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slice of cake on a plate with a fork taking a bite out of it

Red Velvet Poke Cake

This red velvet poke cake is an easy dessert that's perfect for holidays and special occasions. It turns out deliciously soft and moist every time!

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Chilling Time 3 hours
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 12
Author Kelsie



  • 15.25- ounce box red velvet cake mix*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 14- ounce can sweetened condensed milk


  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • Red sprinkles or sanding sugar if desired



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13- by 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth (about 2 minutes), stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. Pour into the prepared baking dish and smooth the top.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Set on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake about 1 inch apart. Don’t go all the way to the bottom of the cake—only go about 3/4 of the way to the bottom.
  7. Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly over the top. Cool the cake to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 or 3 hours, until fully cooled. (Overnight is fine!)


  1. When you’re ready to serve the cake, make the frosting.
  2. Combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat until very smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and beat to combine.
  3. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in 4 cups of the powdered sugar. Turn mixer to medium and beat until smooth and fluffy, scraping down the bowl as needed.
  4. If frosting is too thin, you can add a little more powdered sugar.
  5. Spread the frosting evenly over the cake and top with sprinkles. Serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Uneaten cake can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days. Slices can also be stored, tightly wrapped, in the freezer for up to 2 months.
  • *I used Betty Crocker Super Moist Red Velvet cake mix
  • Mini chocolate chips, mini M&Ms, chocolate curls, crushed Oreos, and grated chocolate bars are also fun ways to decorate your cake.