Peppermint Poke Cake

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

A fudgy peppermint brownie pie topped with white frosting and candy cane bits.

This cake recipe has been a reader favorite for years. 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 day on the dot my 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-y 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 is officially 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. ????

A fudgy peppermint brownie pie topped with white frosting and candy cane bits.

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 scratch or box 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. Why? 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 as airy 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, and 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 (hi ????????) are going to appreciate! You’re welcome!

☝???? Here’s the cake I originally posted a few years ago. You can see that it looks a little 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 cup of hot fudge sauce in 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-food season!

Peppermint Poke Cake

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

Ingredients:

1 - 9x13 chocolate cake, prepared

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

Optional: 1 cup hot fudge sauce, warmed

8 ounces Cool Whip

1 package (about 2 cups) Andes Peppermint Bits

Optional: crushed Candy Cane Oreos

Directions:

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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A fudgy peppermint brownie pie topped with white frosting and candy cane bits.

 

Ashton Swank

Ashton is the owner and author of Something Swanky. Although first and foremost a wife and mother, she considers herself an online entrepreneur, freelance writer and photographer, and brand ambassador. Her focus is in food styling, food photography and recipe development.