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Coca-Cola Cake (+Video)

Coca Cola Cake is a classic dessert recipe that is made easy by starting with a boxed cake mix and topping it with a rich, homemade chocolate frosting!

A RICH, CHOCOLATE-Y FUDGE CAKE

If you like the Coca Cola Cake at Cracker Barrel then you’ll love this cake! Most people can’t taste the Coke as a separate ingredient in this. It just adds that extra little something special that you can’t quite put your finger on. Folks in the south are familiar with this beloved cake. This is a dessert that is sure to satisfy any sweet tooth. Whether you’re a fan of Coke or just looking for a delicious chocolate cake recipe, Coca Cola Cake is a must-try dessert that is sure to become a family favorite!

a spatula holding a slice of Coca Cola Cake over the cake pan.

FAQ’S ABOUT COCA COLA CAKE:

What is Coca Cola Cake?

It is a chocolate cake made with Coca Cola soda in the batter. It is typically topped with a chocolate frosting and chopped nuts.

Where did Coca Cola Cake originate?

The origins are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the Southern United States, where Coca Cola was first invented.

Can I use other soda flavors?

You can substitute with other dark sodas. Dr Pepper, Cherry Coke or Pepsi can all be used as substitutes. Even root beer!

Can I make this into cupcakes?

Want to make them into cupcakes with a Coca Cola Frosting? Try my recipe for Coca Cola Cupcakes!

What if I don’t want to use a cake mix?

Want to make a homemade cake? Try my One Bowl Chocolate Cake Recipe and instead of the hot water in the recipe, use hot Coca Cola! Or, if you like dark chocolate, try making it with my Homemade Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe and substituting the coffee with Coca Cola.

What does Coca Cola Cake taste like?

You don’t actually taste a strong cola flavor. I think the Coca Cola just adds a depth of flavor and richness to the chocolate cake.

The frosting seems thin, can I double it?

The frosting is rich so you don’t need as much as you think. It is just the right amount for this cake; however, if you really want a thick frosting, you can certainly double the recipe.

How do I store this cake?

This cake will typically last for 2 days if stored at room temperature in an airtight container. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 3 months.

a slice of Coca Cola cake on a small white plate with a bite removed and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • chocolate fudge cake mix – you can use your favorite chocolate cake here, most chocolate cake flavors work just fine
  • instant chocolate pudding – make sure to grab instant and not the cook and serve, sometimes the packaging is not obvious but if you don’t get the instant, it won’t turn out.
  • Coca-Cola – everyone always asks me about Diet Coke – yes, technically you can use it but I think it can sometimes add a strange flavor (just my personal taste on that)
  • unsweetened cocoa – you’ll find this in the baking aisle, Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder is generally the most popular brand and the one you find in most grocery stores
  • heavy cream – I love what heavy cream adds to the frosting, it really makes it so perfectly rich but you can use milk (see my notes below)
  • powdered sugar – you’ll sometimes see it called confectioners sugar
  • chopped nuts – I love chopped walnuts or pecans on it but my family does not so this is a personal preference (sometimes I do half and half)
chocolate fudge cake mix, instant chocolate pudding, Coca Cola, butter, vanilla, eggs, oil, water, powdered sugar, cocoa powder.

HOW TO MAKE COCA COLA CAKE:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. See photo below: we won’t be adding water. Instead we will replace it with Coca Cola.

Duncan Hines Chocolate Cake mix directions shown.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, stir together cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, oil and Coke for about 2 minutes on medium speed.

cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, oil and Coke in a white mixing bowl.

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake according to package directions (usually 35-40 minutes).

chocolate cake batter shown in a glass rectangle baking dish.

Note: The cake may have a slight dip in the center. This is normal if it happens. When it is done, a toothpick will come out clean.

fully cooked chocolate cake in a clear baking dish.

In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, gently melt butter. Whisk in cocoa powder and heavy cream (or milk, if using) and stir.

cocoa powder and melted butter in a saucepan.

Then whisk in confectioners sugar. Whisk briskly to get all the lumps out. 

powdered sugar added to butter and cocoa powder in a saucepan.

Take mixture off heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Pour frosting over warm cake and gently spread it evenly over cake. Sprinkle with chopped nuts (if using). Now, if you want, you can pop it in the fridge to get the icing to harden up a bit. Totally optional.

pouring chocolate frosting on top of cake.

Slice and serve (this is delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!)

closeup photo of a slice of Coca Cola cake topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

CRAVING MORE?

Originally published: June 2011
Updated & republished: May 2023

Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Cake recipe from The Country Cook.

Coca Cola Cake (+Video)

Coca Cola Cake is a classic dessert recipe that is made easy by starting with a boxed cake mix and topping it with a rich, homemade chocolate frosting! 
4.87 from 37 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 15.25 ounce box chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 4 ounce instant chocolate pudding (small box)
  • 3 large eggs
  • cup oil
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 4 Tablespoons heavy cream (you may need one or two more Tablespoons depending on how thin or thick you like your frosting) *see notes below
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Instructions

For the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9×13-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, stir together 15.25 ounce box chocolate fudge cake mix, 4 ounce instant chocolate pudding, 3 large eggs, 1/3 cup oil and 1 cup Coca-Cola for about 2 minutes on medium speed.
  • Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake according to package directions (usually 35-40 minutes). Note: The cake will have a slight dip in the center. This is normal. When it is done, a toothpick will come out clean.

For the frosting:

  • In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, start melting 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter.
  • Add in 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa and 4 Tablespoons heavy cream and stir.
  • Then whisk in 2 cups powdered sugar. Stir briskly with a whisk to get all the lumps out.
  • Take mixture off heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
  • Pour frosting over cake and evenly spread it out over cake.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts on top, if using. I think this cake is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • If you are using milk instead of heavy cream, you will probably only need about 3-4 Tablespoons of it because milk is thinner than heavy cream. Just use your judgement on it. Start with less and add a little at a time to get the right consistency. Or, you can always add a bit more powdered sugar to the frosting to make it thicker if you like. 
  • Other chocolate cake mix flavors can be used. 
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 418kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Sodium: 544mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




83 Comments

  1. 1 star
    No, this is not the Southern recipe for Coca Cola cake. There is no cake mix in this cake if it is made correctly. This is a scratch cake, no box cake. I have been making my Mama’s recipe for over 50 years, and there is no box cake mix. I tried Cracker Barrel’s version when they 1st put it on their menu & I was not happy, it was a box cake mix with a little Coca Cola and it not even remotely close to the recipe. My recipe has unsalted butter, AP flour, gran. Sugar, cocoa, baking soda, salt, vanilla, eggs, buttermilk, Coke, & mini marshmallows. The icing; unsalted butter, cocoa, Coke, confectioners sugar & vanilla. Add pecans if you want. I will be more than happy to share this recipe if you want it, just email me. This recipe is fantastic.

  2. 5 stars
    Made this….it was delicious, and what I especially love is the icing. I’m not a fan of cakes loaded with several inches of teeth-achingly sweet frostings, it’s the cake I go for, and a thin layer of icing to compliment it is just fine. This is the icing I’ll use from now on for chocolate sheet cakes.

  3. This recipe looks very interesting and I am dying to try it out but unfortunately we don’t get chocolate pudding in the country where I live, can you think of any replacement?

  4. The heavy cream states to whisk in a cold bowl. Do I need to do that and measure it out from there or use like a liquid out of container?

  5. 5 stars
    Wow!! What a amazing cake this is!!
    I made it yesterday and I had one piece and my husband has half gone already! He loves it. This cake is so delicious and easy to make. The frosting is as easy and soo yummy! We now have a new sweet that we both love! Thank you for sharing!
    The Hanna’s in North Dakota.♥️

  6. Do I have to use cooking spray? When a recipe calls for greasing the pan, I usually use shortening. I’m planning on baking this on Saturday for my husband’s birthday.

  7. Can’t wait to try…I’m trying this for Bunco tomorrow… can you make it with Diet Coke and use a bundt pan? would the icing work for a bundt drizzle?

    Thanks!
    Alicia

  8. 5 stars
    I’ve made this cake two times within the last three weeks. My husband’s not a big chocolate cake fan, but he has proclaimed this cake as his favorite cake of all time! It’s my favorite, too, and I love chocolate cake. I just make it for the second time this morning, which prompted me to come on here and leave a comment about how wonderful (and easy!) this recipe is! Thank you! You’re my favorite food blogger! <3

  9. I would love to make this can I use unsalter butter als can I make this in a bandit pan will let you know how it turns and by the way I will be making your 7 up bandit cake next week looking forward hearing from you thank for your great recipes you go girl keep them coming my way hope you have a great weekend

  10. I would like to make this cake for a party this weekend and wanted to know if this would work in a Bundt pan? I look forward to your reply.

  11. Would this recipe work in a Bundt pan? Just a thought, would love to know what you think.. I cant wait to make this cake!

    1. 5 stars
      I made it in a bundt cake as directed and it was amazing. It came out a little underdone so that it was nice and moist and gooey too. Highly recommend.

  12. 5 stars
    Hey Brandie – first of all THANKS SO MUCH for using a cake mix! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discarded tasty sounding cake recipes because they were “scratch” cakes and I don’t keep all those ingredients on hand! And second – I got tickled reading your icing directions directions to “whisk” in the cocoa powder; “whisk” in the cream, “whisk” in the confectioners sugar; and “whisk” it good to get the lumps out. Whew! Thankfully the vanilla just gets stirred in, haha! Just teasing you honey. ☺
    Can’t wait to make this cake for my son next time he visits. He loves homemade desserts and this one will knock his socks off. Thanks for sharing Brandie.

  13. Thanks for sharing! I normally make my Coca Cola cake from scratch and being so pressed for time , I’m definitely gonna try this TODAY!1 Thanks!

  14. 5 stars
    I have a Willams Sonoma ‘Great Cupcake Pan’ and wonder what modifications I would have to make. Please help. Love your recipes

  15. Thank you for posting a cola recipe that doesn't use buttermilk and uses a simple box mix! I was talking with my sister-in-law and got to thinking if this recipe could be made using a yellow cake mix and vanilla pudding instead. I'm only asking because my Coke of choice is vanilla Coke, but I'm sure the vanilla Coke could very easily be used instead of regular Coke in this chocolate cake! Thanks again for the easy recipe!

  16. Thank you SO much. I ate this cake years ago and thought it was awesome with the best icing ever. I will definitely be making this soon. We have four generations living under one roof, food is slim at times but this seems affordable with ingredients I usually have on hand. My elderly Mother loves cake, as does my Granddaughter. Can't wait!

  17. You're missing one key ingredient in the cake batter and that's marshmallows.

    Heather
    Cracker Barrel Employee 😀

  18. Do you think I could use Almond milk, mixed with some half and half for the whipping cream portion, or just half and half?