King Cake Poke Cake

King Cake Poke Cake – a fun twist on a traditional king cake. Cinnamon roll stuffed cake topped with a brown sugar cinnamon syrup and cream cheese frosting. Super simple to make and tastes great. One bite and you will be blown away! Yellow cake mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip. Can make in advance and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The cake is a must for your Mardi Gras celebrations!

slice of poke cake topped with sprinkles with text overlay

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Cinnamon Roll Poke Cake

No Mardi Gras celebration is complete without King Cake. In the simplest of terms, King Cake is basically a cinnamon roll. It is a sweet dough filled with cinnamon and topped with icing and colored sugars. This King Cake Poke Cake is a fun twist on a traditional king cake. Cinnamon roll stuffed cake topped with a brown sugar cinnamon syrup and cream cheese frosting. It is AH-MAZING! I don’t really like sweets, but I could not stop eating this cake. I might have even eaten a slice for breakfast. It’s basically just a frosted cinnamon roll, right? Maybe? Oh, well. Whenever you decide

What is King Cake?

King cake is a Mardi Gras delicacy that is eaten between Twelfth Night (January 6th) and Fat Tuesday, also known as Carnival season. The traditional Mardi Gras treat is made of brioche dough and a wide array of fillings, such as cinnamon, chocolate, and cream cheese, and topped with glaze and sprinkles, which are usually gold, green, and purple.

poke cake topped with sprinkles

How to Make King Cake Poke Cake

This cake is super easy to make with only a few simple ingredients. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to prepare a box of cake mix according to the package directions. Pour half of the batter into a rectangle cake pan. Sprinkle the batter with a combination of brown sugar, chopped pecans, and cinnamon. Pour the remaining batter into the cake pan and bake. 

Remove the cake from the oven and poke holes all over the warm cake. Whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and sweetened condensed milk. Pour the milk mixture over the holes in the warm cake. Cool the cake completely. 

In a bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together room temperature cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Carefully stir in cool whip. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Add mardi gras sprinkles to the top of the cake. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

  • I use yellow cake mix. Feel free to use any cake flavor that you enjoy.
  • Use the end of a spoon handle, spatula, or chopstick to poke the holes in the cake. You want the holes to be fairly large to have the sweetened condensed milk into the holes. A fork will not make big enough holes.
  • Sometimes I add a pinch of nutmeg to the brown sugar filling. 
  • Don’t like nuts? You can leave them out.
  • I topped the cake with green, gold, and purple sprinkles. Green stands for faith, purple stands for justice, and gold for power.
    • If you aren’t celebrating mardi gras, you can use any color of sprinkles or leave them off altogether.
    • Here are the sprinkles that I used on top of the cake in the photos: https://amzn.to/30nGrLn
  • It is a king cake tradition to hide a plastic baby figurine in the cake. Whoever finds the baby in their slice of cake is said to have good luck and has to bring the king caketo next year’s party.
  • This cake is best made the day before and refrigerated overnight.
  • Store the cake covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
slice of poke cake topped with sprinkles with text overlay

Easy King Cake Recipe for Mardi Gras

This cake is a new favorite at our house! I definitely plan on having a big slice of cake on Fat Tuesday! If you can’t make it to New Orleans, you can at least have a slice of this amazing cake! Whip up some Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, or some yummy Cajun Chicken Pasta and let the good times roll at home! 

Looking for more King Cake recipes? Here are a few of our favorite variations of the mardi gras treat from the blog:

King Cake Bites

Easy King Cake Bites – crescent rolls filled with cinnamon and cream cheese, topped with icing and colored sugar –…

King Cake Bubble Up

King Cake Bubble Up – We loved this!! Cinnamon rolls, eggs, milk, vanilla and cream cheese. Ready in 30 minutes.…

slice of poke cake topped with sprinkles with text overlay

King Cake Poke Cake

Yield: 12 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
King Cake Poke Cake – a fun twist on a traditional king cake. Cinnamon roll stuffed cake topped with a brown sugar cinnamon syrup and cream cheese frosting. Super simple to make and tastes great. One bite and you will be blown away! Yellow cake mix, brown sugar, cinnamon, pecans, sweetened condensed milk, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cool whip. Can make in advance and refrigerate for up to 4 days. The cake is a must for your Mardi Gras celebrations!

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 1 box yellow cake mix plus ingredients to make cake
  • cups light brown sugar, divided
  • 4 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans, optional
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted

Frosting

  • 6- oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 (8-oz) container cool whip, thawed

Instructions:

Cake

  • Prepare cake mix according to the directions on the package.
  • Pour half of the cake batter in the bottom of a lightly greased 9×13-inch pan. Combine 1 cup of brown sugar, 3 teaspoons of cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle over cake batter. Spread the remaining cake batter over the cinnamon sugar layer.
  • Bake the cake according to the package directions.
  • While cake is baking, mix together sweetened condensed milk, ½ cup brown sugar, melted butter, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. When the cake is done and while it's still hot, poke holes in it with a fork or straw. Pour milk mixture over the cake. Allow cake to cool completely.

Frosting

  • Beat softened cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Gently stir in cool whip.
  • Spread cream cheese frosting over the top. Chill.

Notes:

  • I use yellow cake mix. Feel free to use any cake flavor that you enjoy.
  • Use the end of a spoon handle, spatula, or chopstick to poke the holes in the cake. You want the holes to be fairly large to have the sweetened condensed milk into the holes. A fork will not make big enough holes.
  • Sometimes I add a pinch of nutmeg to the brown sugar filling. 
  • Don’t like nuts? You can leave them out.
  • I topped the cake with green, gold, and purple sprinkles. Green stands for faith, purple stands for justice, and gold for power.
    • If you aren’t celebrating mardi gras, you can use any color of sprinkles or leave them off altogether.
    • Here are the sprinkles that I used on top of the cake in the photos: https://amzn.to/30nGrLn
  • It is a king cake tradition to hide a plastic baby figurine in the cake. Whoever finds the baby in their slice of cake is said to have good luck and has to bring the king caketo next year’s party.
  • This cake is best made the day before and refrigerated overnight.
  • Store the cake covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

Steph

Remember this recipe.

Pin this recipe to your favorite board now to remember it later!

Pin This Recipe
slice of poke cake topped with sprinkles with text overlay
poke cake topped with sprinkles with text overlay

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