This rich Classic Coca-Cola Cake with Marshmallows is super moist, scrumptious, and beloved by my chocoholic family!

A Coke Cake gets its name from the addition of cola into the batter. Besides a little extra oomph from the carbonation, there is a subtle, hard-to-identify flavor from the cola.

Coca Cola Cake on a white plate garnished with raspberries and mint.

Why You Must Make

  • This coca cola chocolate cake is a southern classic!
  • Apparently, the Cracker Barrell version is a hot item, and now you can make it at home.
  • Due to the buttermilk, the cake is super moist and tender. If you love chocolate cake, this is a must-try recipe!

We had Coke in the fridge (the high-octane regular version, not diet) and mini marshmallows on hand. I had no excuse not to give this Coke Cake Recipe a try. Note the color differentiation in that forkful—the top is where those marshmallows melted into the batter. It’s one exceptionally moist, irresistible cake!

Ingredient Notes

  • Kitchen Staples – Sugar, Flour, Salt, Baking Soda
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Butter – At room temperature for easy incorporation.
  • Vegetable Oil – A neutral flavored oil like canola.
  • Cocoa Powder – I use Ghirardelli brand, Hershey’s works well, too.
  • Coca-Cola – Regular, not Diet Coke. You need the sugar in the cola.
  • Eggs – At room temperature for easy incorporation.
  • Buttermilk – If you don’t have any on hand, you can easily make your own. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or light-colored vinegar to a 1-cup liquid measuring cup. Fill to the 1 cup mark with 2% or whole milk. Mix and let curdle for a couple of minutes before using.
  • Vanilla Extract – Real vanilla extract, never artificially flavored.
  • Powdered Sugar – Sift for the smoothest frosting.
coca cola cake with a bite removed on a red handled fork.

How to Make

I had a feeling that my chocoholic family would give it their approval, but this one exceeded my expectations. The procedure for mixing this cake batter is a little odd, but it works! Here’s how it goes:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºand prep the pan.
  2. Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl, then mix in the marshmallows.
  3. In a saucepan, bring the butter, oil, cocoa, and cola to a boil and pour over the flour mixture.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda and salt in the buttermilk, then add to the rest of the batter. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Bake as directed.
  6. While the cake is baking, make the frosting. It will be poured over the hot cake.
  7. Place the sifted powdered sugar in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  8. Combine the butter, cocoa, and cola in a saucepan. When it comes to a boil, pour it over the powdered sugar and whisk it until smooth. Mix in the vanilla.
  9. Pour the warm frosting over the cake and let cool before serving.

Tips for Making Your Cake

  • Line your baking pan with non-stick foil for easy cleanup.
  • Note that the addition of marshmallows may make the surface of the cake slightly bumpy. Don’t worry, no one will complain after their first bite.
  • Sift your powdered sugar for the frosting for the smoothest results.
  • Pour your frosting on when the cake is hot from the oven. This helps some of the frosting absorb into the top layer of the cake adding extra moisture.
  • If you want a level top, use Cake Strips for Baking (affiliate link) soaked in water around the perimeter of your pan. This works best on round layer cakes.
  • If you’re out of buttermilk, you can easily make a substitution from commonly found items in your kitchen. See the frequently asked questions above.
  • I omitted the pecans in the frosting since my family doesn’t like nuts. But if you are a fan of nuts in your desserts, add 1 cup of chopped pecans to the frosting before it sets. Toasting them first brings out their essential oils and improves their flavor.
A slice of Coca Cola Cake on a square white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Coca Cola Cake?

A coca-cola cake is a cake, usually chocolate, that uses Coke as an ingredient in both the cake and frosting. The original recipe was developed by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

Why Do You Put Coke in a Cake?

It provides part of the liquids required to make a cake recipe along with sugar and carbonation. It also adds another subtle caramel flavor element. Plus, the carbonation helps to enhance the baking soda.

Can You Freeze a Coca-Cola Cake?

Yes, it freezes well. Chill or freeze briefly so the frosting firms up. Then place the slices in an airtight container. Avoid pressing plastic wrap against the frosting as it will stick when defrosted.
Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before serving. It also keeps well at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

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They went nuts for this easy coca-cola cake, as did my girlfriends who were over for lunch the next day. Not heavy on chocolate, even the picky daughter ate her fair share. It’s super tender, moist, and delicious!! Your family will adore this classic Coke Cake recipe as much as mine did.

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overhead view of coca cola cake on a round white plate with a strawberry slice to garnish and a red handled fork

Coca Cola Cake Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 12 servings

A tender, moist chocolate cake with cola as the secret ingredient

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ½ vegetable oil like canola
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola or another cola-flavored soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
  • 3½ cups powdered sugar (1 box), sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º. Line a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick foil or spray with Baker's Joy or butter and flour the pan. Set aside.
  2. Sift the sugar and flour together in a large bowl, then mix in the marshmallows.
  3. In a saucepan, mix the butter, oil, cocoa, and cola. Bring to a bowl and pour over the flour mixture. Mix until combined.
  4. Dissolve the baking soda and salt in the buttermilk, then add to the rest of the batter. Mix in the eggs and vanilla.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. While the cake is baking, make the frosting.
  7. Place the sifted powdered sugar in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  8. Combine the butter, cocoa, and cola in a saucepan. When it comes to a boil, pour it over the powdered sugar and whisk it until smooth. Mix in the vanilla.
  9. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over the hot cake after it comes out of the oven. Let cool to room temperature before serving.

Notes

You can make your own buttermilk substitute by putting a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a 1 cup liquid measuring cup. Fill to the one cup mark with milk. Whisk to combine and let rest for about 10 minutes before using.

You may also add 1 cup of chopped, toasted pecans to the frosting if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 557Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 326mgCarbohydrates: 82gFiber: 1gSugar: 63gProtein: 4g

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