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!
FAQ’S ABOUT 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.
The origins are somewhat unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the Southern United States, where Coca Cola was first invented.
You can substitute with other dark sodas. Dr Pepper, Cherry Coke or Pepsi can all be used as substitutes. Even root beer!
Want to make them into cupcakes with a Coca Cola Frosting? Try my recipe for Coca Cola Cupcakes!
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.
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 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake according to package directions (usually 35-40 minutes).
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.
In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, gently melt butter. Whisk in cocoa powder and heavy cream (or milk, if using) and stir.
Then whisk in confectioners sugar. Whisk briskly to get all the lumps out.
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.
Slice and serve (this is delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!)
Originally published: June 2011
Updated & republished: May 2023
Coca Cola Cake (+Video)
For the cake:
For the frosting:
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.
- 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.
“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 can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.