Red Velvet Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Swim Workout

Happy Saturday! After all, it is Saturday. Like I mentioned before, I have no idea what day it is, and I was using my swim workouts to keep track of the day of the week. However, since I played ultimate on Thursday instead of swimming, my swims have been pushed back by a day, so I thought today was Friday. Yay for relaxation! Today I have for you, a wonderful recipe from Brown Eyed Baker, Red Velvet Poke Cake. Now I am not a fan of cake, as it is often too dry and, well, cakey for me. I prefer my desserts chewy, gooey, and dense. However, I’ve seen a bunch of recipes for poke cakes, so I decided to give one a go. 

First of all, what is a poke cake? I wasn’t sure, so I looked it up. Basically, it’s what it sounds like. You bake your cake, then poke a bunch of holes in it, and pour sweetened condensed milk over the top, so it soaks into the cake and makes it all moist and sweet and sticky and amazing. Then smother the top with frosting, because we can’t have all those holes showing, now can we? I chose this red velvet cake for two reasons. One, it looks pretty. Two, it has cream cheese frosting. I LOVE cream cheese frosting. I am not a big frosting person, since it usually tastes like glorified whipped cream to me, but cream cheese frosting is my weakness. This is also why I love carrot cakes. They usually come with cream cheese frosting. If I ever take a bite of carrot cake and the frosting isn’t cream cheese, I am sorely disappointed (It’s happened. It shouldn’t have, but it’s happened).

Funny story about this poke cake, Shelby and I decided to make it at the beginning of this summer, so she bought a can of sweetened condensed milk. However, on the day she came over, she accidentally left it at home, so we made a bunch of other delicious things instead! But a couple nights ago, we decided to finally use that can of sweetened condensed milk and make this cake! Neither of us is a fan of cake, or even of red velvet, but it just looked so pretty we had to try it. I still wouldn’t say I like cakes, but I do like this cake. The sweetened condensed milk soaks into the cake bottom, lending it moisture, gooey-ness, stickiness, and extra sweetness. Yum! Then to top it all off, there’s a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. More yum! My one complaint about the frosting is that it was too buttery for me. I would only use half the amount of butter this recipe calls for, and basically make the frosting that goes with this Carrot Cake. But if you like lighter, fluffier frosting, go ahead and use all the butter, it just didn’t have quite enough cream cheese flavor for me. Another tip, don’t be afraid to poke big holes in your cake! The holes are what allows the sweetened condensed milk to soak into the cake, so the bigger the better! We just poked holes (a lot of them) with a knife tip, but that makes more of slits, so I would suggest using the butt of a knife or the end of a wooden spoon to make larger, round holes so the sweetened condensed milk can really get in there.

Red Velvet Poke Cake

adapted from Brown Eyed Baker



1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp red food coloring (original recipe calls for 6, but 1 worked just fine, as you can see from the photos)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup fat free milk

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Frosting (this is my suggestion, the frosting we used was the original recipe’s):

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature

3-4 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350˚F and grease a 9×13 pan.

In a measuring cup, combine the milk and lemon juice, and let it sit while you mix the other ingredients. This is making your own buttermilk. You can also just substitute buttermilk for this step, I just don’t keep it around in the house.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs and vanilla extract. Add the food coloring and beat until the color is even. Add half the milk and the distilled vinegar, and half the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Add the rest of the milk and flour, and mix until combined and smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and immediately poke holes all over the top of the cake. Poke until you think you have poked enough, then poke at least ten more. You really want lots of holes in your cake to let in the sweetened condensed milk. Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk over evenly over the top. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, using an electric mixer, whip together the butter and cream cheese on high until smooth and combined. Add in the vanilla and 3 cups of powdered sugar and whip until smooth. Keep adding powdered sugar until the desired consistency has been reached. Spread the frosting in a nice thick layer over the top of the cooled cake. Cut into squares and enjoy!


Shared on What’s Cooking Wednesday at Buns In My Oven


Look at the ratio of frosting to cake… Perfect 🙂

Now this cake is not for those with sensitive taste buds to sugar. Do you see the amount of frosting on that thing? It’s a lot. The sweetened condensed milk also adds to the sticky, sugary goodness of this cake. This is some seriously sweet cake. Seriously good, sweet cake. I brought this cake to a social event at my club pool, and it was gone within minutes! Speaking of pools, here’s the swim I did this morning!

Today, since I did threshold yesterday, I did more of an IM/pull day today. People always complain that swimming is boring, just constantly swimming laps back and forth staring at the bottom of the pool. I beg to differ. Swimming can be quite exciting, since there are four strokes to choose from, then you throw in some kicking and pulling and you have a party! Running on the other hand… Now that’s boring. You can run, or you can… run. Yup, that’s it. You can’t run with your hands, your can’t run with different gaits unless you really want to screw up your body, you just have to run. Sure you can go fast or slow, but it’s still running. That’s how I see it, anyway. So since I like to make creative, less boring sets, especially on days like today, where I just mix and match all sorts of things, I’m titling this workout Mix-It-Up Saturday!

Mix-It-Up Saturday

200 free, 200 non-free, 200 pull

8×75 @1:10, 50 build free, 25 sprint kick

Main set: 5 rounds of 4×100 or 4×150

1) 4×100 free @1:45, 3 fast, 1 easy

2) 4×150 IM, double one stroke in IM order, last 25 sprint kick

3) 4×100 free @1:45, 3 fast, 1 easy

4) 4×150 IM, double one stroke in IM order, last 25 sprint kick

5) 4×100 free @1:45, 3 fast, 1 easy

6×200 pull @2:50 2x(negative split, fast, breathe 3-5-7-9 by 50)

200 easy choice

Total: 5000 yards

Time: 1 hr, 30 min

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