Coca-Cola Cake: A Southern Classic Sheet Cake

The Coca-Cola Cake is a long, Southern tradition made with the nectar of the Gods, aka Coke.

And no, a substitute or store brand Coke just won’t work. You want the real thing, Classic Coca-Cola. With all the real sugar and carbonation.

Try this chocolate sheet cake that has a light and airy cake with a rich chocolate glaze on top.

Coca-Cola Cake by RV Tailgate Life with a picture of the chocolate cake with a pecan on top of the chocolate Coke glaze

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Try This Quintessential Southern Dessert

Need to whip up a quick cake that will have everyone raving and asking you for the recipe?

Then you need to try this easy to make Coca-Cola Cake.

I made this for a neighborhood BBQ and let me tell you, everyone was raving about it. Fortunately, I can just send them all to this page to get the recipe!

Timing Your Baking Process

Here’s the thing with this recipe – there’s no downtime.

Normally, you are done when you pop the cake in the oven to bake. And then you can clean up and rest while the cake is doing the baking thing.

Not with this recipe!

As soon as you pop the cake in the oven, you need to start on the glaze. Because you want it to be ready to roll when the cake is done.

The fortunate thing is that the glaze is not hard to make. It just takes a long time because you need to go from 12 ounces of Coke down to about 4 ounces. You need to boil the water out of the Coke, leaving just the essence of the Coke and the sugar. This is going to take a good 15 minutes or so. Maybe even 20. Just under how long it will take the cake to bake.

Then add the butter, more cocoa, and the sifted sugar. Once you have it all in a nice smooth glaze, you pour it directly onto the hot cake. There is no waiting for the Coca-Cola Cake to cool down. Just pour it on there!

Then you let the cake with the glaze topping cool. Trust me on this and don’t stop the process once you pop the cake in the oven initially.

See Also: More Easy Tailgating Desserts for You to Try

Don’t Skip the Sifting

While the Coke is boiling off the water in the glaze, you’ll want to prep the confectioners’ sugar.

Yes, you really need to sift the sugar.

Why?

If you don’t, you’ll end up with small clumps of confectioners’ sugar in the glaze. And while it will still be a good dessert, it won’t be excellent.

You won’t get a smooth glaze on top and you’ll find surprise poofs of sugar when you cut into it or take a bite.

Just not the best experience. So get that sifter out and make good use of it!

I have this old style sifter with a rotary hand crank that I absolutely love. I got it, oh, I don’t know how long ago. It’s just always been in my baking arsenal.

But I love that it always works. No batteries or plugs and it is very light, which make it very RV friendly. The bad news is that it is not very compact, so it takes up a decent amount of storage space.

I like the rotary hand crank style better than the handle squeeze style sifters. I feel like it is harder to keep the sugar or flour going into the right place using the squeeze style.

Squish makes an interesting collapsible mesh sifter that may work for an RVer that is more concerned with storage space. But unlike the other style sifters, there is no mechanical function to help push the sugar or flour through the mesh screens. So you’ll be doing a lot of shaking.

Mix It Up With Your Coca-Cola Cake

Some people like marshmallows in their Coca-Cola Cake.

If you want to add marshmallows, you’ll use 1 1/2 cups of the small miniature marshmallows and reduce the sugar by about 1/4 cup.

If you are a pecan person, and what good Southerner isn’t, you might want to try adding some pecans to the glaze. You can add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of coarsely-ground pecans to the glaze. Or just sprinkle them on top of the glaze after you pour it onto the cake. Either way, it’s a good addition to the cake.

Don’t Have Buttermilk?

The last time I made this Coca-Cola Cake, I didn’t have any buttermilk on hand. Well, I did, but I wasn’t confident that it was safe to use.

But a really good substitute for 1 cup of buttermilk is 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and then the rest of the cup of milk. Stir and let it sit for about five minutes (or about the time it took me from gathering ingredients to actually needing it in the recipe).

Since this recipe calls for only 1/2 cup buttermilk, you can use 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar and just under 1/2 cup of milk.

Chocolate Sheet Cakes for Tailgating

Every tailgate needs a dessert. And I’ve found that sheet cakes are great desserts for large crowds, commonly found at tailgates or backyard BBQs. Or church socials.

They are easy to make and easy to transport if you make them ahead of time. So much easier than cupcakes, although I do love a good cupcake.

With a sheet cake, your guests (and let’s be honest, you too) can get as little or yes, as much, as you want. So you can get a little taste or a big old hunking piece of cake.

That also makes it easier to spread out the good stuff to more people if a large crowd shows up by just cutting smaller pieces. Harder to do with cupcakes or cookies.

Side shot of Coca-Cola Cake on a white plate.

Now, for the recipe you’ve been waiting for…

A slice of Coca-Cola Cake

Coca-Cola Cake

Yield: 20-25 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A light and flufly chocolate cake that is a Southern staple of backyard BBQs and tailgates.

Ingredients

Coke Cake

  • 1 can (12 ounces) of Coca-Cola
  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Coke Glaze

  • 1 can (12 ounces) of Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan, including all the way up the sides of the pan.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine 1 can of Coca-Cola, butter and cocoa, bringing to a slight boil, stirring occasionally.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the boiling Coke mixture, stirring until mixed.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and add to the large bowl of flour and Coke. Stir until well mixed. Transfer to the greased pan.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. While cake is baking, begin preparing glaze.
  7. In a small saucepan, bring 1 can of Coke to a boil and cook down until Coke is about 1/2 cup, usually about 15-20 minutes. Add in butter and cocoa until buter is completely melted.
  8. Remove glaze from heat and add confectioners' sugar, stirring until smooth.
  9. Pour over hot cake and let cool until glaze is firm.
  10. Enjoy!

Notes

The cake batter will be warm to hot so be careful when handling the bowls and the baking pan.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 188Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 36mgSodium: 180mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 0gSugar: 19gProtein: 2g

This nutritional information is automatically calculated and should only be used as a guide.

Did you make this recipe?

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Try More Tailgate Dessert Recipes

Recipe for Coca-Cola Cake - a Classic Southern Dessert Recipe by RV Tailgate LifeLooking for some more awesome tailgating desserts? They are also perfect for backyard parties or other large gatherings. Here are some of my favorites:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake is to Die For!
Banana Pudding Cake Perfect Tailgating Dessert
Crock-Pot Dump Cake: Warm Dessert for Cold Tailgate

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