Easy Christmas Poke Cake Recipe

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2 hours 35 minutes

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This Christmas Poke Cake is a fun and festive dessert that’s perfect for the holiday season. Made with boxed cake mix, white chocolate, and a cream cheese frosting, this delicious cake recipe will be the star of your holiday dessert table!

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Originally published November 2021 – Updated October 2023

A slice of red velvet cake on a plate with a fork.

Christmas Poke Cake Recipe

The Christmas holiday season is the most wonderful time of the year for baking and enjoying new treats. With all the all the festive desserts to chose from, there’s something truly special about this decadent holiday poke cake. After one bite of this delicious creation, it’s guaranteed to become one of your new favorites!

With a moist, red velvet cake topped with homemade, cream cheese frosting and festive sprinkles, it’s different from other poke cakes in that it doesn’t use Jello. Instead, this cake uses velvety sweetened condensed milk, drizzled over the entire cake. It’s soft, moist, and beautifully decorated, perfect for a easy Christmas dessert!

If you’re obsessed with how easy and delicious these types of cakes are, be sure to check out this Strawberry Poke Cake and this Oreo Poke Cake.

What is a Poke Cake?

If you haven’t guessed already, a poke cake is a cake that you poke holes in after the cake is cool. The holes then are filled with Jell-O, pudding, or chocolate sauce, caramel or sweetened condensed milk, like in this recipe.

Why We Love Poke Cake Recipes

  • Easy to make: This easy Christmas cake is super easy to prepare using a boxed cake mix a a few other simple ingredients.
  • Perfect for holiday parties: It’s a beautiful and colorful cake that’s perfect for any holiday gathering.
  • Sweet and decadent: Unlike a Jello poke cake recipe, you make this cake by drizzling sweetened condensed milk in the holes. SO good!

Ingredients

Ingredients for Christmas Poke Cake
  • Red velvet cake mix
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • White chocolate chips
  • Cream cheese icing
  • Red and green Christmas sprinkles
  • White chocolate curls

How To Make A Christmas Poke Cake

Step 1: Prepare the cake mix as directed on the directions on the box.

Note: If you don’t have red velvet mix, you can use white cake mix instead. Just add a little bit of food coloring to get that holiday red color.

Step 2: Bake in a 13×9 pan. You’ll know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

A cake in a pan with decorations around it.

Step 3: Place the white chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chips are completely melted.

Chocolate and condensed milk in bowls

Step 4: In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate with condensed milk. Stir until completely smooth.

White chocolate and condensed milk

Step 5: Let the cake cool slightly. Then use the end of a wooden spoon to make the holes in the cake. Make sure the holes are all over the top and in the corners too.

Red velvet cake with holes

Step 6: Once the cake is poked, pour the white chocolate mixture over the top of the cake, pushing it gently into the holes. You want it to saturate the cake.

Chocolate and condensed milk mixture over cake

Step 7: Chill the cake in the fridge at least 30 minutes, or until the chocolate and condensed milk mixture has set.

Red velvet poke cake with chocolate

Step 8: After chilling for 30 minutes, spread cream cheese frosting evenly across the top. Refrigerate the cake until ready to serve.

Christmas poke cake frosted

Step 9: Just before serving, top the cake with your favorite Christmas sprinkles and white chocolate curls.

Sprinkles on Christmas Poke Cake

Christmas Cake Substitutions and Variations

This cake is easy to make your own just by switching out the ingredients for whatever you’ve got in your pantry.

  • Cake: This recipe works best with red velvet cake just because it makes it feel more like a holiday cake. However, you can make this recipe with any cake mix you like.
  • Filling: Instead of sweetened condensed milk and white chocolate chips, you can use instant French vanilla pudding or even cheesecake pudding for a fun twist.
  • Frosting: This recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, but any type of vanilla frosting works. Light and fluffy Cool Whip or homemade whipped topping is also a great substitution.
  • Toppings: Add more color by drizzling red raspberry or strawberry sauce over the cream cheese frosting before decorating with sprinkles and white chocolate curls.
Christmas Poke Cake in pan

Tips for Making A Delicious Christmas Poke Cake

  • Make big holes: I recommend using the handle of a wooden spoon handle so that the holes are fairly big. You can also use a large fork to poke holes, but just make sure to wiggle it a little in order to make the holes larger. Be sure to poke all the way down to the bottom of the cake.
  • Use all the milk: Once you allow the cake to cool, don’t be afraid that pouring the sweetened condensed milk over the cake will make it too wet. As it chills, the cake soaks in all in, making it moist, but not soggy.
  • Let it sit: You’ll want to place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, but a few hours is even better. This gives the cake time to soak in all the milk.
  • Wait to decorate: The dye in the sprinkles may run when added to top of the frosting. For best results, wait until you’re ready to serve to add them.
Christmas cake on plates

Storage Instructions

Leftover cake should be covered in plastic wrap and kept refrigerated. It’ll stay good for up to three days but my bet is that it’ll be gone long before then!

Red velvet cake with Christmas toppings
Can This Cake Be Frozen?

You can freeze cakes but it’s best to freeze the cake before you frost it. Poke the holes and fill the cake with your chocolate mixture. Next, wrap the cake tightly in the pan with plastic wrap, then foil. Once frozen, it should last for up to two months.

To thaw, place the frozen cake in the fridge for for up to 48 hours before you want to eat it. Once it thaws out, top it with the frosting and sprinkles.

Red velvet Christmas cake

Can I Make This Dessert Ahead Of Time?

Yes! This is the perfect dessert to make in advance. You can make the cake several hours up to a day day before your party or holiday gathering. Then when dessert time rolls around, you’ll be ready!

Christmas Poke Cake with bite removed

Can I Make Christmas Poke Cake with Jello?

The red velvet has a subtle chocolate flavor, so you’ll have to keep that in mind when thinking about a filling. Red and green Jello mixes have a strong fruity flavors that don’t work with this recipe.

If you want to make a Christmas Jello poke cake, you could use a vanilla or white cake mix and red gelatin instead.

Bite of Christmas Poke Cake on fork

Want More Christmas Dessert Recipes?

If you liked this easy recipe, you’ll want to check these desserts out too!

Christmas Poke Cake recipe card
4.71 from 84 votes

Christmas Poke Cake Recipe


Course Desserts & Sweets
Cuisine American
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 35 minutes
This Christmas Poke Cake is always a crowd pleaser and it's the perfect easy recipe for the holidays!

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • Bake cake according to instructions on box
    1 box red velvet cake mix
  • Place white chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between, until the chips are completely melted
    1 cup white chocolate chips
  • In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate with condensed milk. Stir until completely smooth.
    14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • Once the cake has cooled slightly, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes throughout the cake.
  • Pour the white chocolate mixture over the top of the cake, pushing it gently into the holes. 
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until the chocolate and condensed milk mixture has set.
  • After chilling for 30 minutes, spread cream cheese frosting evenly across the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    16 ounces cream cheese frosting
  • Just before serving, top the cake with your favorite Christmas sprinkles and white chocolate curls.
    1/4 cup Christmas sprinkles, 2 tablespoons white chocolate curls

Video

Notes

You can easily change this recipe by using different cake mixes, fillings and frosting! For example, use a strawberry cake mix and pink sprinkles for Valentine’s Day or change it up to fit any other holiday you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 779kcal | Carbohydrates: 125g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 22mg | Sodium: 637mg | Potassium: 446mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 104g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 268mg | Iron: 3mg
The nutrition information provided is an estimate and can vary based on cooking methods and ingredients used.

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When using pudding do I do the direction on the putting box?

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