Southerners love their Coca Cola Chocolate Cake! Marshmallows and soda pop may seem like odd ingredients to use in a cake, but in the South, they are the real thing. This moist and rich chocolate sheet cake is a regular staple for social gatherings and celebrations. The addition of the cola adds an additional sweetness and the carbonation adds an airiness to the texture of the cake. Since I love all things chocolate, I was ready to dive in head first to try this cake.
The traditional recipes for Coca Cola cakes that I found, use marshmallows and an icing that is supposed to be spread on the hot cake straight out of the oven. The icing partially melts into the hot cake to help create the sticky texture. I found this cake easy to make and after enjoying my first piece, I can definitely see why Southerners love this chocolate, gooey goodness!
History of Coca-Cola Cake:
In the deep South, drinking Coca-Cola soda pop is a religion. It is such a staple in the Southern culture that most Southerners refer to Coca-Cola and all soda pop for that matter as just “Coke.” Because of this Coca-Cola love, it seems natural that the Coca-Cola cake also finds its origins in the south. It is very common to go to a church social or family reunion and find a Coca-Cola sheet cake on the dessert section of the buffet table.
“Of all the recipes, the most widespread, according to the Coca Cola Company, is one for a gooey chocolate cake with miniature marshmallows, pecans and probably more calories per square inch than anyone can count.”
It is unclear to researchers if Coca-Cola cake was a created in a home kitchen or a clever way for The Coca-Cola Company to market their soda. Historians have found newspaper articles to confirm that using cola in cake recipes originated in the Southern United States. The earliest reference to a Coca-Cola Cake recipe appears in 1950’s Cookbooks and was brought to the forefront again in the 1990’s.
1952 – First reference found to a published recipe: Chocolate Cola Cake recipe published in the Charleston Gazette, August 8, 1952 (p.20), “Unusual’ dishes awarded second, third place in contest“ Mrs. E.D. Greer or Lillybrook, W.VA. supplied the recipe
1997 – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, founded in the south, was looking for ways to further incorporate Coca-Cola into their menu. They came across the classic Coca-Cola cake recipe, increased the cocoa ratio and reintroduced it as Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake. They decided to offer this dessert for limited periods on their menu. The cake became so popular with customers that Cracker Barrel would continue to receive requests, letters and phone calls asking for the cake to be on the regular menu all year. Finally in 2009, Cracker Barrel made the Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola cake a permanent menu item and it has become their signature dessert. When you mention Cracker Barrel, people strongly associate the Coca-Cola Cake.
Coca-Cola Chocolate Cake Recipe:
FAQs: Cakes- Cola Cakes, by the Food Timeline, Colacake – Yes it’s true, Cooking with Coke, by Dena Kleinman, New York Times, June 6, 1190 (p.C6)
History of Cracker Barrel’s Double Chocolate Fudge Coca-Cola Cake, by Nora Zelevansky, May 30, 2013
I slightly adapted this Coca-Cola cake recipe featured on the Coca-Cola Company website. Recipe contributed by Lee Avery Catts to Atlanta Cooknotes, published by The Junior League of Atlanta.