A red velvet poke cake recipe made simple by baking a soft moist cake from a mix, infusing it with a thick sweet white chocolate filling, and topping it with a favorite cream cheese frosting!
Poke cakes are so much fun to make and they’re suitable for kid-friendly baking! There are so many varieties of poke cakes, from the flavor of the cake to the delicious fillings to the frosting on top. The possibilities are endless. Strawberry Poke Cake and Oreo Poke Cake are two more favorite poke cakes to try!
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Easy Christmas Poke Cake
Poke cakes are one of my favorite desserts, especially when I’m looking for something quick, easy, and super low maintenance. This red velvet poke cake looks impressive and tastes amazing, but it truly couldn’t be easier to make! This delicious cake recipe is one to keep handy around the holidays and family gatherings because there always seems to be a need to whip up a festive dessert.
This red velvet cake is made with a boxed cake mix and turns out so moist and decadent you’d never know it wasn’t made completely from scratch. It’s infused with a white chocolate and sweetened condensed milk mixture that’s soaked into the cake and topped with cream cheese frosting, which as we all know, is the best frosting for anything red velvet!
Why we love this recipe
- Quick and easy takes on a whole new meaning. The boxed cake mix is a welcome shortcut but doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture.
- Short ingredient list means you probably already have what you need in your kitchen. Nothing fussy about this dessert and yet the results are spectacular.
- Festive presentation. This bright red cake is, shall we say, holiday chic! The red velvet is so popular around this time of year and the festive sprinkles take it over the top!
- Can be made ahead. The longer the cake sits, the moister it gets. So good.
- Flavors can easily be swapped and geared to whatever occasion and it’s always a hit at parties.
- Box of red velvet cake mix – This doesn’t just have to be for Christmas. Keep the red in mind for an easy Valentines’ day dessert too.
- Water, eggs & vegetable oil – Will be used to combine with the dry cake mix to create a smooth batter. Follow directions on the box.
- Sweetened condensed milk – Readily available in your local grocery stores. Typically comes in a can and it’s milk that has had all of the water content removed from it creating a condensed milk. Sweetened condensed milk has sugar added to it.
- White chocolate chips – Will be melted and mixed in with the sweetened condensed milk to make the delicious gooey spots all through the cake.
- Cream cheese frosting – Homemade (see below) or store bought both work.
- Christmas colored sprinkles – Think red, green, and white!
How to Make this Recipe
If you’re a beginner baker or someone who enjoys eating cake but doesn’t necessarily want to make one from scratch, this recipe is for you!
Step 1: Make cake batter according to directions on the box. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove and cool the cake slightly.
Step 2: Melt white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds. Stir and heat for 15-second intervals, stirring to melt each time, for a maximum of 1 minute total.
Step 3: Once melted, stir in the condensed milk until completely smooth in consistency.
Step 4: Poke holes throughout the cake using the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful not to poke to the bottom of the pan.
Step 5: Pour white chocolate mixture over the middle of the cake and spread evenly across the top, allowing the liquid to fall into all of the holes.
Step 6: Chill the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes before spreading the cream cheese frosting over the entire cake. Return to the fridge until you’re ready to serve. Add sprinkles to the top of the cake just before slicing and enjoy!
- Substitute instant vanilla pudding, white chocolate pudding, French vanilla pudding, cheesecake pudding mix instead of the white chocolate chip/condensed milk mixture. Combine milk and the dry pudding mix and pour pudding mixture over top of the cake immediately.
- Substitute a whipped cream or a whipped topping like Cool Whip in place of the cream cheese frosting.
- For an adult version, add some bourbon or Bailey’s to the filling, whether it’s the white chocolate mixture or any of the puddings.
- Add shaved white chocolate curls, crushed Oreo cookies, crushed candy cane, or mini chocolate chips to the top if desired.
- If adding any cookie crumbs, be sure to add them just before serving or they will get soggy sitting on the frosting.
- Keep the cake refrigerated until you serve it.
- Cut into any size pieces you want, depending on how many you’re serving.
- When pouring the white chocolate mixture, make sure you’re spreading it evenly so each hole gets ample filling.
- Plan on making your cream cheese frosting? Don’t forget to bring it to room temperature ahead of time!
Make your own homemade cream cheese frosting by mixing 1 stick of unsalted butter, 8 oz of softened cream cheese (the block, not the tub), 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 3 cups (1 lb) of powdered sugar in a stand mixer or in a large bowl and use a handheld electric mixer. Whip on high speed until completely blended. This recipe will make enough for a 13×9 pan, (2) 8 or 9-inch layers, or 24 cupcakes.
There is dairy in the cream cheese frosting as well as the condensed milk filling, so any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Enjoy a piece of cake or two for a few extra days.
Red Velvet Poke Cake
- 1 box Red Velvet Cake box mix
- 1 1/2 cup Water
- 3 large Eggs
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 14 oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 cup white chocolate chips melted
- 2 cups cream cheese frosting canned or homemade (see recipe in below)
- 1/4 cup Christmas colored sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- Grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9 pan
- Mix ingredients for the red velvet cake mix (according to package directions)
- Bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from oven and cool completely
- Add white chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and microwave at 50% power level for 30 seconds. Then stir and heat for an additional 15 seconds then stir until completely melted. Microwave for an another 15 seconds if necessary but do not heat for more than 1 minute total or it may burn.
- After chocolate chips have melted, stir in the condensed milk until completely smooth.
- Once the cake was cooled, poke holes all over the cake using the handle of a wooden spoon.
- Pour the white chocolate mixture over the entire cake and spread it gently into all of the holes.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set.
- After the cake has chilled, spread the cream cream cheese frosting over the entire cake.
- Place the frosted cake back in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Just before serving, add seasonal colored sprinkles.