Coca-Cola Cake is a decadent chocolate cake made with mini marshmallows, tangy buttermilk, rich cocoa powder, and smooth butter. Each bite is moist, fudgy, and filled with Southern nostalgia! If you love this cake, you will love my Texas Sheet Cake, Chocolate Pound Cake, German Chocolate Cake, and Chocolate Birthday Cake!
I am a big fan of good ole fashioned country baking, especially when it comes to chocolate cake. Southern folk love their chocolate just like New England loves their seafood. Celebratory moments call for chocolate cake! What’s not to love about chocolate?
As a young girl, Big Mama and I spent many weekends mixing large bowls of thick, dark batter. I would lick the spoon clean while she layered the delicious mixture into a well-buttered pan. But, on extra special days, we raided the refrigerator for an extra liter of coke. What for? Well, for a classic chocolatey, decadent Coke Cake.
This recipe has been around for so long that I can’t even properly trace its origins. I just know that this is traditional Southern baking at its best, and it makes me happy every single time I taste it. How many desserts can you truly say that about?
What is Coca Cola Cake?
If you’re a Cracker Barrel fan, you may have seen a version of this cake on their menu. Their double chocolate rendition is served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Though it’s quite tasty, the homemade variety is much better.
This copycat Cracker Barrel coca cola cake recipe is gooey, fudgy, and decadent. It will remind you of the one at Cracker Barrel but with a freshly-made with a loving touch.
If you love this recipe, you might also love it as coca cola chocolate cupcakes. Looking for other chocolate cake recipes to try? I love these traditional chocolate cupcakes and chocolate pound cake.
When your spoon sinks into my southern coca-cola cake, you may hear your spoon sighing gleeful oohs and ahhs. I actually thought I did. It all comes down to the proper combination of ingredients!
Wondering what goes into this coke cake recipe? Let’s look at the main ingredients you will need.
- Mini marshmallows: Marshmallows in a cake? I know. Hear me out, marshmallows actually layer in a sticky moisture that softens each bite. They also enhance that chewy, almost brownie-like texture.
- Coca-Cola: The coke adds in a molasses, dark brown sugary sweetness that I find to be quite subtle. Its caffeine also enhances the cocoa powder making a richer cake.
- Oil and butter: Some cakes call for butter, some for oil but, this one calls for both. After many experiments, I have come to love the balance between the two. The result is a moist, melt-in-your-mouth cake.
- Cocoa powder: Chocolate cake is nothing without cocoa powder. If possible, I would highly suggest investing in high-quality cocoa. Spending just a few extra pennies guarantees a tastier cake that’s bound to impress.
- Buttermilk: This tangy milk adds flavor but also activates the baking soda to help the cake rise.
- Vanilla extract: Use real vanilla extract rather than imitation for the best flavor.
- Other simple baking ingredients: All-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and eggs give the cake its structure and texture while the sugar also sweetness the cake.
The fudgy icing requires a few more additional ingredients to prepare:
Butter: Gives the frosting a richness you simply can’t get with oil.
Cocoa powder: For the intense chocolate flavor of the icing.
Milk: Just a touch to help smooth out the frosting and provide moisture.
Coca Cola: What’s a chocolate coke cake without a frosting with the same flavors? It performs the same role in the frosting as it does in the cake.
Confectioner’s sugar: Powdered sugar works best for sweetening the frosting as it melts into the liquid much easier than granulated sugar.
How to Make Coca Cola Cake
Let’s get to baking and make some magic! Here’s a look at the main steps for making this old-fashioned coca cola cake.
- Heat the coca-cola, oil, butter, and cocoa over medium-high heat in a saucepan until it boils. Remove it from the heat as soon as it boils.
- Add the marshmallows and whisk together until the marshmallows melt into the mixture. Set this mixture aside.
- Combine the sugar, flour, and salt in the bowl of your mixer and mix on low.
- Slowly pour the hot cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients. Continue mixing bringing speed up to medium speed.
- Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla extract. Beat the mixture until everything is well combined.
- Pour the cake batter into a prepared 9 x 13 pan and spread it out evenly. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
When the cake is almost done baking you can start making the frosting.
- Add the remaining butter, cocoa powder, milk, coca cola, vanilla extract, and confectioners sugar into a pot over medium-high heat. Whisk together until boiling and well-mixed.
- Remove the cake from the oven when it’s ready and pour the hot frosting on top of the cake.
- Let the cake cool and then it’s ready to slice and serve.
How to Store
Store leftovers at room temperature for up to three days or in the fridge for up to five days.
Coke cake can be made up to 24 hours in advance. After pouring the frosting over the hot cake, let it cool completely and then wrap it up. Store it at room temperature and cut it the next day when you’re ready to serve.
- Like nuts? While not traditional, some toasted pecans would taste great sprinkled over the top!
- Serve with vanilla ice cream for a cake that will take you all the way to the gates of heaven and back!
- Make sure to pour the frosting on top of the cake while it’s fresh from the oven.
- Use top-quality cocoa powder for the best flavor.
For the most authentic flavor, you definitely want to use the Coke brand. Other name brands or store brands simply don’t have the same flavor. However, if you want to change the flavors, Dr. Pepper and Root Beer work too!
I know some folks might be concerned with the flavor that Cola imparts to this recipe. But, I’m here to assuage your worries! Soda acts as both a flavor enhancer and addition of moisture in this recipe. The end result is a cake with a perfectly tender, almost chewy texture. Each bite is sweet, slightly sticky, and full of intense, chocolatey flavor.
More Southern Cake Recipes
*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!
Coca Cola Cake Recipe (Coke Cake)
For the Cake
- 1 cup coca cola
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- ½ cup mini marshmallows
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk or coconut milk if desired
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Frosting
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 3 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp Coca Cola
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 lb confectioner’s sugar
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saute’ pan, add coca-cola, oil, butter and cocoa and heat over medium high heat until it boils. Cut off heat once it boils.
- Next add in marshmallows and whisk together until the marshmallows melt into the mixture and set aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add sugar, flour and salt and mix on low. Slowly pour in hot cocoa mixture and continue mixing bringing speed up to medium speed.
- Next add in eggs, buttermilk, baking soda and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.
- Spray a 9×13 sheet cake pan with non-stick baking spray. Pour the cake batter into the pan and spread out evenly.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For the Frosting
- While cake has about 10 minutes left of baking, add remaining butter, cocoa powder, milk, coca cola, vanilla extract and confectioners sugar into a pot over medium high heat and whisk together until boiling and well mixed.
- Once cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and pour the hot frosting on the top of the cake and let cool. Then slice and serve.
This post was originally published April 2018. It has been updated with new content and images.
Oh this is awesome! I usually do dump cakes that have cola, so I was excited to try this one. It did not disappoint! Thank you!!
A friend of mine used to make a coca cola cake when I was growing up. I loved it! This recipe brings back so many great memories. I can’t wait to make this fabulous cake myself.
Sisley White - Sew White says
This is such a clever way of using coca cola! I loved the cake.
A unique combination of ingredients to making this delicious Coco Cola Cake recipe. A must try one. Looks soft and moist too.
TAYLER ROSS says
I made this cake last night after dinner and it was so delicious! And the kids loved helping me make it too!
Perfectly gooey and delicious
I have tried a bunch of Coca Cola cake recipes and this is the absolute best. I lost access to the app where I had all my recipes saved and I was so worried that I wouldn’t find this recipe again—it’s been my oldest kid’s go-to birthday cake for a couple of years. My husband had to do some technology wizardry to recover the recipe app database from my iPad so I could get this recipe back. It took a couple of hours, but it was well worth it. Her birthday is coming up soon and now I can make her favorite cake for her!
Gretchen Tyree says
I had heard about Coca Cola cakes but had never baked nor eaten one until now. This is a fantastic recipe and perfect for serving at get-togethers. I put English walnuts on top and served with ice cream Wowser!!
How do I convert these into cupcakes , this recipe looks delicious!! Thanks for sharing
Rima featherstone says
Ate the cake, ate the maple bacon butter popcorn, put half, (actually more), of your recipes on my “to bake” list. You’re a wobpnderful cook/baker, and so appealing on your videos ! My husband says he loves you, but I’m not TOO jealous because I understand why,
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
Ohhh this is beyond sweet! I’m so glad you enjoyed the cake and popcorn. That popcorn is one of my absolute favorites!! And tell your husband thank you so much!