Red Velvet Poke Cake

Even though I really intended on trying non-dessert foods as challenges this past week, I had to make an exception because I had a little birthday party coming up where tasty food, and of course, a cake was involved.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what cake would be suitable to celebrate my special day (it only comes once a year, you know).  I mostly thought of cakes that I already knew how to make…I didn’t want to risk trying anything new…but I found this recipe on Pintrest a few days ago and decided that this cake – the Red Velvet Poke Cake, named by the The Country Cook -  was the one.  Oh, Pintrest.  You got me again.

So in the end, I decided some pretty last-minute risky things: 1) I was going to try a new cake I had never made before and serve it to guests; 2) I had about three hours to get it done before the party began.

The birthday cake challenge commenced.

  • 1 box of Red Velvet cake mix, plus all the stuff you need to make the cake (eggs, oil, water)
  • 2 boxes of instant cheesecake-flavored pudding
  • 4 cups of milk
  • 1 tub of CoolWhip (you know, Cool-hwip)
  • 10 Oreo cookies, crushed

The recipe says that the Oreo cookies are optional.  Oreo cookies are never “optional”, as far as I’m concerned.

I made the red velvet cake according to the instructions on the box.  Nothing exciting here.

Things got a little tricky after I took the cake out of the oven, because without double-checking the recipe, I left the cake out to cool completely while I prepared the other party foods.  Apparently I was supposed to start poking giant holes into the cake while it was still warm, so I put the cake back in the oven on low heat to warm it up as much as I could without ruining it.  It came out a little warmer. Phew.

Then, I took the bottom of a wooden spoon and poked holes all over the cake.   I realized a couple of things during this process. First, this cake can stain wooden spoons if you’re not careful.  It’s probably from all the red dye that is needed to make the cake red.  If you use a wooden spoon, wash it off asap!  Second, not all pokes are created equal.  I don’t think I needed perfect holes, but I was making a mess toward the end.  Then again, I was also in a hurry…I had about an hour left to go and I still needed to give the cake time to set in the fridge with the pudding that was coming next.

Then it was time to make the cheesecake pudding.  I also followed the direction on the box for this, too.  No rocket science here: I mixed the 4 cups of milk to two packets of pudding mix.

The pudding mix was then poured all over the cake.  I was supposed to make sure the pudding seeped into the holes, but since I was in a rush, I just spread the stuff all over in a few swipes.  And then licked the bowl when I was done…mmm!  I also think this is why the cake is supposed to stay warm, so that the pudding falls into the holes easily.

When that was done, I stuffed it into my very full fridge to let it cool for about an hour.  The recipe said two hours, but I didn’t have that time.

Meanwhile, I got on those Oreos.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to smash something to let out some stress, because I hadn’t even showered for my party yet and the food wasn’t done.  After exactly one hour, (during that time I fit in about 5 minutes to get dolled-up), right after a couple of guests had arrived, I pulled the cake out and sprinkled the Oreos on top.  When that was done, I put it back in the fridge so that it got more time to chill.

The festivities went on as the cake chilled for a couple more hours.  Halfway through the night of good fun, I pulled out the cake and announced that (HAH) all of my guests were the taste testers of this week’s food challenge.

After the joyful, collective singing of “Happy Birthday”, I sliced up the cake and served it to my guests.

Sure, the cake looks sloppy when served, but this is some very good cake.  The cheesecake pudding is a unique addition to the cake.  It’s unexpected, but it fits well with both the red velvet and the Oreos.  What’s even more surprising is that it is not very heavy at all, as one might expect from anything with the name “cheesecake” in it.  It was quite a hit, and most of it was gone by the end of the night.

Presentation:  Not bad, but I think this cake was more about taste than presentation.  However, the layers, when you could see them, were quite pretty.
Edibility:  Of course!  A large group of people ate it!
Tastiness:  Extremely.
Rematch?:  Yes!

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