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!
Let’s go ahead and talk about the elephant in the room and get it out of the way now… this cake contains a lot of sugar. There’s sugar in the cola, there’s additional sugar in the cake and even more sugar in the frosting. You might be wondering if you can reduce the sugar some way, somehow. The answer is… I don’t know, but doing so would very likely affect the final outcome. This won’t win any awards for being diabetic-friendly, for sure, but outside of health issues, I would just go ahead and adopt the “everything in moderation” mindset, grab a fork and dig in.
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!
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.