Coca-Cola Cake

Southern Kitchen
Coca-Cola Cake

Serves: 16

Hands-On Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes



2 cups granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup Coca-Cola

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda


1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup Coca-Cola

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans, toasted


To make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly butter a 9-by-13-inch cake pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour.

In medium saucepan, combine the Coca-Cola, butter, oil and cocoa and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix well. Stir in the eggs and vanilla.

In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk and baking soda. Immediately stir into the batter mixture. Mix well and pour into the prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. 

About 10 minutes before the cake is finished, make the frosting: Sift the powdered sugar into a second large bowl. 

In a small saucepan, ​​​​​combine the butter, Coca-Cola and cocoa. Place over medium heat and cook until the butter melts. Remove from the heat and pour over the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and whisk until smooth.

When the cake is finished, use a toothpick or skewer to poke holes all over the surface. Pour the frosting over the hot cake, allowing it to seep into the holes. Top with the toasted pecans.

Let the frosted cake cool completely in the pan, cut into squares and serve.

About the recipe

For a Coca-Cola cake that truly tastes like the soda, we’ve cut back (just a bit) on the sugar by eliminating the traditional marshmallows. We also toast the pecans for the top, and instead of stirring them into the frosting, as is traditional, we sprinkle them on top. Leaving a good quarter cup of the nuts barely chopped also gives the cake a bit of texture, counteracts some of the sweetness, and helps to bring out the inherent bitterness of the soda. Finally, pour in just a touch more Coke into the frosting than is typical, giving it a drizzleable consistency and bold cola flavor. Poking holes in the top of the cake, a reader suggestion, helps the frosting soak into the cake, further upping flavor and moisture.

But hey, if you think we’re nuts for messing with a good thing, go ahead and add in your miniature Jet Puffs as you’d like. They’ll melt into the batter and add, yep, more sweetness. Either way, you’ll end up with an unbelievably moist and slightly sticky cake with a distinctive flavor that smacks of the South.