This classic Old fashioned Coca Cola cake pays homage to Southern tradition. Rich, moist, and decadent with a fudgy frosting to match. This chocolate cake is surely what chocolate dreams are made of!!
When I look back at traditional Southern recipes, it is plain to see that Southerners were not afraid to spice things up in the kitchen. Unconventional ingredients were added to recipes all the time and this Old fashioned Coca Cola cake is no exception.
What makes this cake so special? its easy to put together, its fudgy with an equally fudgy icing to match, its beyond moist, and most importantly? It has COKE and MARSHMALLOWS!! I mean seriously, what’s not to love. It is the perfect backyard BBQ, dig in while its hot, I just need a slice of chocolate kind of cake. It will always leave you wanting more.
What is Coca Cola Cake?
So you may be thinking what the heck is coke doing in a cake? Coca Cola cake originated in the South in the 1950s and quickly became the go to dessert for every celebration. It is unclear as to who created the recipe but that has not stopped it from becoming a Southern tradition. Coca Cola cake is a slight adaptation of the Texas Sheet Cake, another Southern classic. This cake utilizes Coke not only in the cake but the frosting!! Many people also associate this cake with Cracker Barrel who revived the cake’s popularity by putting it on their menu in the 90’s. Their recipe differs from the original but I like to stick to tradition.
There a many different versions of this cake floating around on the internet. Some use marshmallows, some don’t. Some use box mix….please don’t. My version takes a nod from the traditional recipe which was passed down to me from my grandmother.
What does Coca Cola Cake taste like
So I know you have doubts, may be even a little hesitant to try it. But I am here to tell you that this is seriously one of the BEST tasting chocolate cakes around. It DOES NOT taste like Coke at all I promise you. The addition of the Coke helps add moisture and airiness to the cake. It also helps enhance the flavor of the chocolate. And don’t worry, it does not make the cake too sweet. Biting into this cake is like biting into a sticky chocolate cloud. The moist cake paired with the smooth, fudge like frosting is a match made in chocolate heaven.
- Cocoa Powder – What is a chocolate cake without cocoa powder?! I like to use unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder in this recipe. It is used in both the cake and the frosting. I recommend purchasing a high quality cocoa powder that will guarantee you a rich, intense chocolate flavor. Rodelle Gourmet Baking Cocoa is my go to!!
- Buttermilk – You guys know my love for buttermilk and all of its amazing advantages. It will help moisture and leaven the cake.
- Coca-Cola – The star of the show!! We have already established that Cola will help add moisture and airiness to the cake. The dark, molasses like properties help give this cake a deep rich flavor. And the addition of caffeine in the Cola also helps to enhance the flavor of the chocolate. Before anyone asks, no you may not use Diet Coke in this recipe.
- Miniature Marshmallows – The dark horse. So some recipes omit marshmallows altogether. The traditional recipe calls for marshmallows so that’s what we are going to do.
- Baking Soda – Helps leaven our cake and ensures a good rise.
- Butter – Many other recipes use oil or butter and oil. I feel that the use of butter only still ensures a moist, rich cake.
The Coke, cocoa, and butter cook on the stove at medium heat until it reaches a boil. It is then added to the flour/marshmallow mixture.
This fudge like frosting is beyond this world and is almost as famous as the cake!! I can seriously eat it by the spoonful. This is not your typical make ahead frosting. I suggest you make this frosting 15 minutes after your cake comes out of the oven. If made too early, your frosting will set in the bowl and you will not be able to pour it. Like the coke/butter/cocoa mixture made for the cake, this frosting is also made on the stove and then added to sifted powdered sugar and vanilla.
After making the frosting, it is then poured on to the warm cake. If using nuts, this is when you want to add them. The frosting will set as it cools. I like to let the cake cool down to room temperature completely in the pan before serving to really allow the frosting to set. Although, some like to serve this cake warm. By letting the frosting set, you also ensure it stays in place when removing the cake from the pan. The frosting may crack a little, but that adds to its charm.
How to serve
Old fashioned Coca Cola cake is typically served with pecans but if you are anything like my son, you hate that idea and do not want nuts anywhere near your cake lol. If this sounds like you, a sprinkle of sea salt is always a good idea. Or you can just leave it plain with no toppings and just add a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. I don’t think any one could argue with that.
This cake does not need to be refrigerated and is best left in an air tight container. If you do manage any leftovers, this cake can be wrapped up in freezer friendly container for up to two months.
Next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a liter of coke, go home, and make this cake!! Share it, don’t share it, I won’t judge. All I know is that once you bite into that fluffy moist crumb and that fudge frosting over takes your tastebuds, you will never be the same.
Old fashioned Coca Cola Cake recipe
- 9 X 13 cake pan
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups minature marshmallows
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup Coca-Cola
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Old Fashioned Coca Cola Frosting
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tbsp Coca-Cola
- 1 box of powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup pecans toasted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Line a 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper, set aside
- Sift flour and granulated sugar together, stir in marshmallows and set aside
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil: butter, cocoa, and cola, stirring occasionally
- Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Pour over dry mixture, whisk until combined
- Whisk in buttermilk, baking soda, beaten eggs, and vanilla extract
- Pour into 9 x 13 cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Or until cake tester comes out clean and cake bounces back when lightly pressed.
- Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack in cake pan for 30 minutes before adding frosting
Old Fashioned Coca Cola Frosting
- In large bowl, sift powdered sugar. Set aside
- In a medium sauce pan, bring butter, cocoa, and cola to a boil. When smooth, remove from from heat and add to powdered sugar.
- Add vanilla extract, whisk until smooth
- Pour frosting over warm cake, top with tosted pecans if desired