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This Coca Cola cake is a classic Southern dessert made easy — thanks to help from a box of cake mix! A homemade fudgy pecan and Coca Cola frosting coats each decadent slice of the moist and fluffy chocolate cake.

Close up shot of a slice of Coca Cola cake with cake mix on a red and white plate.
Table of Contents
  1. Aunt Bee’s Easy Coca Cola Cake
  2. What is Coca Cola Cake? What does it taste like?
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make Coca Cola Cake with Cake Mix
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Storage Tips
  7. Tips for the Best Coca Cola Cake Recipe
  8. Coca Cola Cake with Cake Mix Recipe

From a classic one-bowl buttermilk chocolate cake to a chocolate Bundt cake with cake mix and a rich chocolate pound cake — you can never go wrong when you offer a chocolate cake for dessert! If you’re looking for an easy recipe to serve at your next Sunday supper, church potluck, or pig pickin’, then you have come to the right place. After all, everyone loves this coca cola chocolate cake (and it starts with a box of cake mix)!

Coca cola cake recipe served on a plate with glasses of milk on the side.

Aunt Bee’s Easy Coca Cola Cake

This recipe comes from my great Aunt Bee — the most amazing home cook, surrogate-grandmother, and proper Southern lady and hostess that you will ever meet. I love that she shared her tried-and-true recipes with me on a regular basis, which she tucked inside old-fashioned handwritten notes. 

Every time I found a letter in our mailbox with her distinctive handwriting on the outside (postmarked from North Carolina), I got a warm, happy feeling inside. I know that her thoughtful messages and her delicious food were waiting for me just on the other side of that paper envelope!

Best of all, Aunt Bee’s easy Coca Cola cake with cake mix doesn’t require any special baking skills or much time spent in the kitchen. It’s made without without buttermilk and without miniature marshmallows, requiring just a handful of very basic ingredients. I’ve shared this sweet treat at potlucks and picnics for over a decade now, and it’s always well received!

Slice of coca cola cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

What is Coca Cola Cake? What does it taste like?

Coca Cola Cake is a classic dessert, often served at a pig pickin’ (or barbecue where a whole pig is roasted) in the Southern United States.

In recent years, Cracker Barrel restaurants have popularized the Coca Cola Cake with their own “Double Fudge” version.

The dessert tastes a lot like a traditional chocolate sheet cake, with a Coca Cola icing that resembles the rich chocolate glaze on a Texas Sheet Cake. The soda gives the cake an extra fluffy rise, while adding a bit of that delicious Coke flavor, too!

Ingredients for a coca cola cake with cake mix.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that go into Aunt Bee’s shortcut Coca Cola cake with cake mix. As always, specific measurements are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Chocolate cake mix: any brand will work. You can use a classic chocolate cake mix, or try one that’s labeled “milk chocolate cake,” “dark chocolate cake,” “Devil’s Food cake,” or “chocolate fudge.” These are all great options.
  • Eggs and oil: check your specific box of cake mix for the additional ingredients required to bake the cake. Instead of using water, however, you’ll substitute with an equal amount of Coca Cola.
  • Coca Cola: for both the cake batter and the chocolate pecan frosting.
  • Butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and chopped pecans: these ingredients come together (along with Coke) to make the pecan fudge frosting that enrobes the warm chocolate cake.
Fudgy coca cola icing in a saucepan with a whisk.

How to Make Coca Cola Cake with Cake Mix

This recipe for a coca-cola cake is about as easy as it gets — thanks to help from a boxed cake mix! I’ve included detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick overview:

  • Mix together the cake batter as instructed on the package directions; however, substitute Coca Cola for the water.
  • Bake the cake in a 9 x 13-inch pan in the oven. You’ll know it’s done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
  • While the cake is still warm, prepare the Coca Cola frosting.
  • Bring the butter, cocoa powder, and Coke to a boil. Remove from the heat.
  • Whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • Fold in the pecans.
  • Pour the hot frosting mixture over the warm cake. The icing will firm up as it cools.
Fork taking a bite of a slice of coca cola cake with cake mix.

Serving Suggestions

Serve each slice of cake on its own with a cold glass of milk or a warm cup of coffee. You might also like to top individual pieces of cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, or sweet maraschino cherries.

Horizontal shot of coca cola cake with cake mix on a plate.

Storage Tips

Cover the cake with plastic or foil (or transfer to an airtight container) and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. It does not need to be refrigerated; however, if your house is particularly warm or humid, the icing might get soft. In that case, you might prefer to keep it covered in the fridge.

To extend the life of your chocolate coke cake, you can wrap it tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.

Overhead image of a piece of coca cola cake with cake mix.

Tips for the Best Coca Cola Cake Recipe

  • Check your package of chocolate cake mix to be sure that you’re using the correct ingredients, since every brand differs slightly.
  • Pour the frosting over a warm cake.
  • Allow plenty of time for the cake to cool completely in the baking pan and for the icing to set before slicing and serving.
  • I have not tested this recipe with Diet Coke, as the flavor will differ. If you give it a shot, please let us know!
  • Swap out the Coke and use root beer instead.
  • Serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and maraschino cherries for real treat!
Side shot of southern coca cola chocolate cake on a plate with milk in the background.

More Recipes with Coca Cola

Square side shot of coca cola cake with cake mix on a red and white plate.

Coca Cola Cake with Cake Mix

5 from 8 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Cooling Time 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 45 minutes
Servings 18 people
Calories 352.1 kcal
This Coca Cola Cake is a classic Southern dessert recipe made easy — thanks to help from a box of cake mix!

Ingredients
  

For the Cake:

  • 1 (15.25 ounce) box chocolate or Devil's Food cake mix, plus ingredients called for on the box
  • 1 cup Coca Cola (or enough to replace the water called for on the package directions)

For the Coca Cola Frosting:

Instructions

Bake the Cake

  • Bake the cake in a 9 x 13-inch pan according to package directions, BUT replace the water with an equal amount of Coca Cola.
    Ingredients for a coca cola cake with cake mix.
  • While the cake is still warm, prepare the Coca Cola Frosting.
    Coca cola chocolate cake in a baking pan.

Make the Coca Cola Frosting

  • In a large saucepan, bring butter, cocoa powder, and Coca Cola to a boil, whisking regularly. Remove from heat and mix in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in the pecans.
    Fudgy coca cola icing in a saucepan with a whisk.

Ice the Cake

  • Pour the hot icing over the warm cake. The icing will firm up and harden into a sweet shell over the cake as it cools.
    Process shot showing how to frost a coca cola cake with pecan coca cola icing.

Notes

  • Check your package of chocolate cake mix to be sure that you’re using the correct ingredients, since every brand differs slightly.
  • Pour the Coca Cola frosting over a warm cake.
  • Allow plenty of time for the cake to cool completely in the baking pan and for the icing to set before slicing and serving.
  • I have not tested this recipe with Diet Coke, as the flavor will differ. If you give it a shot, please let us know!
  • Swap out the Coke and use root beer instead.
  • Serve each slice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, and maraschino cherries for real treat!

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 352.1kcalCarbohydrates: 51.7gProtein: 0.5gFat: 15.6gSaturated Fat: 5.2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.9gMonounsaturated Fat: 2.7gCholesterol: 20.4mgSodium: 279.2mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 44.8g
Keyword: coca cola cake, coca cola cake recipe with cake mix, coca cola cake with cake mix, coca cola chocolate cake, southern coca cola cake
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in May, 2016. It was updated in November, 2023.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice says:

    I’ve heard of using coke in cake mixes before, but I’ve never tried it. You are now convincing me that I need to make this asap. I love how thick and fluffy this is, Blair! So perfect for summer!

    1. Blair says:

      Oh, definitely give it a try! It’s a great texture! Thanks so much, Gayle!

    2. sheila Barrow says:

      Can I make this in a dìdispsopable pan?

      1. Blair Lonergan says:

        Hi, Sheila! Yes, that will work fine — just make sure that it’s a deep 9 x 13-inch disposable. I find that those foil pans are often very shallow, which will cause the batter to overflow in your oven. This cake rises fairly high, so definitely look for a deeper disposable pan, or just don’t fill the pan with quite all of the batter. Hope you enjoy!

  2. Jen | Baked by an Introvert says:

    I love learning new shortcuts from you, Blair! I’ve used soda in cakes before but never in boxed mixes. It’s so easy and perfect for when you need a quick dessert. Love it and can’t wait to try it!!

  3. Ruwani says:

    I have come across many cola cakes but never tried it. Your cola cake looks really good. I prefer baking from scratch and I am going to try this with my favourite chocolate cake recipe. Hope you have a lovely weekend Blair !

    1. Blair says:

      Oh, if you have the time and patience to make it from scratch, I’m sure that would be delicious, Ruwani!

  4. Sylvia Cormier says:

    How much is a 1 lb box of confectioners sugar in cups, I am from Canada & we don’t have boxes of that, just medium size bags.
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Sylvia Cormier.

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Sylvia! I’m so glad that you might make the cake! I looked online to try to figure out the measurement since I’ve never actually scooped and measured it from the box myself. Here’s the answer that I found: “One cup of powdered sugar is 4.41 ounces, so there are 3.63 cups in a pound of powdered sugar.”

      Hope that helps!

      1. Stephanie Burgdofer says:

        Does the coke need to be room temperature?

        1. Blair Lonergan says:

          Hi, Stephanie! It’s best if the Coke is at room temperature, but the recipe will still work with cold Coke, too. It just helps to have room-temp ingredients for mixing everything together.

  5. Mari says:

    5 stars
    I needed an egg-free version of this so I modified your recipe. Used 12 oz cola, 1/3 cup oil, and a chocolate cake mix. It’s perfect! Thanks for making our Christmas dinner special!

    1. Blair says:

      That’s awesome! So glad that it worked for you! 🙂

    2. Wendy G Carpenter says:

      Can you substitute the butter for margarine?

      1. The Seasoned Mom says:

        We haven’t tested it, but it should work! We’d love to know how it turns out if you give it a try.

  6. Analicia Ashe says:

    5 stars
    We just made this and I accidentally left the Coke out of the cake mix, but it was still so good! We ate it while it was still warm and the glaze was so ooey-gooey and amazing! I will use this glaze for other cakes in the future.

    1. Blair says:

      I’m glad that it still worked for you, Analicia! The Coke adds flavor, but it also helps the cake rise more and have a fluffy texture…so next time, maybe you’ll like it even better! 🙂

  7. Gayle Shepherd says:

    Can yo add marshmellows or pecons to this batter? Thanks

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Gayle! Sure — I think that both of those options would work well!

  8. Dawn Houston says:

    Can you make cupcakes with this recipe?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Dawn! I think the cake would be great as cupcakes, but I worry that the glaze on top would run right off the side of the rounded cupcake tops. Maybe use a thicker more traditional chocolate frosting instead?

  9. Tiara says:

    5 stars
    Can this be made with a Bundt pan?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Tiara! I think it would probably work, but Bundt cakes tend to do better with a more dense batter. You will likely need to bake the cake at a lower temperature (325) and for a longer amount of time to ensure that it bakes through. Hope that helps!

    2. Tanya says:

      Hi! How long does this last when stored and what is the best way to store?

      Also, for the cooling process should that be done at room temperature or in the fridge?

      Making this either today or tomorrow – so excited 🙂

      1. The Seasoned Mom says:

        Hi Tanya!

        Cover the cake with plastic or foil (or transfer to an airtight container), and store at room temperature for up to 5 days. It does not need to be refrigerated; however, if your house is particularly warm or humid, the icing might get soft. In that case, you might prefer to keep it covered in the fridge.

        Cool at room temperature.

        We hope you enjoy!

  10. Laurie says:

    5 stars
    Ohhhhh my goodness.
    Simply amazing and delicious
    I substituted mayo for the oil and that made this cake a 10/10

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Laurie! I love the idea of using mayo instead of oil. Great tip!

  11. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    I have made this recipe with both Coke Zero and diet Dr Pepper. Both turned out wonderfully.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad! Thank you for the feedback, Cindy.

  12. Marion McClung says:

    Yum. I am currently rearranging my books and looked at one filled with fancy finicky recipes which I would never make. But THIS one. This is what I call serious FOOD. It’s going on my short list.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you, Marion! We hope you enjoy!

  13. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    My family loves this cake. I have made it twice with Coke Zero and it turned out great.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      We’re so glad you enjoy it, Cindy! Thanks for taking the time to let us know.

  14. Cindy says:

    5 stars
    Tested this with both Diet Coke and Coke Zero. Both turned out great

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Cindy!

  15. Bonniefaye says:

    Haven’t tried it yet. My chocolate box cake mix calls for milk instead of water. Can I use this for the coca cola cake. If so how do I add the coca cola? Please help.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      That should be fine! Just follow the instructions in the recipe card as listed. We hope you enjoy!

  16. Bonniefaye says:

    5 stars
    My chocolate box cake calls for milk not water. Can I still use coke? If so how?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Bonniefaye! Yes, ma’am! Just use the same amount of Coca Cola as the box calls for milk. So if the box calls for 1 cup of milk, use 1 cup of Coke instead. Hope you enjoy!