Red Velvet Poke Cake

Here is the recipe…

Recipe adapted from here

Red Velvet Poke Cake
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Red Velvet Poke Cake

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Course: Cake, Dessert
Cuisine: Baking
Servings: 12
Author: Maria Jose Martin


  • For the Cake:
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (at room temperature)
  • cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk (refer notes for substitute)
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 1 12-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • For the Frosting:
  • 8 ounces 224 gms butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces 224 gms cream cheese, at room temperature
  • cups powdered sugar (refer notes)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract


  • Make the Cake:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
  • On medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to high and add the eggs. Scrape down the bowl and beat until well incorporated.
  • In a separate small bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, vanilla extract and red food coloring to make a thick paste. Add to the batter and mix on medium speed until completely combined. You may need to stop the mixer to scrape the bottom of the bowl, making sure that all the batter gets color.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add half of the buttermilk. Add half of the flour and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and repeat the process with the remaining milk and flour. Beat on high until smooth, about 1 minutes.
  • Again, reduce the mixer speed to low and add the salt, baking soda and vinegar. Turn to high and beat for another 2 minutes until completely combined and smooth.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top into an even layer with a spatula. Bake until a thin knife or skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the top of the cake. You can use the end of a wooden spoon, a skewer, the tines of a fork, etc. Slowly pour the can of condensed milk all over the top of the cake, making sure to drizzle it evenly all over the top. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting and decorating.
  • Make the Frosting:
  • Using a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the butter and cream cheese on high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl down as necessary. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until all is incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Increase the speed to medium high and whip for a few minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  • Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cake and decorate as desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


I used Duncan Hines brand cake mix. If you are using cake mix like me, bake the cake according to package instructions.
1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar + enough milk to make 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes
I had some left over cake batter and made 3 std size cupcakes with them. So if you want you can try this as cupcake as well, but making it as a single cake is easier and less messier.
I used Philadelphia Full Fat cream cheese spread for icing, I used butter at room temp and cold cheese to make icing. Also I used only 2.5 cups of icing sugar and 1 tbsp vanilla essence.
You can make the cake 2 days ahead and cover it with cling film and refrigerate. Though the cake is pretty moist straight out of the fridge, I kept it at room temp for 20-25 mins, before serving.
Tried this recipe? Let others know by...mentioning @mariasmenu or tagging #mariasmenu



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52 thoughts on “Red Velvet Poke Cake”

  1. Hey Maria…. I had initially messaged you asking you how to get my cakes right as I was not getting it correct..

    But this time , its to thank you..I studies my oven properly and started trying your recipes and sooo soo very happy that its cumng out well..

    I tried red velvet cake and white chocolate cake too. Both was really tasty. Hope to try more f ua recipes. :)

    • Hi Roshini,

      For this particular recipe, I used a box cake, as mentioned on the site. However, I’ve used Foster Clarks red colour for making Red Velvet Cupcakes..

  2. hi maria..ur recipies r awsum…..specially ur red velvt cake…..i tried it. fantastic taste…hoping mor recipies lik dis from u..

  3. Hi Maria,

    I doubt if the colour measurement of 6 tablespoon is correct. I used Bush Red colour (in India) and added as per the recipe and it turned to be very very salty.
    I was very disappointed as the cake was a surprise for my daughter’s birthday. Could you please check if the ingredients and measurements are correct

    • Hi Sibi,

      I’m so sorry to hear that the cake didnt come out well :((

      As I’ve mentioned in the notes section of the recipe, I used box cake to make this. But some of my readers and friends have tried this recipe with baking cake from scratch and nobody has mentioned about the cake being salty. So I’m not sure why it happened like that.

      I do hope it comes out well next time, if you plan to give it a chance one more time. May be you can try reducing the colour n see. I do hope that it comes out great and it will cheer up your daughter.

      Once again, I’m sorry it didnt work out on such a special occasion.


  4. Hi Maria
    Made this cake it is taking more time to bake than what said in the recipe..I kept in 350f for 30mins bt when I inserted the skewer it was still liquidy..didn’t come it clean??!!..
    Is it like that or did I make a mistake smwhr?

    • Hi Anitha,

      Though it’s mentioned 30 mins, the timing may vary depending on the size of the cake tin and also for diff ovens.

      I do hope it came out well in the end.


      • Hi Maria
        Yes..that might b the reason as i used a diffent kind of baking dish than wht was given in ur recipe..i baked the cake for almost 45 to 50mns. Anyway the cake came out excellant!!.. My hubby and son lovd it to the core!!..thanku soo much for the recipe

  5. Hey, I made the red velvet poke cake for my birthday too…it was amazing and moist and also had that distinct astringent taste of a great velvet cake…

    All of the recipes that I have tried till date have been nothing less than great! Thanks :) :)

  6. Hi Maria,

    I am eager to try out your cake recipe..A request from me..Can you give the ingredients measurements in weight (gms) instead of cups.. I had previous instances when the cup measurements did’nt give best results.

  7. Hi Shalini,

    Thank you so much for your comment :) Great to know that you like the blog!

    Yep, I try my best to reply to each and every comment n mail, though it might take some time ;)

    No need to change the temp, but baking time can be reduced to 20 mins or so. However keep a close watch after first 15 mins..

    yep white vinegar is same as natural vinegar.

    Hope you get to try this soon and like it too..

    Happy baking :)


  8. Hi Maria

    Great fan of your blog. The recipes of urs can be tried with no doubt :)

    I would like to know if i can use paneer to make cream cheese frosting?


    • Hi Tammut,

      Thank you! Nice to know that you like the recipes here..

      I havent tried using paneer, so I’m not sure. If you are based in India, you can use Amul cheese spread instead of cream cheese.

  9. Happy Bday dear Maria… Sweet snap of you and your dear ones! And the cake looks stunning too,will try for sure!

  10. Wishing you the treasure of happy yesterdays and the gift of bright
    tomorrows……….belated happy birthday maria…………nice pic dear

  11. Oops sorry! It turns out I had asked u the same last year, and u had added a note to that recipe asking us to use amul cheese spread instead! thx :) So my query is answered I guess

  12. Hey Maria! I loooove red velvet cake, and have baked it before. I just have one problem. Cream cheese isn’t available out here in India.. Would u share how to make cream cheese at home? I hope u knw.. pls help me out! thx!


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