This Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake will become your new favorite cake to make! It tastes like a cinnamon roll in cake form (including an ooey gooey cinnamon brown sugar filling!)
AN EASY CINNAMON ROLL INSPIRED CAKE
This Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake recipe turned out better than I ever imagined! The filling is the star here! This cake was gone in no time – it was that good! And it couldn’t be simple to make! A tender vanilla cake poked with holes and filled with a cinnamon and brown sugar filling then topped off with a creamy homemade cream cheese frosting. It is absolutely divine!
WHAT IS A POKE CAKE?
Poke cakes are just cakes that have had holes poked in them and some sort of filling is then poured into those holes. Then the cake is topped with some sort of frosting (to help hide the poked holes.) I have made a bunch of poke cakes over the years and shared them here. The very first one I shared on the blog was an Oreo Pudding Poke Cake then Banana Pudding Poke Cake, Boston Cream Poke Cake and the list goes on!
No, but you will want a flavor that goes well with the cinnamon filling. You could use a butter, yellow or white cake mix. I think the vanilla (or French vanilla) works best here though.
Of course! If you want to go full-on homemade and use your favorite homemade cake recipe then you could certainly do that!
If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, you can just make a buttercream frosting by leaving out the cream cheese in the recipe. You will probably need to add a but more powdered sugar and milk to the mixture to thicken it up some. Or, if you don’t want to make it homemade, just grab your favorite store-bought frosting for this! I think a whipped vanilla frosting would work perfect!
Yes. As long as you wrap it well to protect against freezer burn, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator when you’re ready to eat.
Leftovers should be covered and stored in the refrigerator (because of the cream cheese frosting).
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- vanilla cake mix – see my FAQ above on substitutions.
- eggs, oil & water – you are just going to go by the directions on the back of the box for how much of this you will need. Cake mixes may vary slightly on how much of each is needed.
- sweetened condensed milk – be very careful that you do not grab evaporated milk. They can be close to each other sometimes on the grocery shelf. Evaporated milk will definitely not work here.
- salted butter – you can use unsalted if that is all you have. I like the flavor though that the salted adds.
- brown sugar and cinnamon – these ingredients are really what makes this filling shine. You could use dark brown sugar if you want a deeper molasses flavor.
- cream cheese – this needs to be fully softened to room temperature – if it isn’t, you’ll end up with a lumpy frosting that just won’t get smooth no matter how much you mix it.
- powdered sugar – it is also called confectioners sugar. It has to be this kind, regular sugar won’t work here.
- heavy cream – I prefer heavy cream when possible for frosting. It really just makes it so rich and creamy but you can use milk if that is all you have.
HOW TO MAKE CINNAMON ROLL POKE CAKE:
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350f degrees, Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare cake mix according to package directions (using eggs, oil and water). Pour prepared batter into prepared baking fish. After baking, allow the cake to cool. Then using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes (in about 1-inch intervals) into the cooled cake.
For the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour the filling mixture into the holes and spread it out using the back of a spoon or a butter knife.
For the frosting: In a medium bowl, mix together softened cream cheese and softened butter with an electric mixer. Then slowly mix in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk (or heavy cream.) Mix until smooth. Spread frosting onto cake.
Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top of the frosting. Then put cake into the fridge for about an hour to allow the cake’s filling to set up. Then serve!
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Originally published: May 2019
Updated & republished: June 2023
Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake (+Video)
For the cake:
- 15.25 ounce box vanilla cake mix
- ingredients needed to make cake eggs, oil and water
For the filling:
- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- 4 Tablespoons melted salted butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the cake:
- Preheat oven to 350f degrees, Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour prepared batter into prepared baking dish.
- After baking, allow the cake to cool. Then using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes (in about 1-inch intervals) into the cooled cake.
For the filling:
- In a small bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, melted butter, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Pour the filling mixture into the holes and spread it out using the back of a spoon or a butter knife.
For the frosting:
- In a medium bowl, mix together softened cream cheese and softened butter with an electric mixer.
- Then slowly mix in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk (or heavy cream.) Mix until smooth.
- Spread frosting onto cake.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top of the frosting. Then put cake into the fridge for about an hour to allow the cake’s filling to set up. Then serve!
- Please refer to my FAQ’s and ingredient list above for other substitutions or for the answers to the most common questions.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.