I was recently watching a documentary on the history of the Coca-Cola company and it got me thinking about whether I could use Coke in baking. I’ve used sodas, like root beer, before in barbecue sauces, but would the flavor of the soda come through in a cake or other baked good? I didn’t have to wonder for long because it turns out that there are lots of recipes that use Coca-Cola right on the company’s website, including a recipe for a Cola Cake (pdf).
The cake uses Coke in both the cake and the glaze that covers it, and it was almost exactly what I had in mind for a recipe that used coke, since it used quite a bit of soda. It’s a chocolate sheet cake topped with a Coke-infused glaze and lots of crunchy pecans. Now, I said “almost exactly” because I made some changes to this recipe right off the bat. I reduced the amount of butter called for slightly, used less cocoa powder to make sure the Coke flavor came out and added a bit of salt to contrast the sugars in the cake. The result was really delicious, so I am confident in saying that Coke works out well as an addition to some baked goods!
I like that this cake is baked and served in the same dish because it’s easy and unfussy to do so. This is especially true because the glaze is poured on while the cake is hot, so you don’t need any frosting for it. The cake is very, very moist and very soft. It has a nice chocolate flavor to it and you can just get a hint of the spicy flavor of the Coke through it. This is helped along by a butter and Coca-Cola glaze that is poured over the cake just as it comes out of the oven. Pecans are used in the topping to add crunch to the cake, and they’re slightly candied by the butter-Coke mixture before they make it on to the cake. One great finishing touch is to make sure to use toasted, salted pecans for the topping. That extra salt really makes for the perfect contrast and just might make this cake as popular as the soda featured in it!
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
6 tbsp Coca-Cola
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/4 cup roasted and salted pecans, chopped
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
In a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl, butter. Whisk cocoa powder in to hot butter. When smooth, stir in Coca-Cola. Allow to cool. Whisk in eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract. Pour into flour mixture and stir until well combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in mini marshmallows.
Pour into prepared pan. Marshmallows may float to the top.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed.
While cake bakes, prepare the glaze. Combine butter, Coke and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Whisk in confectioners sugar until smooth, then stir in the pecans. Pour glaze all over cake when it comes out of the oven.
Allow cake to cool before slicing.
Makes 24 servings.