| Recipes |

Cinnamon Poke Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Food and prop styling by Shiri Feldman
Food prep and styling by Chef Suzie Gornish
Photography by Felicia Perretti

My mother used to make a similar version of this cake using strawberry jello as the filling. I was contemplating what to use as a possible substitution, and when I came up with this creamy cinnamon version, a new era was born. This cake may seem like it has several steps, but it comes together quickly and easily. And once you take that first bite of cinnamon and cream cheese deliciousness, you’ll agree with me.


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1¾ sticks (7 oz/200 g) Mehadrin Margarine
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 4 oz (110) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Lightly grease a 9x13-inch (23x33-cm) baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Using your mixer, cream together sugar and margarine on high speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and orange juice and mix for another minute or two. Add dry ingredients and mix for several minutes until a smooth batter forms. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth out the top using a rubber spatula. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30–35 minutes. Allow to cool.

For the sauce, place the heavy cream into a medium saucepan and bring to a slow simmer. Add the sugar and allow to simmer for an additional 15–20 minutes until cream is reduced to about half the volume, whisking every few minutes. Once cream is reduced, whisk in the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt and cook for a few more minutes until smooth and creamy. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes.

In another large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter together until no lumps remain. Add confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and a pinch of salt and beat until smooth and well combined. Keep covered and at room temperature until spreading so that it doesn’t harden.

Once cake has cooled to room temperature, use the bottom of a wooden spoon to poke random holes all over the cake, about 1–112 inches (2–3 cm) apart. Pour the cinnamon sauce over the top of the cake and use a rubber spatula to push into holes until they are all full. You may have a bit of extra sauce; be careful not to overfill the pan. There should only be a very thin coating of extra liquid at the top and sides of the cake.

Allow the cake to rest for several minutes and then frost the top with cream cheese frosting, using a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set the frosting before serving.


(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 852)

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