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A slice of coca-cola cake on a black plate with a bite on a fork.
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5 from 4 votes

Old-Fashioned Coca Cola Cake

Moist chocolate Coca Cola Cake is a simple, old-fashioned Southern dessert that has experienced a resurgence in popularity thanks to Cracker Barrel restaurant and home bakers who love the nostalgia of vintage recipes. It's rich and chocolatey with Coca-Cola in both the cake and the fudgy icing.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 599kcal
Author: Amy Nash

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 (12-ounce) cans Coca-Cola, divided
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned & leveled (282g)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400g)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • ½ cup reduced Coca-Cola from above
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick baking spray.
  • In a medium saucepan, simmer both cans of Coca-Cola over medium heat until it reduced to about 1 cup. Measure out ½ cup and set aside for the frosting.
  • Add the butter and cocoa powder to the other ½ cup of reduced cola in the pan over medium heat and whisk until the butter is melted and the cocoa is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt until fully incorporated.
  • Once cooled, add the Coca-Cola mixture to the flour mixture. Add the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and use an electric mixer on medium speed to blend until well combined. The batter will be thin.
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting. Return the reserved ½ cup of reduced cola to the saucepan along with the butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Set it over medium heat and whisk until the butter is fully melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
  • Add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, whisking together until dissolved. Repeat until all four cups are incorporated.
  • Pour the frosting over the baked cake while both are still warm. Allow the cake to cool and the icing to set up before slicing and serving serving.
  • Optional: Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate syrup or cherries.

Video

Notes

  • Storage: This cake keeps well at room temperature in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • Freezing: You can freeze the cake with or without the fudge icing, but sometimes when it is thawed the icing doesn't hold up well. If your plan is to bake the cake ahead and freeze it, I recommend skipping making the icing until the day or day before you plan to serve it and adding it over the thawed cake.
  • Substitutions: You can use another dark soda such as Dr. Pepper, Root Bar, or diet or sugar-free versions of Coke or Pepsi in place of the Coca-Cola.
  • Buttermilk: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, simply add 1 teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a ½ cup measuring cup, then fill it the rest of the way with milk. Let this sit for 5 minutes before using in place of the buttermilk.
  • Decorate with cherries or nuts for extra flair. Some folks like to decorate the top of each slice of coca-cola cake with whole English walnuts. I tend to keep it plain or just garnish with a cherry instead, but the choice is yours!
  • Don’t eyeball the coke reduction. Measure out and only use ½ cup for the cake batter batter and another ½ cup for the icing. If you just eyeball it, there's a good chance you might end up with frosting that doesn't set up right or a cake that is just too wet and takes longer to bake.
  • Sift the powdered sugar for the icing. This is my top tip for a super smooth pourable icing because sometimes powdered sugar likes to clump when it is stored. If you don't have a sifter, I recommend removing any powdered sugar chunks immediately after pouring before the icing sets. Otherwise, the chunks will be there to stay!

Nutrition

Calories: 599kcal | Carbohydrates: 94g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 89mg | Sodium: 415mg | Potassium: 164mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 73g | Vitamin A: 765IU | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2mg