Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — If you like red velvet, you’re going to LOVE this EASY red velvet cake recipe!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!

Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - If you like red velvet, you're going to LOVE this EASY cake!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!

Easy Red Velvet Cake Idea

I usually only make a red velvet dessert about once a year, usually for Christmas or Valentine’s Day, but this easy red velvet poke cake recipe reminded me that I need to do it more often. 

It’s fast, easy, and it’s a poke cake so it’s automatically super soft and moist which is the only way I want my cake.

Any time a cake is infused with sweetened condensed milk, it’s going to be moist and tender and this one definitely is.

The tangy cream cheese frosting perfectly complements the red velvet flavor, as do the mini chocolate chips.

Everyone will be stuffing their faces with this moist red velvet poke cake. It’s perfect for holidays, parties, and special events.

Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - If you like red velvet, you're going to LOVE this EASY cake!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!

What’s a Poke Cake? 

Poke cakes get their name because after baking you poke holes in the cake and drizzle in sweetened condensed milk and sometimes caramel sauce, but with this one I just used sweetened condensed milk.

I’ve made plenty of others including chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, pumpkin, s’mores, turtle, and more.

Ingredients in Red Velvet Poke Cake

To keep this cake super easy, I made the recipe using red velvet box cake mix. Once it’s doctored up with chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk, it tastes homemade! 

Here’s what you’ll need for the poke cake: 

  • Red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Cream cheese
  • Unsalted butter
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Salt
  • Mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - If you like red velvet, you're going to LOVE this EASY cake!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!

How to Make Red Velvet Poke Cake

It doesn’t get much simpler (or tastier!) than this red velvet dessert. Here’s an overview of how the cake is made: 

  1. Make the boxed red velvet cake mix as instructed on its packaging (you’ll likely need to add oil, eggs, and water). 
  2. Once baked, poke the cake all over with the end of a wooden spoon and drizzle the sweetened condensed milk over top.
  3. Pop the red velvet cake into the fridge to cool a bit before spreading the homemade cream cheese frosting on top.
  4. Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
  5. Return to the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours.

Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - If you like red velvet, you're going to LOVE this EASY cake!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!

Can I Make Homemade Red Velvet Cake Instead?  

Yes, you’re welcome to make the red velvet cake from scratch using your favorite recipe.

You might be able to double this Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe and bake it as a cake instead of cupcakes as well, but I can’t say for sure if this method will yield the same results. 

Can I Use Store-Bought Frosting? 

Of course! You can make scratch cream cheese frosting or to save time use store-bought cream cheese frosting in a tub. It’s okay, really it is, there’s no baking judgment here.

Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting — If you like red velvet, you're going to LOVE this EASY red velvet cake recipe!! Super soft, moist, topped with luscious cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!

Tips for the Best Red Velvet Cake

When making this red velvet poke cake, it’s essential that you evenly distribute the sweetened condensed milk among all the holes you poked into the cake.

It may not look like enough sweetened condensed milk, but remember that it’s incredibly strong and sweet. One can is the perfect amount! 

For the homemade cream cheese frosting, be sure to use brick-style cream cheese and not the kind that comes in a tub. Brick-style cream cheese makes for the richest, creamiest frosting. 

Lastly, this red velvet poke cake recipe can easily be prepped in advance. I actually think it tastes better when you let it sit in the fridge overnight! 

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4.48 from 94 votes

Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

By Averie Sunshine
This easy red velvet cake recipe is super moist and topped with cream cheese frosting and chocolate chips! Perfect for holidays and special events!!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooling Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 16
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Ingredients  

Red Velvet Cake

  • one 16.25-ounce box red velvet cake mix, I used Duncan Hines
  • one 14-ounce can sweetend condensed milk

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened (lite okay)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened (half of 1 stick)
  • 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¾ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, I prefer mini but regular size may be substituted

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13-inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Make cake according to package directions (likely adding 3 eggs, water, and oil) and bake as directed (likely about 25 to 28 minutes).
  • Remove cake from the oven when it’s done, allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, and then using the blunt end of a wooden spoon, poke holes over the surface of the cake. I didn’t count but I estimate I poked about 60 holes, evenly spaced over the surface.
  • Slowly pour the sweetened condensed milk mixture over the holes, taking your time to evenly distribute it so that all the holes receive some.
  • Place cake in fridge to cool for at least 10 minutes while you make the frosting or before adding canned frosting so it doesn’t melt.
  • To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and handheld electric mixer) add the cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy. Add additional confectioners’ sugar if necessary for consistency.
  • Turn frosting out onto cake and spread into a smooth, even, flat layer using a spatula or knife.
  • Evenly sprinkle with chocolate chips.
  • Refrigerate cake for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before serving.

Notes

  • If you'd rather make homemade red velvet cake, you can probably double this red velvet cupcake recipe, although I haven’t tested it.
  • You can use store-bought cream cheese frosting, if desired. You'd likely need to use one-and-a-half to two 14-ounce tubs whipped cream cheese frosting.
  • Cake will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 392kcal, Carbohydrates: 52g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 244mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 47g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

More Valentine’s Day Recipes:

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} — Made in 1 bowl, no mixer, so easy, and the cupcakes taste like they’re from a bakery!

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting {From Scratch} - Made in 1 bowl, no mixer & the cupcakes taste like they're from a bakery! Easy recipe at averiecooks.com

Soft Frosted Valentine’s Heart Cookies — These easy cookies are soft, chewy, dense, made in one bowl, and you don’t have to roll them out.

Overhead picture of Soft Frosted Valentine’s Heart Cookies on a white plate

Red Velvet Chocolate-Swirled Brownie Bars {from scratch, not cake mix} — These easy bars topped with an abundance of chocolate are velvety soft and smooth! They don’t call it red velvet for nothing!

Red Velvet Chocolate-Swirled Brownie Bars {from scratch, not cake mix} - These easy bars topped with an abundance of chocolate are velvety soft and smooth! They don't call it red velvet for nothing!

Valentine’s Day Vanilla Pudding Sugar Cookie Bars – A sugar cookie crust topped with creamy vanilla pudding, whipped topping, and sprinkles!! A luscious and EASY Valentine’s Day dessert that will put everyone in festive spirits!!

Overhead picture of a pan of Valentine’s Day Vanilla Pudding Sugar Cookie Bars

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies — The softest, moistest, gooiest cookies ever! They’re so buttery they just melt in your mouth!

Red Velvet Gooey Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - The softest, moistest, gooiest cookies ever! They're so buttery they just melt in your mouth!

The Best and Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes — One bowl, no mixer, so easy! The warm, gooey, fudgy chocolate lava cake center is heavenly! Better than any restaurant versions! Best chocolate cake EVER!!

The Best and Easiest Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes on a white plate

Valentine’s Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars – Sugar cookie bars are so much FASTER AND EASIER than making sugar cookies!! The sprinkles and tangy cream cheese frosting help to make the bars a PERFECT Valentine’s Day treat!!

Stack of Valentine’s Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Originally posted December 2, 2016 and reposted February 11, 2022 with updated text.

4.48 from 94 votes (89 ratings without comment)

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Please note: I have only made the recipe as written, and cannot give advice or predict what will happen if you change something. If you have a question regarding changing, altering, or making substitutions to the recipe, please check out the FAQ page for more info.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made the red velvet poke cake with cream cheese and chocolate chips. Very delicious and moist. I recommend this cake recipe. I will make it again.

  2. 5 stars
    Made the red velvet poke cake with cream cheese and chocolate chips. Very delicious and moist. I recommend this cake recipe. I will make it again.

  3. I’ve made several poke cakes and my favorites are the ones with SCM and caramel. I feel like one can doesn’t make it gooey enough. I’m wondering if two cans would work or one can and some else…

    1. You don’t need two cans of SCM in my opinion for this one, maybe a can and a half. I feel like two cans would be too soggy but you can see how it looks and take it from there. The frosting helps to keep it super moist and gooey.

      I have other poke cakes too in case you want to check these out https://www.averiecooks.com/tag/poke-cake/ The Salted Caramel Carrot Cake one is ridiculously moist! And Pumpkin Caramel but it’s not pumpkin ‘season’ right now.

  4. I love this!! Red velvet is one of my favorites…and I could drink SCM so soaking a cake with it, perfection.

  5. I’m in the same boat as you with making one red velvet dessert a year! I’ve never made a poke cake before, but I think I may start with this one. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  6. OH BABY. I think you have just enough frosting and chocolate chips on top! This is a gorgeous poke cake, Averie!

  7. Just starting with Red Velvet Poke Cake looks super even this time of morning. Let my hubby sleep, got on the computer and found all these luscious desserts. Are those choc chip red velvet cookies not to gooey that you can pick them up in your hand or do you need a fork? Been looking for some new recipes to try including anything with peanut butter (house favorite) I must try this cake, even tho admit to being a chocolate lover, but the cake looks yum.
    I didn’t look ahead to see if the recipes are printable hope ,so. Susan

  8. Averie, whenever you make anything red velvet you do a great job photographing it. The red color is so vibrant in your sweets. This year you made a number of poke cakes! :) have a great day

    1. I had a really busy year and they are fast and easy to make, and people love them :) Thanks for the photography compliments!

  9. I didn’t think red velvet cake could get any better but you did it!!! It looks amazing–I can imagine how good it tastes.☺