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Coca-Cola Cake

I’ve had a strange fascination with this cake for a long time, yet I’ve never made it. There’s something about the thought of making a cake with a Coke that intrigues me. Sort of in a how-can-that-possibly-work way.

This particular recipe comes from Classic Southern Desserts by Southern Living. I don’t know if this cake truly has Southern origins, but it certainly seems Southern enough to me. I mean, who else would pour Coca-Cola into a cake?

Coca-Cola Cake is a rich, sweet, nutty chocolate cake flavored with Coca-Cola. Always a crowd-pleaser!

Here’s my first warning about this cake. Timing is everything. Getting the cake finished and the frosting done at the right times can be tricky. The frosting mixes up pretty quickly, so it is possible to make it after the cake is finished. I’d recommend having all of the frosting ingredients ready so you can get started when the cake comes out of the oven.

And, now for the second warning. This cake is sweet. Really sweet. I don’t know that I really taste Coca-Cola in it, but I certainly can taste all the sugar and chocolate. I’m not saying this as a negative. Just know that small slices are your friend.

Coca-Cola Cake is a wonderfully sweet, rich, nutty cake. Great for feeding a crowd!

This is really a simple, beautiful cake. It’s delicious, and it smells heavenly. Even with it covered, I could smell its tempting aroma every time I walked by it in my kitchen. If you’re a bit hesitant (as I was) about the Coke aspect, don’t be. All the Coke and marshmallows and such just serve to accentuate the chocolate. This is essentially a chocolate cake. And what could possibly be wrong with that?

Coca-Cola Cake

Yield one 9"x 13" cake
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Coca-Cola cake is a Southern classic!

Coca-Cola Cake


For the cake:

  • 1 cup (236ml) Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup (118ml) buttermilk
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 cups (64g) miniature marshmallows

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (78g) Coca-Cola
  • 3 tablespoons (15g) unsweetened cocoa
  • 16 ounces (454g) confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (90g) chopped pecans, toasted


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9″x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together the flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat until blended.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the Coca-Cola mixture. Begin and end with the flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in the marshmallows.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before frosting.

To make the frosting:

  1. Place the butter, Coca-Cola, and cocoa in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until butter is melted.
  2. Remove from heat. Whisk in the sugar and vanilla.
  3. Immediately pour the frosting over the warm cake. (Do not make frosting ahead!) Sprinkle with pecans.


Recipe slightly adapted from Classic Southern Desserts.

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    17 Comments on “Coca-Cola Cake”

  1. Coke & Chocolate! What a yummy combination!

  2. your recipes are so creative! this cake looks and sounds fantastic, by the way have you tried chicken wings with coke? they are simply delicious!

  3. This interests me so I think I will add it to my “to make” recipe list for this year, looks delicious.

  4. I’m thinking I need some of that next Thursday!!!

  5. I’ve never used coke in a recipe either, I’ve seen roast beef made in a crock pot with coke in it. I’d rather take my chances with a cake though. This looks terrifc.

  6. I have seen this recipe before as both cupcakes and cake and I am always intrigued – I definitely think I should make it soon and your review of the cake has spurred me on a little as has your presentation 🙂
    Yay for coke!
    I wonder how it would taste with cherry-berry compote…

  7. Oh, this looks like a fun cake! Is it wrong that I love putting pop in food? Haha

  8. I am so glad you posted this! I love Coca Cola cake! And yeah, I’m almost positive it’s Southern… : )

  9. Fantastic!!!!!!!

  10. I’ve never used coca cola in my baking – I can understand it would be sweet. Your cake looks lovely…I only hope I could follow the “small slices” advice!

  11. Cracker Barrel restaurants have a Coca-Cola cake as one of their desserts. Coke is a Southern creation, so I would definitely call the cake a Southern dessert. It is divine!

  12. I found a cola cake recipe on line last week and it seems the recipe I have written down is very different than six other recipes I just read. This cake recipe has 4 tablespoon of cocoa and NO vanilla flavoring. The cake was baked without marshmallows,,,, I use the mini marshmallows on top after cake baked, but it was a sticky trick to cut a piece of cake. I think cup cakes with marshmallows on top slightly brown as a frosting worked better. I used whole milk, since I did not have buttermilk nor the lemon juice or vinegar to substitute. It still was a tasty cake , and moist.

  13. I grew up with this cake. Both grandmothers and every mama & grandmama in out small Texas town made it. It was at every family get a together, church function, and community picnic I ever attended. It is in every church cookbook I own and it is one I have baked a thousand times. This is a special cake that leaves an impression. Enjoy ♥

  14. You sure are right about it being sweet, and I even used less sugar in the cake itself and less in the frosting. I weighed out 16 oz of powdered sugar (450 grams) but only added maybe 300 grams, and it was plenty sweet. My friends have been asking me for months to make this and I finally caved, but I’m glad I did! It certainly is a moist and tasty dessert.

  15. I dont understand the popularity of this cake !! I love good cakes, and have had hundreds of them in my lifetime. I grew up with people making this cake and taking it to church and family functions, but I have never liked it, not even a little bit. There is not enough chocolate in it to be good, and there is almost no flavor to it at all except, sweet, sweet, sweet. It is also heavy and wet nearly always, with a coarse crumb. Not one thing about it is the way that I think a cake should be, but if you like heavy, wet, large-crumbed cakes with no flavor, by all means try it.

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