Christmas Red Velvet Poke Cake — The EASIEST and most impressive red velvet Christmas cake! You’ll have your friends and family thinking you’re a rock star pastry chef! Moist red velvet cake is infused with white chocolate pudding, then topped with whipped topping, sprinkles, and white chocolate curls! Ready in ONE HOUR and uses shortcut ingredients to make your job as easy and hassle-free as possible!
Easiest Christmas Cake Idea
Especially when they’ve got white chocolate pudding poked into the center, are topped with a thick layer of whipped cream, sprinkled with Christmas-themed sprinkles, and garnished with white chocolate curls.
If you’re thinking, oh that looks hard, looks complicated…you’re wrong!
This red velvet Christmas cake is as easy as it gets. In fact, it’s so easy that it’ll be ready from start to finish in one hour.
I use plenty of convenience ingredients like cake mix, pudding mix, and Cool Whip to make your pre-holiday life in the kitchen as stress-free as possible because life outside the kitchen is always stressful before the holidays.
This is a messy, ooey-gooey, moist and juicy kind of cake. White chocolate pudding oozes out in every bite. Basically this is the definition of my perfect cake!
Ingredients in Red Velvet Christmas Cake
This Christmas red velvet poke cake is an example that a very impressive and festive-looking recipe does not need to have many ingredients!
You will simply need the following easy to find fridge and pantry items for this Christmas cake:
- Red velvet cake mix (plus the ingredients needed that the box calls for)
- White chocolate instant pudding mix
- Whipped topping (such as Cool Whip)
- Green food coloring
- Christmas-colored sprinkles
- White chocolate candy bar
How to Make a Red Velvet Christmas Cake
Wondering how to make boxed red velvet cake better? Follow this recipe to find out!
Even though this holiday red velvet poke cake looks difficult, I promise you’ll have it ready from start to finish in under an hour! Follow these easy steps for for a festive, doctored up red velvet cake mix cake.
Step 1: Make and bake the red velvet box cake according to the package directions.
Step 2: Cool the cake for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Mix together the pudding mix and milk while the cake cools.
Step 4: After 15 minutes poke holes all over the cake.
Step 5: Pour the pudding mixture over the cake and allow it to set for 10 minutes.
Step 6: While waiting, fold the green food coloring into the Cool Whip.
Step 7: Smooth it over the cake.
Step 8: Evenly sprinkle the sprinkles.
Step 9: Garnish with white chocolate curls.
Do I Have to Use a Red Velvet Box Cake?
For those of you who are anti-cake mix or don’t have cake mix in your area, there is a possibility you could make a scratch red velvet cake.
I would use my time-tested 2013 recipe for scratch Red Velvet Cupcakes. Make a double batch of the batter and use most of it. You may not need quite all of it though. Use common sense and don’t overfill your 9×13-inch pan.
If you have too much batter for a 9×13-inch pan, don’t throw out the excess! Pour it into cupcake tins or another small baking dish and bake it off. Cook’s treat!
Although my red velvet recipe is easy and straightforward, using red velvet cake mix is easier, faster, and you’ll have fewer overall ingredients to buy. No shame in doctoring up a box of red velvet cake mix! No one will never know, nor should they care.
What Brand of Cake Mix Do You Recommend?
As far as cake mixes go, I tend to be most loyal to Duncan Hines but use what brand you know and like.
Can I the White Chocolate Pudding Be Substituted?
I use Jello White Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix. However, if you can’t find it, regular instant vanilla pudding mix is fine. Cheesecake flavored pudding would also be delicious.
If you don’t have pudding mix in your area of the world, there are no substitutions that I can think of that will work in its place.
Also, make sure to use real cold cow’s milk. Pudding didn’t use to set up with plant-based milks, although maybe that has changed. I don’t know and wouldn’t chance it.
Can I Use Cook and Serve Pudding?
No! Do not accidentally grab Cook and Serve pudding. You want instant pudding mix.
Can I Use Sugar-Free or Fat-Free Pudding?
I have never tried using sugar free or fat free versions so can’t speak to how your results will be.My guess is that they will “work” enough to get the job done, but not taste as good nor have the ability to create the same thicker texture.
Can I Use Homemade Whipped Cream?
In my opinion, whipped topping such as Cool Whip is superior to homemade whipped cream for poke cake recipes like this one.
That’s because Cool Whip doesn’t deflate at anywhere near the rate nor to the degree that real whipped cream does.
Although if for some reason you do want to make scratch whipped cream and use it, go ahead. But know that it will deflate and you should plan on consuming the cake within 24 hours or so of making it.
How to Make White Chocolate Curls
Once you get then hang of making chocolate curls, it’s one of those oddly soothing activities that make you feel like a rock star pastry chef seeing all the pretty chocolate curls you’ve made.
Here’s how I make my white chocolate curls:
- To make white chocolate curls to top your red velvet poke cake, grab a sharp and quality vegetable peeler. Don’t use that beat up old thing in the back of your drawer because it just won’t work.
- Use a white chocolate candy bar that has a higher fat content, such as Lindt. The higher fat content will help the chocolate curl easier rather than just breaking.
- Start on the long side of the candy bar and pull down on the candy bar in one smooth long motion to get the best chocolate curls.
How Long Does Red Velvet Christmas Cake Last?
You should store your Christmas cake masterpiece airtight in the fridge. It will keep airtight for up to 5 days but I bet it won’t last that long if you or your family members are anything like me and mine!
Can I Make the Cake Ahead of Time?
If you plan on serving the cake to guests, I recommend eating it within 48 hours of preparing it. The pudding will have soaked into the cake perfectly by that point, without getting to the point where each bite seems soggy.
Tips for the Best Christmas Cake
This is such an fast and easy Christmas cake idea to make, and I’ve covered it all other than a couple little tricks:
Add food coloring to the batter: If you want a really intense red, red, red velvet cake, add a few drops of red food coloring to the cake mix batter before you bake it.
Add additional food coloring to the whipped topping: The same holds true for the green Cool Whip. Depending on how green or intense you want it, add additional green food coloring as desired. Mine is not super bold but you can make it St. Patrick’s Day green if you want!
Poking holes in the cake: When poking the holes in the cake, use the blunt end of a wooden spoon. Poke the holes about one-quarter inch apart. Poke down about two-thirds of the way down. Don’t “bottom out” and poke all the way do the bottom of the cake pan.
If you don’t have a wooden spoon, use another similar object taking care that it’s big enough to create sufficiently-sized holes that the pudding can seep down in. If the holes are too small, the pudding can’t sink in.
Regardless, there will still be a layer of pudding on top of the cake, but you want some at least to sink into the holes.
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Christmas Red Velvet Poke Cake
- 1 box red velvet cake mix, plus ingredients listed on the box to make it
- two 3.3-ounce boxes white chocolate pudding mix
- 4 cups real cow's milk, cold (2% or whole is preferred)
- 8- ounce container whipped topping, thawed
- green food coloring, as desired
- Christmas-themed sprinkles, as desired
- 1 large white chocolate candy bar
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray a 9x13-inch pan very well with cooking spray; set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl, add the red velvet cake mix, the other ingredients called for on the box (likely eggs, oil, water), and mix as directed. Tip - If you want a really intense red, red, red velvet cake, add a few drops of red food coloring to the cake mix batter.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Start checking at 20 minutes for doneness.
- Allow cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Use the blunt end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake, spaced about ¼-inch apart and about two-thirds of the way don't; don't poke all the way down to the bottom. *** (See Notes)
- Evenly pour the pudding over the top of the cake, smoothing it lightly with a spatula to help encourage it to settle into the holes. Allow it to rest and settle in for 5 to 10 minutes. Note that there will still be a layer of pudding on top of the cake but you want some to settle into the holes.
- While it rests, transfer whipped topping into a mixing bowl, add green food coloring, and lightly fold to combine. Add food coloring as necessary for your desired shade of green.
- Evenly spread this over the top of the cake.
- Evenly sprinkle the sprinkles as desired.
- Evenly sprinkle them over the cake before serving. Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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