir until smooth.
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract, One 8 ounce tub whipped topping, 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Keep adding the whipped topping until it's all incorporated.
  • Spread evenly over the cake.
  • Decorate as desired with sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, etc!
    sprinkles
  • Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

  • You could also use a homemade red velvet cake baked in a 9×13-inch pan.
  • Top the cake with heart-shaped sprinkles or pink and red sprinkles for Valentine’s Day.
  • Top with mini chocolate chips for a little extra chocolate flavor and crunch.
  • Add red and green sprinkles for the holiday season.

Nutrition

Calories: 248kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.5g | Protein: 3.9g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 7.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4.2g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 52.4mg | Sodium: 231mg | Potassium: 108mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 18.3g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 0.7mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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3 Comments

  1. Sounds delicious! One question: I have noticed that boxed cake mixes are now down to 13+ ounces, from 18 ounces. Does this recipe call for a standard 18+ ounce box mix?

    1. Hi Mary Kay – It should not affect this recipe. Make the cake as the box states and go from there!! I’ve just started noticing this with box cake mixes too….it’ll definitely affect some recipes, so I’ll keep that in mind for the future! 🙂 ~Kelsey

    2. DebbieCanterbury says:

      Love this red velvet poke cake recipe l know my daughter will enjoy this for her birthday today