Sunday, March 4, 2012

Coca-Cola® Cake

The Setting: A cold and snowy night in South Bend. 

The Soundtrack: The Wire.

On the Stove-top: Brown rice for Gumbo.

The Scenario: Time to talk Cola Cake.

First of all, let me just say I have no association with the Coca-Cola Company.

I gave up soft drinks in the eighth grade at the behest of my track coach, and with the exception of the occasional 7UP® to sooth a sour stomach, I never looked least...not for drinking purposes.

In the South it's pretty common to throw sodas into marinades, stews, baked goods, etc. Except no one in the South says "soda," and if you say "pop" you WILL be mocked.

"Coke" is pretty much a blanket term for the entire category.

So when I added cola cake to the menu for Music City in the Midwest, it was Coca-Cola® by default.

But then I started thinking....

Should I use an all-natural cola? That would generally be my preference.

But I was aiming for authenticity.

Was there a cola that better represented Nashville? Maybe I should use Royal Crown.

So I did a little research.

Due to the Southern cultural iconic-ness of pairing RC Colas® and MoonPies,® the latter of which are a Tennessee product, many people assume RC is a Tennessee brand as well.

However, while it is Southern to be sure, RC comes from Columbus Georgia, about an hour southwest of Atlanta (the birthplace and headquarters of the Coca-Cola Company).

Geographically, it was a toss-up.

But then I remembered my motto: when in doubt, defer to Cracker Barrel.

Cracker Barrel, which is a Tennessee company, uses Coca-Cola in their chocolate cola cake, and if it's good enough for the Barrel, it's good enough for me.

A simpler, more modest chocolate cake than, say, the towering, regal layer cake I've raved over in the past, the Coca-Cola Cake gives that, or any competitor, a serious run for its chocolate.

In fact, I'm surprised to say that after coming up with this recipe, when I dream in chocolate now, it is of this I dream.

I heard Faith Hill say on a talk show once that her Coca-Cola cake was (hubby) Tim McGraw's all-time favorite treat. If her recipe is anything like this one, I can certainly see why.

3/4 cup Coca-Cola®
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 vegetable oil
2 large eggs + 2 yolks
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt

~for the glaze~
1 stick butter
1/3 cup Coca-Cola
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and lightly flour a 13- by 9- by 3-inch cake pan.

In a med-large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cola, cocoa, butter, chocolate chips, and oil, cooking 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, till smooth. Remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In another small bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together eggs, yolks, buttermilk, and vanilla. Whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Whisk in flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 for 31 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs but not coated in batter.

After the cake has been baking for 15 minutes, prepare glaze: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, cola, and cocoa, cooking and stirring just till smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla.

Pour 1/4 of the warm glaze over the hot cake. Poke the cake all over with a skewer and pour 1/4 more glaze over the holes. If the glaze pools on the outsides, use a spatula to help redirect it to the center and into the holes. Continue with remaining glaze, 1/4 at a time. Let set at least 2 hours before cutting.

Stores well, covered, in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Guest Feedback:
Average Score on a scale of 0-5, 0 being "Never again. Need to set my mouth on fire to extinguish the memory" and 5 being "Woohoo! When can I eat that again?" 4.25
Comments: "Best Cola Cake I have ever had and I grew up having it." "Very dense and Moist and perfect." "Heavenly."

This recipe was featured in a post called Music City in the Midwest for's 24x24 event, for which 24 food bloggers from around the world are selected to host dinner parties within the same 24 hours and blog about them.

Thanks for reading! Here's to Being the Secret Ingredient in your life.

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