Chocolate Cola Cake: chocolate cola cake with a chocolate cola glaze and vanilla buttercream.
A Southern Tradition
I’m so excited to finally share with you my Chocolate Cola Cake! I hate to admit it, but until recently, this is a cake I didn’t know existed. Well, that’s not entirely true. What I knew to be “Cola Cake” was a box mix cake with a can of soda added to it. Ha! Definitely not a real Cola Cake, as I’ve learned.
So what is a true Southern Cola Cake? Well, there are a lot of theories about how this cake originated: some say this cake stems from sugar rationing during World War II. Because sugar was being rationed during the war, bakers couldn’t use as much in their baking. The Coca-Cola Company, however, was exempt from the rationing, so their soda still had lots of sugar! Because of this, bakers would use Coca-Cola in their cakes for the added sweetness.
Others would argue that Cola Cake became popular because Coca-Cola was trying to expand their brand in other markets, so they started publishing recipes with their soda as a main ingredient.
Either way, this cake became a staple across America and is known for its rich, sweet flavor.
Chocolate Cola Cake
I also learned that this classic Southern cake has a slight hint of chocolate flavor (similar to a red velvet), and is topped with a frosting that feels a bit more like a glaze. It doesn’t really set like a buttercream, which is why you’ve probably only seen this cake in a sheet pan.
You may have also seen or tried this cake with mini marshmallows in the cake or pecans spread across the top. I, of course, am not using nuts and turned this into a layered cake. I also omitted the marshmallows because I knew my added vanilla buttercream would make this cake nice and sweet on it’s own.
Notes About This Cake
- It’s best to make the glaze a day or two ahead of when you want to assemble the cake. This gives the glaze time to thicken a bit.
- You’ll want to level your cakes or at least trim a bit off the top so the glaze can soak into the cake layers.
- Always remember to use fresh baking powder (nothing over 6 months old) to get a good rise out of your cake.
- Don’t over-mix the cake batter. Over-mixing your batter will cause it to sink in the oven.
- Keep an eye on your cake layers toward the end of baking. Remember, the cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.