Peppermint Poke Cake Recipe (2024)

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Rich chocolate peppermint cake moistened with sweetened condensed milk, smothered in whipped cream and topped with candy cane bits.

Peppermint Poke Cake Recipe (1)

This cake recipe has been a reader favorite for years. Do you know how I’ve been trying to update some of my older photos and recipes? Well, I pulled this one a couple of months ago for some re-vamping. And on Thanksgiving Dayon the dotmy inbox started filling up with readers wanting to know where the recipe had disappeared to.

I can’t believe what Christmas rule-followers you all are! I didn’t get a single question about this peppermint recipe until Thanksgiving day. I guess that’s when Christmas “officially” begins. Although, when it comes to my house we don’t mind starting a little early with the tunes. I don’t decorate until after Thanksgiving though (and since we just barely moved, it won’t be until waaaaaaaaay after Thanksgiving this year) and we don’t start eating peppermint until after Thanksgiving either.

I’m too busy cramming in as much pumpkin and pecan pie as I can right up until the last Turkey-day minute.

But now that it isofficially the holiday season, allow me to re-introduce you to my famous Christmas Poke Cake.

aka Peppermint Poke Cake

aka Candy Cane Poke Cake

aka Better Than Christmas Poke Cake

It’s got a lot of aliases.

Peppermint Poke Cake Recipe (2)

There are a lot of different ways you can piece this gem of a recipe together. In this post, I’m going to give you the basic version:

Chocolate Cake

Normally, I say you can go from scratchorbox mix in most of my recipes that call for a baked cake. But in this particular recipe, I really think you should be using a box mix cake.


A box mix always yields a softer more tender cake than a homemade cake. That’s just the fact. I’m not saying you can’t make a mean, moist chocolate cake from scratch. I’m just saying that I seriously doubt it will be asairy as a box cake mix. And when it comes to a poke cake, airy = absorbent = ☺️.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

This is the magic maker. If you’ve ever had a poke cake, you know that the SCM fills the holes poked in the cake and seeps into every nook and cranny, making an incredibly moist and delicious dessert.

Cool Whip

Goes on top, obviously. People always ask, “can I use homemade whipped cream?” Suuuuuuuuure. If you must.

But here are my rules for subbing homemade whipped cream in a poke cake:

  1. Either make stabilized whipped cream, or
  2. Don’t add it to the cake until the very last moment before serving,
  3. Most importantly: don’t email me complaining that it didn’t turn out the way my pictures look!!!!

Got it? Good.

Andes Peppermint Bits

Okay, so here’s something really important to know about this cake!! I’m not using actual candy cane peppermint bits here.

Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather not break my teeth whilst enjoying my dessert. So I almost always default to Andes Peppermint Bits anytime I’m making a recipe that needs “candy cane” pieces. They are white chocolate peppermint candy bits, and they are DELICIOUS. And you won’t break your teeth eating them.

I never have a problem finding them at Walmart or Target in the baking aisle or in the seasonal foods section. Trust me, this is something your sensitive-teeth friends are going to appreciate!

You’re welcome!

Here’s the cake I originally posted a few years ago. You can see that it looks alittle bit different than the basic cake recipe I described above.

That’s because this one includes crushed Candy Cane OREOS on top (YUM!!) and about a 1/4 cup – 1/2 cupof hot fudge saucein addition to the sweetened condensed milk poured over the cake (and I whisked in a couple of tablespoons of peppermint creamer into the SCM). If you’re looking to amp up this recipe a bit, that’s the way to go, let me tell you!

No matter how you make it, ENJOY!

And happy Christmas season!

Peppermint Poke Cake Recipe (4)

Peppermint Poke Cake Tips

  • A box mix always yields a softer more tender cake than a homemade cake.
  • Use stabilized whipped cream, or don’t add it to the cake until the very last moment before serving.
  • I never have a problem finding Andes Peppermint Bits at Walmart or Target in the baking aisle or in the seasonal foods section.
  • If you’re looking to amp up this recipe a bit, crushed Candy Cane OREOS on top and about 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup hot fudge sauce in addition to the sweetened condensed milk poured over the cake are great additions!

Peppermint Poke Cake FAQ

Can I make this poke cake in advance?

Yes, you can make it up to 3 days in advance. Just store it covered in the fridge.

Will this recipe work with a different size cake pan?

I have only ever made this recipe in a 9×13 cake pan. I cannot say for certain that it will work with a different size cake pan, but you can give it a try and let me know in the comments how it turns out.

Can I use a different flavor of cake mix?

Yes, you can use a different flavor of cake mix. I would recommend using a chocolate cake mix or a red velvet cake mix.

Peppermint Poke Cake Recipe (5)

Peppermint Poke Cake

Rich chocolate peppermint cake moistened with sweetened condensed milk, smothered in whipped cream, and topped with candy cane bits.


  • 1 - 9x13 chocolate cake, prepared
  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk


  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 1 package (about 2 cups) Andes Peppermint Bits


Once cake is baked and still warm, poke holes all over the top of the cake using the handle of a wooden mixing spoon.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk (and optional hot fudge) over the cake, aiming to fill the holes as best as possible.

Cover and chill for about an hour.

Spread Cool Whip on top and sprinkle the peppermint bits (and optional OREOS) over the Cool Whip. Cover and chill for an additional 3 hours (or longer).

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Peppermint Poke Cake Recipe (2024)


Why is my poke cake soggy? ›

Make sure the holes aren't too close together or too far apart—if they're too close together, your cake could be too moist; if they're too far apart, there may not be enough filling throughout the cake. Once you've poked holes throughout the cake, pour the filling on top.

Why is it called poke cake? ›

Dump cake involves layering fruit filling, cake mix, and other ingredients in a pan before baking. A Poke Cake is a baked cake that has had holes poked in it and a syrup, pudding, or gelatin dessert poured over it. This causes rivulets of the liquid to seep into the cake, adding flavor and a visual appeal.

How do you keep a cake super moist? ›

Seven Bakery Secrets to Incredibly Moist Cakes Every Time
  1. Use Buttermilk Instead of Milk.
  2. Add Vegetable Oil.
  3. Use Instant Clearjel or Instant Pudding Mix.
  4. Use the Right Recipe.
  5. Don't Overbake.
  6. Bake in Sheet Pans Instead of individual Cake Pans.
  7. Use a Simple Syrup or Glaze.
Apr 23, 2021

Who invented poke cake? ›

According to Lynne Galia of the Kraft Heinz Company, the Jell-O gelatin poke cake, developed by General Foods Kitchens, first appeared in print advertising and in Jell-O recipe booklets in 1976.

Is poke Chinese or Japanese food? ›

Poke is a traditional Hawaiian dish and sushi originates in Japan. Hawaiian food takes a lot of influence from Japanese food, but poke is Hawaiian. Traditionally, poke is made from ahi tuna or octopus (tako) that has been roughly cut into bite sized pieces and marinated with whatever was on hand.

What is Viking cake? ›

Also referred to as a Kransekake or a Viking Wedding Cake, this famous cake resembles a small tower built of 15 rings of pastry made from almond paste and sugar. Traditionally there is a bottle of Cherry Kirsch or wine inside the rings which guests enjoy with a piece of the cake.

What to do if your cake has a soggy bottom? ›

There are a few things you can do to fix a soggy bottom cake:
  1. Use parchment paper. ...
  2. Grease the pan well. ...
  3. Use a lower oven temperature. ...
  4. Don't overbake the cake. ...
  5. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
Apr 1, 2020

Why is my vegan cake soggy? ›

There's too much liquid in the batter

Adding a liquid (such as plant-based milk) to your cake batter is great to add extra moisture and prevent crumbling. However, if you add too much, your vegan cake will turn out dense and stodgy. The fat-to-flour-to-vegan milk ratio has to be perfectly balanced.


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