Red Velvet Poke Cake

Red Velvet Poke Cake

Poke cakes have been around for a long, long time. I remember getting recipes for different versions through email “recipe exchanges” back in the early 2000′s. That’s when they popped onto my radar, and I have a feeling that they had been floating around for decades before that. I’ve been wanting to make one for ages, but one of the things holding me back was that every single recipe I found called for box cake mix, jarred toppings and a tub of whipped topping. I’m not necessarily opposed to box mixes in special circumstances, but I was hesitant to make an entire recipe based on packaged ingredients. I put it on the back burner for awhile, but revisited the idea in anticipation of Valentine’s Day. A super moist red velvet cake with a luscious layer of cream cheese frosting? From scratch? Valentine’s perfection!

Red Velvet Poke Cake

I doubled the recipe for my red velvet cupcakes and baked it in a 9×13-inch pan. Once it came out of the oven, I poked holes all over the top using the bottom of a wooden spoon and poured a can of sweetened condensed milk over top. The idea is to let the sweetened condensed milk slowly seep into the cake, giving it a boost of flavor and keeping it incredibly moist. You can’t have red velvet without cream cheese frosting, so once the cake cooled completely, I slathered a modified cream cheese frosting over the top and showered it with some pretty pink, red and white Valentine’s sprinkles.

Red Velvet Poke Cake

This is the red velvet cake of dreams. Also, there may or may not have been a few pieces of cake salvaged from a tupperware container in the back of the fridge a good 10 days after it was made. I thought for sure it would be beyond stale, but shockingly, it was insanely moist and tasted delicious. So, it has some staying power, as well ;-)

Look out, I’m about to go hog wild reinventing from-scratch versions of some of the poke cakes that I’ve been ogling for years!

Red Velvet Poke Cake

One year ago: Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies and How to Make Sushi at Home: Sushi Rice & California Rolls
Two years ago: Best Buttermilk Pancakes
Three years ago: Creme Brûlée

Red Velvet Poke Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

A red velvet cake has holes poked all over it, doused in sweetened condensed milk, and then covered in cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2¼ 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 butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
4¼ cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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.

8. 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.

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123 Responses to “Red Velvet Poke Cake”

  1. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on February 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

    This looks AMAZING! I’ve made your red velvet cupcake recipe before and love it, so I know I’d adore this too!

    Reply

  2. Kristen on February 13, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Yum! My grandma used to do a vanilla poke cake. I bet this is good too

    Reply

  3. Mimi @ Culinary Couture on February 13, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Poke cake from scratch? Sign me up!

    Reply

  4. Jenn on February 13, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Yum! I still haven’t tried a poke cake, but I found this a while ago (I think via Pinterest), and it also from scratch. Chocolate- peanut butter pudding poke cake (right up your alley!). :). http://www.evilshenanigans.com/2012/07/chocolate-peanut-butter-pudding-poke-cake/

    Reply

  5. Averie @ Averie Cooks on February 13, 2013 at 2:50 am

    LOVE poke cakes. I love the huge holes you poked into it – nothing skimpy. For maximum seepage potential! And I love that you’re going to re-do some poke cakes, from scratch. All the ones I see are cake mix and nothing wrong with cake mix, but I also like to reinvent the wheel as often as I can :) Love that this baby was still fresh 10 days later!

    Reply

  6. Heidi @ Bits of Sunshine on February 13, 2013 at 6:22 am

    OH WOW! A whole tin of condensed milk AND cream cheese frosting. this sounds AMAZING!

    Reply

  7. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on February 13, 2013 at 6:38 am

    This sounds so neat! I’ve never made a poke cake before!

    Reply

  8. Thea on February 13, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Oh my… first blog to read this morning – those photos are so mouthwatering!! Delicious and a must make.

    Reply

  9. Ellen @ The Baking Bluenoser on February 13, 2013 at 7:22 am

    This looks so moist and delicious! I have never heard of poke cake before but it’s a genius idea! Thanks :)

    Reply

  10. Dev on February 13, 2013 at 7:33 am

    No buttermilk; can I substitute with something else?

    Reply

    • Eileen on February 13th, 2013 at 9:04 am

      When I don’t have buttermilk on hand (which I seldom ever do) I sour regular milk with a tsp. of lemon juice, or vinegar.

      Reply

      • Eileen on February 13th, 2013 at 9:05 am

        oops, that was meant to be 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Sorry…

        Reply

        • Dev on February 13th, 2013 at 9:27 am

          Thank you so much – so helpful!

          Reply

    • Michelle on February 13th, 2013 at 12:08 pm

      Hi Dev, Ditto Eileen. You can put 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar into a measuring cup, then add milk until it reaches 1 cup. Let it sit for about 5 minutes and it will thicken up to the same consistency as buttermilk.

      Reply

      • Julie @ Table for Two on February 13th, 2013 at 9:25 pm

        So, is it 1 tbsp. of vinegar to every 1 cup of milk?

        Reply

        • Michelle on February 14th, 2013 at 10:37 am

          Hi Julie, Put 1 tablespoon vinegar (or lemon juice) in a measuring cup, then add enough milk to get it to measure 1 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes. Just a note – this is just a substitution trick to replace the buttermilk in the recipe in the event you don’t have or can’t find buttermilk, but doesn’t replace the vinegar actually called for in the recipe.

          Reply

    • Alice on March 9th, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Another option is to keep buttermilk powder around. It keeps forever, and a year after opening. You mix it with water.

      Reply

      • monina on April 29th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        may i know the ratio for powdered buttermilk?

        Reply

  11. Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers on February 13, 2013 at 8:00 am

    Love the cake and love all the pokes in it! Great idea!!! I’m also loving the sprinkles on top, too cute!!

    Reply

  12. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on February 13, 2013 at 8:20 am

    That image of pouring the condensed milk over the cake had me almost drooling! So good!!!

    Reply

  13. Nicky @ Pink Recipe Box on February 13, 2013 at 8:25 am

    That’s the same reason I’ve never made a poke cake before – I really don’t fancy putting a load of pre-made stuff together!
    Love the idea of making it from scratch, though, and I can’t get over how adorable your sprinkles are!

    Reply

  14. Federico on February 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

    Mamma mia!!! Buonissima!!! WOW

    Reply

  15. Eileen on February 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

    I’m with you. I seldom use boxed mixes. It’s not that they don’t taste good, it’s just all of the weird ingredients that go into them that scare me. This cake made from scratch looks so moist and delicious – yum!

    Reply

  16. Terri C on February 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Oh sounds so good!

    Reply

  17. Nicole on February 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

    OMG…I am totally going to make this cake this weekend! Endless possibilities come to mind after seeing this post! I love your blog…it’s always a bright spot in my day! Thanks!

    Reply

  18. Tracey on February 13, 2013 at 9:56 am

    You are an evil genius my friend :) It’s a good thing I don’t have sweetened condensed milk in the house or I might be making this for lunch!

    Reply

    • Janice on February 14th, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      I made my own sweetened condensed milk yesterday. Heat 2 c. whole milk
      3/4 c. sugar until it’s just barely simmering. Reduce heat to low and reduce by half. When reduced to your liking, whisk in 4 Tbs. butter and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

      Reply

  19. Rieneke on February 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Just baked this cake, but it took forever to bake! It took at least 45 minutes for the centre of the cake to be done. The cake itself had also become very high in te middle and flat at the sides… what could be the problem??
    I will finish the cake with frosting but it really doesn’t look all that good to give away as a Valentine’s gift now.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 13th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Rieneke, I’m sorry you had some problems. It definitely should not take that long to bake, and being in there so long is what may have caused the middle to dome up. While the sides will be slightly lower than the middle (you can see that on my cake) the middle shouldn’t rise dramatically. Did you use a 9×13-inch pan, or another size? I would also check to make sure your oven temperature is correct and not running on the cool side, which could also cause that problem.

      Reply

      • Rieneke on February 13th, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        Thanks for the reply! I will try again soon. I think the temperature of my oven might be running low. I scraped off the dome of the cake and covered the rest with the frosting so it still looks pretty good! And the scraps tasted great, so all is not lost!

        Reply

    • Beckie on February 13th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Mine also took almost 45 minutes to bake. I use a separate oven thermometer and it was definitely set at 350 degrees. Mine didn’t dome up though and is sitting and soaking up that yummy condensed milk goodness right now!

      Reply

    • Tracey on February 14th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      I just made it, and the same thing happened to mine: it took 45 minutes to bake and rose high in the middle. It also cracked where it rose. I turned up the heat a bit when I saw how slowly it was baking.

      Reply

      • Tracey on February 14th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

        I baked it in a glass 9 x 13 pan. Could using glass rather than metal make a difference?

        Reply

        • Michelle on February 15th, 2013 at 12:57 am

          Hi Tracey, I baked mine in a glass pan and it definitely didn’t take that long to bake.

          Reply

  20. Marcie @ Flavor The Moments on February 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

    I’m with you on the boxed cake mix thing — from scratch tastes so much better and has quality ingredients. I love red velvet anything, and since I just made red velvet brownies with cream cheese frosting, I’m gonna have to wait to make this cake until those are gone! I could eat both, I guess?

    Reply

  21. KnittyWendy on February 13, 2013 at 10:20 am

    My grandmother used to make an insanely good coconut poke cake. Yellow cake with cream of coconut poured on the top then a tasty white icing with coconut sprinkled on top. Out of this world!

    Reply

  22. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel on February 13, 2013 at 10:22 am

    My old co-worker use to always bring poke cakes to work. Love this one!

    Reply

  23. Dee on February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Okay – so I know this is going to sound silly and hopefully not a stupid question realizing it is RED velvet cake. I try to avoid food coloring — If I don’t add the red coloring will that take away from the moistness since it’s 6 Tablespoons of liquid? I really would like to try this – I do have natural food coloring but it’s really pricey and 6 tablespoons might clean me out!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 13th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Dee, Not a stupid question! You can leave out the food coloring if you’d like (of course the cake won’t have a red color to it), I would just replace it with water so the liquid is not lost.

      Reply

  24. Kristi on February 13, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Do you think you could make these into cupcakes by poking a couple of holes in each cupcake and pouring a little amount of each cupcake? Looks so delish!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 13th, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Kristi, You could definitely do that. Since cupcakes are so much smaller and more delicate, I would probably recommend making smaller holes, using the tines of a fork or a thin skewer.

      Reply

  25. marie @ little kitchie on February 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

    SUCH a pretty cake for Valentine’s Day!!! I lurrrrve poke cakes and this one looks FABULOUS and DECADENT.

    Reply

  26. Annie @ Annie's City Kitchen on February 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Now THIS is a red velvet I can get on board with. People have gone a bit Red Velvet crazy and it seems like real red velvet got lost along to way. So glad to see a classic recipe but even better :)

    Reply

  27. Holiday Baker Man on February 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

    No calories here….but lots of love!

    Reply

  28. Teresa on February 13, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I’m so hungry right now and it looks so good,I could eat the whole pan!

    Reply

  29. Arthur in the Garden! on February 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Mmmmm. Now I know what to do with the can of condensed milk that I have had for years!

    Reply

  30. Melissa @ Treats With a Twist on February 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Yes!! The same thing has always kept me from making a poke cake too! I didn’t want to go buy a bunch of packaged mixes when I don’t bake that way ordinarily. And when I make a cake from scratch, I don’t want people to assume that I just whipped out a few boxes and tah-dah. So glad you made this. It looks amazing!!

    Reply

  31. Diana on February 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    This looks amazing! But as an above poster mentioned, I am also wondering if I can leave the food coloring out – only because my best friend loves red velvet cake but later found out she is allergic to the food coloring.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2013 at 10:29 am

      Hi Diana, You can leave it out, it just obviously won’t be red. I would replace that amount with water.

      Reply

  32. Nik on February 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Another good one is a jello poke cake. You make a white cake, poke holes, pour whatever flavor jello you want over top, and then top with whipped cream and sprinkles. So good!!!

    Reply

  33. Beth on February 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I am so making this tonight! My father has always requested a lemon “poke” cake that was made with a lemon cake mix, lemon jello and a lemon glaze. As the pokes were visable we always did them with a special tiny fork. That cake aways disappeared quickly. Why have I never made a homemade lemon cake as a base?!? Must be time to try!

    Reply

  34. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on February 13, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I love poke cakes..they always turn out so moist!

    Reply

  35. Laketia J on February 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    If you are getting into poke cakes then you should definitely try better than sex cake!!!!!!!

    Reply

  36. Linda L on February 13, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Looks good, but is it overly sweet? (with the condensed milk) I have never made a poke cake and would like to try this, but I don’t want it over sweet.

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Hi Linda, This is always a tough question for me because sweetness is so subjective – what’s too sweet to one person may be fine to someone else. I personally don’t think this is overly sweet – the condensed milk makes the cake incredibly moist.

      Reply

  37. Mia on February 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    MMMMM. I definitely have plans to try this one day!

    Reply

  38. shoegal on February 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    I’ve never had a red velvet cake. the ingredients look like a chocolate cake with the addition of red food coloring.. is that about right? Does it taste different than a chocolate cake?
    Looks incredible

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 14th, 2013 at 10:39 am

      There is actually a lot less chocolate in this (only 5 tablespoons) than if you were to actually make a chocolate cake, so to me, it definitely doesn’t taste like a traditional chocolate cake.

      Reply

      • shoegal on February 14th, 2013 at 11:42 am

        Thanks appreciate the explaination. Hoping to make this tonight!

        Reply

  39. natalie @ wee eats on February 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    I wish this cake could be my valentine….

    Reply

  40. Stephanie (Velez Delights) on February 13, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    This looks great! It’s definitely becoming a part of my future To-Do list! :)

    Reply

  41. Sophia on February 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    I just made this cake! Looks yummy can’t wait to eat it! Did anyone else who has made this note that there was loads of icing left? Iv frozen mine. I made the red velvet cheesecake from this site about a month ago as a treat for my husband when he finished his exams and it went down VERY well! He ate almost all of it on his own lol! He’s been begging for it again but iv been lazy! When I got this recipe thru email this morning I was so happy coz its kinda similar (ok not that similar but he’ll be happy)! And it’s so quick to make. Ingredients are ones u will usually always have. I made it in an oval shaped Pyrex dish and mayb my dish was a bit smaller than 9×13 coz the cake rose quite high but it looks so scrummy! Ur recipes are excellent thank u for being so active on your blog. Xx

    Reply

  42. Paula on February 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    You made an amazing scratch red velvet poke cake! Looking forward to seeing your other made from scratch poke cakes!

    Reply

  43. Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe on February 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    What a decadent cake! I’ve never made (or tried) a poke cake, but it sounds so delicious! Love the red velvet twist on this one, just in time for love day!

    Reply

  44. Andrea Jones on February 14, 2013 at 5:47 am

    I made this last night for my coworkers today! So excited to dig in. My daughter and I “tested” the frosting and it’s the best cream cheese frosting I’ve had so far. Yum!

    Reply

  45. champs on February 14, 2013 at 11:27 am

    This looks so yummy . Going to make it this weekend :)

    Reply

  46. Terri on February 14, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Have you seen “the country cook”s, site? She is a poke cake-aholic. Although most of her recipes are from cake mixes. I hate box cake mixes but it is because I can’t stand the texture. But she has many ideas for different flavors that could easily be adapted to scratch cake options :)

    Reply

  47. nancy on February 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    this cake is by far the best i have ever made, and i do alot of baking, thanks!!!

    Reply

  48. Linda T on February 14, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    Do you know if this cake is moist enough on its own, without the addition of the sweetened condensed milk?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 15th, 2013 at 12:50 am

      Hi Linda, I think it is moist enough on its own; it’s basically the recipe for red velvet cupcakes, but doubled and baked in a 9×13. The cake is quite fluffy and moist.

      Reply

  49. point of sale australia on February 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm

    This is awesome! My mother tried making vanilla poke cake before and it was great! Will try making your recipe one of these days. Thanks for the share!!!

    Reply

  50. Alley @ Alley's Recipe Book on February 14, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    I have never made or had poke cake before. I have heard of it, but I thought it was more for making a striped design when you cut the cake. I will have to try making a poke cake some time!

    Reply

  51. Heidi on February 15, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Hi–Just made the cake yesterday. Mine too, took longer to bake–about 35-40 minutes. But, I wanted to double check the amount of food coloring. I assumed one bottle would be enough, so I just bought one and it was actually only 2 tablespoons (which is the equivalent of 6 teaspoons). I made up the difference in liquid, but I ask because my cake looks just as red as yours and that seems odd since I only used 1/3 of the amount of coloring. Just checking. Love your blog, thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 16th, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Hi Heidi, Yes, the red food coloring measurement was correct (6 tablespoons).

      Reply

    • Marcia Drake on March 25th, 2013 at 9:34 am

      I had the same results as you Heidi. My cake took 35 minutes and I only had one bottle (two tablespoons) and my cake looked very red as well. My family thought it was the best red velvet cake they have ever had. I look forward to Michelle’s posts every morning.

      Reply

  52. Tracy {pale yellow} on February 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    I completely understand about not wanting to make a recipe because of it calling for a boxed cake mix. This is such a great recipe to showcase a typical cake box recipe made from scratch. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  53. Karen Sinclair on February 17, 2013 at 9:53 am

    I made the cake for my Mom’s B-day and I must say the cooking time was somewhat off. I also had to bake for 35-40 minutes. I left out the red food coloring and just added 6 TBL of buttermilk instead. Also, I only made half of the icing which was more than enough for the top of the cake. It was great and will make again. I love your blog and have tried many of the dessert recipes. Thanks for a recipe made from scratch!

    Reply

  54. Mercedes (Satisfy My Sweet Tooth) on February 17, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I love how inevitably moist poke cakes are! This looks delicious and so festive!

    Reply

  55. April Bailey on February 17, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    My daughter and I made this cake today for a birthday party, and it was delicious. I didn’t add 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract to the frosting because I thought that amount was too much. I added 2 teaspoons. The frosting came out perfect. Everyone loved it! This is my new favorite cake recipe!!!

    Reply

  56. Terry on February 18, 2013 at 7:47 am

    I made this over the weekend for my family, they loved it! The only think I added was toasted pecans and coconut to the frosting. My brother said it was super moist. My father went back for seconds and my niece said I make the best cakes. And when asked why she says I cook with love. <3

    Reply

  57. Heather on February 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

    AMAZING! I have been wanting to try a poke cake for awhile, and this one looks perfect

    Reply

  58. Joanne Johnson on February 21, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Would not dulce de leche have more flavor than condensed milk?

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 25th, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      It certainly has more flavor, but it’s a very distinct, caramel-like flavor. I was going for less flavor (I think the flavor the red velvet cake should shine through), but some added moisture.

      Reply

  59. Erin @ Texanerin Baking on February 22, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    I just made this and it is mind-blowingly awesome. I used half whole spelt, less sugar, and used 1/4 cup extra buttermilk + 2 tablespoons water instead of the dye. They’re almost brownie like. I also left out the vinegar because, uh, I couldn’t find it (don’t you love commenters like me who change almost everything? ;)) I’m definitely going to make these again and the only thing I’ll do differently is to use even less sugar. SO SO SO good! Really, thank you for this recipe! There were a lot of red velvet recipes going around before Valentine’s Day and way too many used cake mixes. I live in Germany and red velvet cake mix will never be a thing here so I was so happy to find this recipe! :)

    Reply

  60. Tracy on February 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Looks amazing and so perfect for Valentine’s Day! Lovely photos too!!

    Reply

  61. Lindsay Nadeau on February 27, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Great recipe..red velvet is my favorite! Just a quick question though…I have never used condensed milk for anything other than baking cookies, so is it safe to eat “not baked”? I’mjust a little worried having it plain,and then serving it to my kids, just want to make sure its okay :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on February 27th, 2013 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Lindsay, I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t eat it without baking it.

      Reply

  62. Daphne Reimer on March 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    This cake is absolutely delightful! I made it over the weekend for my family and in-laws and they all gave rave reviews! I did make a few minor adjustments in that I made half the amount of icing, used half the amount of sweetened condensed milk, and instead of using 6 tbsp of red food coloring I did 2 tbsp of food coloring plus 2 tbsp milk, and cut down on the cocoa powder by 2 tbsps and it was still incredibly moist! I would HIGHLY recommend this recipe to others! :)

    Reply

  63. Mariann on March 7, 2013 at 6:49 am

    I was thinking of making this cake for St. Patty’s so instead of the red food coloring can I just replace it with green food coloring? I’ve made quite a few of your recipes and ALL have been a huge hit.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 7th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Hi Mariann, I haven’t used a different color for red velvet cakes before, but I have seen it done. I would think due to the cocoa that your green will be a darker hue than light. Enjoy!

      Reply

  64. rashmi on March 8, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    hi..tried this recipe today….the cake was just yum…but the problem is, here in india, the cream cheese is quite costly so i substituted cream cheese with cottage cheese..but the frosting came out grainy :(. nevertheless the cake tasted great without the frosting as well. could you plz suggest any other frosting that goes with this cake, since i am planning on baking this cake for my nieces’ bday next week :) . I have one more question , my cake rose unevenly, i would like to know y and would it have helped if i had covered it with aluminium foil? sorry for bothering u with so many questions…i m v new to baking….but am loving it…btw LOVE UR BLOG :)

    Reply

  65. Kristin on March 8, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    I have to tell you, this recipe left a lot to be desired. I would suggest using salted butter as opposed to un-salted. Also, you need to add at least 1/3 cup oil to add some substance to this. I found this recipe to be quite bland. The only thing that was good about it was the cream cheese frosting, which by the way, 2 and 1/4 cups of powdered sugar is plenty as cream cheese frosting shouldn’t be too sweet. All this being said, to each her own, but I have to say, I have tried other recipes from you and they have been good-this totally disappointed.

    Reply

  66. pikica on March 23, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Hey, can I use red gel food colour for this cake. And if i can, how many do I have to use? :)) Thank you.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 28th, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      I have tried using gel food coloring in red velvet, but didn’t have as much luck as I do with the liquid food coloring.

      Reply

  67. SweetAngie on March 30, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    I have no experience with poke cakes. How long does it take for the cake to fully absorb the condensed milk?? Can this cake be turned out of its pan, for instance if i was using a 9 inch cake pan, and then be stacked and decorated?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 31st, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      You could do that, but just know that the bottom of the cake can sometimes be moist, if your’e worried about presentation. Usually a piece of tres leches cake has a lot of moisture on the bottom of each piece.

      Reply

  68. Sharon on April 1, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    I made this other day and it is so delicious! I made it with a glass Pyrex dish and the cake cooked perfectly in about 28 minutes.

    Reply

  69. Alice on April 1, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Is it really meant to be 8 Oz of butter rather than 8 tablespoons in the frosting?

    Reply

    • Michelle on April 2nd, 2013 at 11:37 am

      Yes, 8 ounces, which is 2 sticks of butter.

      Reply

  70. Georgia on May 2, 2013 at 1:08 am

    Hi! I was wondering if I could use something else instead of the condensed milk? Do you have any suggestions? Thank you!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 2nd, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Hi Georgia, I’m not really sure what else you could use without knowing why exactly you don’t want to use the sweetened condensed milk – dairy restrictions, taste, etc.? You could try a thick simple syrup just to give it some extra moisture if you’d like.

      Reply

  71. Jenny L. on May 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I just made this cake for friends and it was a huge hit! So great. Thanks for the recipe!

    Reply

  72. Alex G on June 4, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Hi, this recipe looks absolutely scrumptious! I do have a question though that I am hoping you could provide me some guidance on… I will be baking for a fairly large group of people (including quite a few kids), so I was thinking of doubling the recipe, i.e. making two layers of cake and then more frosting to cover the whole thing so it is birthday cake like. Do you think this cake has the structural integrity for that? I have never made poke cake before so not sure if the pokes make it less sturdy! Also, in your opinion, how much frosting would I need? Lots of questions, I know, but I appreciate any help you could provide! Thanks :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on June 5th, 2013 at 9:28 am

      Hi Alex, I have never done a layer cake with a poke cake, I’m not sure how it would hold up. Pouring the sweetened condensed milk and caramel over a layer cake might end up a bit messy. In a 9×13, the ends of the pan helps hold in the liquid while it seeps into the cake.

      Reply

  73. cielo on July 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    Is this the same recipe for your red velvet cupcakes, well, except that you pour over condensed milk? :)

    Reply

    • cielo on July 18th, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Is this the same recipe for your red velvet cupcakes, well, except that you pour over condensed milk? :)

      I already saw the answer to my question :) thanks!

      Reply

  74. Neal on August 6, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I’m planning on making this over the weekend and can’t wait! Should I use salted or unsalted butter for the frosting?

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 6th, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      Hi Neal, You could use salted butter, or unsalted butter with a pinch of salt added.

      Reply

  75. Neal on August 8, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    Okay, one last question! I’m going to make this tomorrow night for my mother’s birthday on Saturday (I’m a novice baker and this is my first cake!!). I’m planning on baking the cake on Friday night, storing it in the fridge overnight, and frosting it in the morning. Should I poke the holes and add the condensed milk on Friday night, or should I wait until Saturday morning to poke the holes and add the condensed milk right before frosting? Any help or advice is greatly appreciated!!!

    Reply

    • Michelle on August 9th, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Hi Neal, You’ll want to poke holes and add the condensed milk on Friday night. Enjoy the cake!

      Reply

  76. Jaclyn on September 10, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    Hi. i made this last night. The texture was perfect! However, i think the coloring should be reduced to half? Because it’s came out quite bitter at the top. I have another recipe which i made previously (cupcakes) with similar amounts of flour/sugar, the coloring required was only about 2.5 tbsp. ^^ Just wondering if that caused the bitter after taste in my red velvet. I didn’t add much condensed milk because worried it would be too sweet.

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 12th, 2013 at 10:42 am

      Hi Jaclyn, If you left out some of the sweetened condensed milk, that could have made it less sweet (i.e. more bitter). However, you may also want to try a different brand of food coloring; some of them have off-tastes.

      Reply

  77. yummy sweet ideas on January 8, 2014 at 1:51 am

    Wow! So delicious. I love it. You are sharing such a yummy recipe. I never heard this recipe name before.

    Reply

  78. monique on January 22, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Hi, im always a bid fan of your blog. I love cupcakes so is it possible if i do use this recipe and the poke nethod on a cupcake? pls help me… i was so depress because redvelvet cupcakes are always dry after 2-3 days. Pls pls help me… im always searching for the moistiest red velvet cupcake ever thanks .

    Reply

  79. Marly on January 26, 2014 at 10:43 am

    This cake looks too pretty to eat! Wait…did I just say that? Just kidding!

    Reply

  80. Sandy on January 31, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Made this following your exact recipe and it was absolutely delicious. I am not a huge red velvet fan but my husband is and so I made it for his Birthday. Your directions were so clear and easy to follow and it was a fun cake to make. I did have to add an additional 5 minutes to the cooking time using a metal pan but it seems most things have a range of how long it takes based in personal variables. Anyways., thanks for the great recipe. If you are a fan of Red Velvet, this won’t disappoint. I think I actually liked this more bc of the Sweetened Condensed Milk addition.

    Reply

  81. Nicole on February 10, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Made this last night…super moist and yummy! I was even able to adapt the recipe for my lactose free hubby!

    Reply

  82. angela on February 13, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Just made cake. Its in oven. Confused bout food coloring. I bout thepkg of food coloring and the red was small, only gave me 1 tbsp. So i used 5 tbsp water but cake still was really red so i dont know if i just had strong food coloring…?

    Reply

  83. Aileen on March 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Made it yesterday for my uncles’ anniversary and wooow! I’ve tried nothing like it before, the chocolate with the red colour, the condensed milk and the cream chesse everything was just perfect! Sending you a huge thank you from Argentina!

    Reply

  84. mary evans on March 24, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    I’m all for the cakes made from scratch but there was a red velvet poke cake made with a box mix where you bake the cake as directed then you pour 2 BOXES of LEMON jello into the holes then cool cake.Then you mix a box of COOK VANILLA PUDDING along with other ingredients and then you pour this over the cold cake and serve warm or cold. I want to make the one with the box cake for my kids and the one from scratch for me my kids won’t eat CREAM CHEESE FROSTING does anyone have the box cake recipe?I already bought the mix And the LEMON Jello and COOK BOX OF VANILLA PUDDING I HAVE been looking all over face book for that recipe any help WOULD be appreciated thanks

    Reply

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