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This Coca Cola Cake is a classic Southern dessert recipe made easy — thanks to help from a box of cake mix! The moist and fluffy chocolate cake is covered in a homemade fudgy Coca Cola frosting for a decadent, crowd-pleasing treat!

Slice of Coca Cola Cake on a teal plate

If you’re looking for an easy dessert recipe to serve at your next Sunday supper, church potluck, or pig pickin’, then you have come to the right place. After all, doesn’t everyone love chocolate cake?!

Can you make a cake with Coke?

Yes, not only can you make a cake with Coke, but you can also make a delicious chocolate and pecan Coca Cola icing — and I’m about to show you how!

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 Coca Cola Cake tastes a lot like a traditional chocolate sheet cake, and has 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!

Horizontal image of coca cola chocolate cake on a plate with whipped cream and strawberries

How to Make Coca Cola Cake:

The inspiration for this particular recipe came 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 shares her tried-and-true recipes with me on a regular basis, which she tucks inside old-fashioned handwritten notes. Every time I find a letter in our mailbox with her distinctive handwriting on the outside (postmarked from North Carolina), I get a warm, happy feeling inside. I know that her thoughtful messages and her delicious food are 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 a Coca Cola Cake without buttermilk and without marshmallows, requiring just a handful of very basic ingredients.

First, let’s bake the cake! You’ll need a box of chocolate cake mix, plus the ingredients called for on the package. Instead of the water, however, you’ll substitute with an equal amount of Coca Cola.

I used this Betty Crocker mix (but any variety will work), plus oil, eggs and Coke.

Cake mix and other ingredients for Coca Cola Cake

Mix the batter according to the instructions on the box, and bake as directed.

Batter with mixer for Coca Cola Cake in glass bowl

How do you make Coca Cola Frosting?

While the cake is still warm from the oven, it’s time to make the Coca Cola icing.

Begin by boiling butter, cocoa powder, and Coke in a large saucepan.

Ingredients for Coca Cola Frosting in saucepan

Remove the butter mixture from the heat, and mix in the confectioners sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.

Powdered sugar and vanilla extract for Coca Cola Frosting

Coca Cola Frosting in saucepan with whisk

Fold in the pecans and pour the hot icing over the warm cake.

Pouring coca cola frosting onto Coca Cola CakeThe icing will harden as the cake cools.

Piece of coca cola cake in blue baking dish on a spatula

How to store Coca Cola Cake:

Cover the cake with plastic or foil and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Does Coca Cola Cake need to be refrigerated?

No, this cake does not need to be refrigerated.

Can Coca Cola Cake be frozen?

Yes! Wrapped tightly, the cake will last in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Coca Cola Cake on a plate with whipped cream

COOK’S TIPS:

  • Check your package of chocolate cake mix to make sure that you’re using the correct ingredients, since every brand differs slightly.
  • Make sure that you pour the Coca Cola Frosting over a warm cake.
  • Allow plenty of time for the cake to cool completely and the icing to harden before slicing and serving.

The next time you have a potluck to attend, a special picnic planned, or a party to host, be sure to whip up this quick and easy Coca Cola Cake recipe to WOW your guests. Trust me: they will NOT be disappointed!

OTHER EASY CAKE RECIPES THAT YOU MIGHT ENJOY:

Slice of Coca Cola Cake on a teal plate

Coca Cola Cake

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Cooling Time 3 hours
Total: 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 cake mix, plus ingredients called for on the box
  • 1.25 ounces Coca Cola

For the Coca Cola Frosting:

  • 1 stick butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons Coca Cola
  • 1 (16 ounce) box confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Prepare cake in a 9x13-inch pan according to package instructions, BUT replace water with an equal amount of Coca Cola.
  • While the cake is still warm, prepare the Coca Cola Frosting.

To prepare the 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 and pour the hot icing over the warm cake. The icing will harden into a sweet shell over the cake as it cools.

Notes

How to store Coca Cola Cake:
Cover the cake with plastic or foil and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Does Coca Cola Cake need to be refrigerated?
No, this cake does not need to be refrigerated.
Can Coca Cola Cake be frozen?
Yes! Wrapped tightly, the cake will last in the freezer for up to 2 months.
COOK'S TIPS:
  • Check your package of chocolate cake mix to make sure that you're using the correct ingredients, since every brand differs slightly.
  • Make sure that you pour the Coca Cola Frosting over a warm cake.
  • Allow plenty of time for the cake to cool completely and the icing to harden before slicing and serving.
 

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: chocolate cake recipe, coca cola cake, easy chocolate cake recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Author: Blair Lonergan

This post was originally published in May, 2016. It was updated in February, 2019.

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!

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Comments

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

  4. 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. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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. 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! 🙂

    1. 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?

    1. 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!