I came across this recipe for Chocolate Coca Cola Cake in the Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake-Off cookbook from 1959. The recipe was a Senior Winner and I assure you I know why – this is a mighty tasty cake!

I’ve always had a bit of a weak spot for the sugar-y drink and so naturally this cake caught my attention. The cola in the recipe is said to add “a bit of mystery to the flavor of the chocolate cake” and I have to say that the flavor is quite subtle — the mystery is really trying to find the cola taste at all… 

That being said, the cake quickly came together, was sturdy and dense and didn’t have an over-the-top chocolate taste. The cocoa taste was there and it was pleasant but this isn’t one of those cakes that bowls you with its chocolate-y-ness. Collin Murray, who hates chocolate and Coca Cola because he is a curious individual, loved the cake for it’s “interesting” flavor and great texture.

The frosting, however, was a bit of a pickle. I’m all over a cake with a sticky meringue and the Coca Cola Frosting was no exception in terms of sticky-ness. I didn’t want to deal with the gooey-ness; having a sticky frosting kind of complicates frosting a cake and sometimes it’s ok but sometimes, it just annoys. This was one of those times.

If you like a meringue frosting go crazy, the Cola frosting has a nice subtle flavor of the soda and it’s a pretty contrast to the color and taste of the cake too. However, if you don’t like sticky fingers and haven’t iced a lot of cakes in your day, I might suggest swapping out the frosting for a simple chocolate or vanilla (or Coca Cola) buttercream. The cake would be equally as tasty and omitting the frosting might save you a few grey hairs.

All in all, I have to say that the first recipe I’ve tried from Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake Off Collection was a hit. A simple, quick to mix chocolate cake and a tasty (but just a wee bit trying) frosting. 

Chocolate Coca Cola Cake (adapted from Pillsbury’s Best of the Bake Off Collection)


2 cups all purpose flour

1 ⅓ cups sugar

½ cup cocoa

1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

⅔ cup buttermilk

⅔ cup Coca Cola beverage

1 egg, plus 2 egg yolks (save whites for frosting)


1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

3 egg whites

¼ teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons Coca Cola

To prepare the cake:

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease 2-8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Turn mixer onto the lowest speed and mix to combine. Add the softened butter and beat for one minute at a medium speed. Add the buttermilk and Coca Cola slowly, turning the mixer up as the liquid starts to incorporate. After about one minute, the mixture should be smooth, add the eggs and beat the batter on high for an additional minute, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the pans for an hour. Once cool, remove from pans and allow the cakes to cool completely before attempting to frost.

To prepare the frosting:

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine all the ingredients and lightly whisk to combine. Place the ingredients over a pot of simmering water, being sure that the water doesn’t touch the pot. Whisk the ingredients constantly until they reach a temperature of 170˚F.

As soon as the mixture reaches 170˚F, remove the bowl from the heat and transfer it to a stand mixer, fitted with a whisk attachment. Whisk on high until the frosting is thick, glossy, and cool to the touch.

Immediately frost cake and enjoy.