Coca Cola cake is a Southern classic that’s deliciously sweet with a fudgy frosting. Make this recipe for an easy dessert that’s full of flavor!
Cola cake has intrigued me for years… it seems to be somewhat of a southern specialty and I’ve always been drawn to its similarity with Texas sheet cake (another Southern specialty). I’ve been obsessed with Texas sheet cake since taking my first bite of that utterly amazing boiled frosting that sets up like fudge on top of a warm cake. Talk about heaven.
This Coca-Cola cake is made in much the same way, except it also includes a can of cola in both the batter and in the frosting. It’s subtle, but you can totally taste the cola when you eat the cake, and I love the unique flavor. As if you would need any other reason to make this cake, but it can be accomplished using just one bowl, one small saucepan, and a measuring cup. Low maintenance is always a big selling point for me!
There are the usual staples in this coca cola cake recipe like flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, vanilla, and salt. Here are some additional items you’ll need:
Butter – use unsalted and cut into small cubes so it melts faster
Cinnamon – adds a warm flavor and compliments the flavor of the cola
Cola – I used regular Coca-Cola, but any brand should work
Cocoa powder – gives that rich chocolate flavor
Buttermilk – adds moisture and tenderness to the cake, plus a little bit of tang
The frosting for coca cola cake is unique because it’s made on the stove. Doing this concentrates the flavor of the cola and makes the texture more like a glaze.
Cola – make sure to reduce all the way to get the right consistency
Butter – again, cut into small cubes for melting
Cocoa powder – use unsweetened since there’s already a lot of sugar
Powdered sugar – sift well to avoid clumps
How to make it
Preheat the Oven – Heat your oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9×13-inch baking pan.
Mix the Dry Ingredients – Grab a large bowl and whisk together all of the dry ingredients for the cake, minus the cocoa powder.
Combine the Flavoring – Add one can of cola, cubed butter, and cocoa powder to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Make the Batter – Pour the cola mixture into the dry ingredients and combine with a rubber spatula until moistened. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Then add to the batter, whisking the whole time.
Bake the Cake – Pour the batter into a greased baking pan and pop in the oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Make the Frosting – Pour the other can of cola into a saucepan and bring to a boil. It’s important to reduce it down to about ½ cup to get the right consistency. Stir in the cocoa powder and butter until melted together, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the powdered sugar until smooth.
Put it all Together – Pour the frosting over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Let the whole thing cool before serving.
Recipe tips and tricks
Buttermilk – If you can’t find this in stores, you can easily make your own. Add ½ cup milk to a measuring cup and stir in ½ tablespoon of white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Let it sit at room temperature until thickened and curdled. Unsweetened yogurt can also be substituted for the buttermilk in equal amounts.
Storage Instructions – If you manage to have any leftovers of your coca cola cake, they should be covered or kept in an airtight container. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Cake Size – You can halve this moist chocolate cake recipe and bake in an 8×8 baking dish. The full recipe can also be made into a sheet cake instead. Use a half sheet pan, which is the size you would typically use to make cookies. It might be smart to line the baking sheet with parchment paper after greasing to help the cake not stick to the pan.
Layering – Because this cake has such a dense texture, it probably won’t work well as a layer cake. It would also be difficult to get that crunchy glazed layer of frosting in the middle, which is the best part!
Adding Nuts – Chopped walnuts or pecans are a popular addition to this coca cola cake recipe and can be sprinkled on top of the frosting for an extra crunch.
This cake is extremely moist and while it packs a big chocolate punch, it’s not overly rich, which I love. I also adore topping it with a big old scoop of vanilla ice cream, which of course is optional, but encouraged. This is way too easy a cake to not add it to your recipe rotation immediately… I’m thinking it would make a perfect Sunday cake!
I hope you’ll make this the next time you’re craving something ultra-chocolatey! If you make it, I’d love if you would take a moment to stop back and share a review below, it helps other readers so much. ENJOY! 😍
Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a small saucepan, stir together the cola, butter and cocoa powder over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour into the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until moistened.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla until blended. Add to the batter, whisking constantly.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes.
Make the Frosting: About 15 minutes before the cake is finished, begin the frosting. In a small saucepan, bring the cola to a boil over high heat and cook until the liquid is reduced to ½ cup, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and cocoa powder until the butter is melted, then remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time, whisking until smooth. Pour immediately over the hot cake in an even layer. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving. Leftovers should be covered and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.