When I was developing this recipe, I thought I was creating a novelty cake appropriate only for festive occasions such as birthday parties. The result, however, was a mature, flavorful and versatile cake that is appropriate for many occasions. The cake incorporates the flavors found in a cherry Coke® (including 5 cups of Coca-Cola®), but it’s not overly sweet. This is a labor-intensive cake that takes a while to make.
- 3 cups (360 grams) bleached all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- .5 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg (use a microplane)
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or .5 teaspoon table salt)
- 1 cup Coca-Cola at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 2 cups (384 grams) white sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour or spray two 9”x3” cake baking pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fit the stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Turn the mixer to the stir setting and allow these dry ingredients to stir for one minute. Turn off the mixer and use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl, bringing unmixed ingredients to the top. Turn the mixer back to the stir setting and allow it to stir for an additional minute.
Add the canola oil to the mixer’s bowl. Turn the mixer to stir and allow the oil to thoroughly coat all of the dry mixture. Turn the mixer off.
Slowly add the teaspoon of kosher salt to the Coca-Cola. (Be careful, the salt will cause the Coke to fizz.) Add the vanilla to the Coke and stir until the salt is dissolved. Pour the Coke mixture into the mixer’s bowl. Add the eggs and the sugar. Mix on low speed until combined then increase the mixer’s speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.
Divide the batter between the pans and bake for approximately 29-31 minutes, until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes then remove from the pan, turn right-side up and allow to cool to room temperature on the wire racks.
- 4 cups Coca-Cola
- .5 cup (96 grams) white sugar
- .5 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 whites from large eggs at room temperature
- .5 teaspoon cream of tartar
- .25 (48 grams) cup white sugar
Begin by reducing the Coca-Cola. Put the .5 cup white sugar and the .5 teaspoon kosher salt into a medium-size heavy saucepan. Pour the Coke into the saucepan. If all of it won’t fit, stop when the saucepan is about 3/4 full. Put the saucepan over medium heat and reduce the Coke by simmering it, adding any additional coke once some of the water has boiled away. (Reducing the Coke will take a while; mine took about an hour.) When you have approximately 3/4 cup of liquid remaining, carefully insert a candy thermometer into the saucepan.
On a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly pour in the .25 cup of white sugar and continue whipping until the eggs are at the stiff peak stage, but not dried out. Turn off the mixer.
When the simmering Coke mixture reaches 240 degrees Fahrenheit, remove it from the stove, take out the thermometer and pour a small amount of the Coke mixture into the eggs and quickly turn the mixer to high for a few seconds. Turn the mixer off and start again by pouring a small amount of the Coke mixture into the eggs and mixing. Keep repeating this until all of the Coke mixture is whipped into the eggs, then turn the mixer on high and whip until the frosting is room temperature. (You might want to put a cover on your mixer’s bowl as this can produce a lot of fluffy frosting.)
- 1 can (12 ounces) cherry cake filling (I used Solo brand.)
When your cake is cool, assemble it by putting one layer on your serving dish. Level the top of the cake and spread the can of cherry filling over the top. Put the other layer on top and level it. Frost the cake. The frosting will deflate a bit as you work with it; this is normal.
You can reserve the pieces of cake left over from leveling the layers and use them as a cake topping.
Coca-Cola® and Coke® are registered trademarks of The Coca-Cola Company.