When I found out my friend from California would be driving across the country with his daughter, picking up his mom in Maryland, and heading south for the July 4th weekend, my first thought was: What are we going to eat and drink?!? (Which if you know anything about the Albanese family, you know is always the first question that comes to mind.)
This was a momentous occasion. Not only because Patrick was making a pretty momentous journey to join my mom, my sister, and I for the holiday weekend, but because it's one of the first times we'd all be seeing anyone in person outside of our respective pandemic bubbles. Although Georgia was one of the first states to lift shelter-in-place orders and reopen businesses, my family has continued to behave as though quarantine is still required. My mom falls into the high-risk category, so until there's more evidence that the virus is under control or a vaccine is available, sacrificing social time is a no-brainer. (And now that Coronavirus cases in Georgia have skyrocketed, we clearly made the right decision!) Given that Patrick and his family are also ardent quarantiners, social distancers, and mask wearers, we all felt safe expanding our bubbles and finally enjoying some real life face time with friends!
As the baker in the family, my mind immediately turned to bread and sweets. (Yes, I'm the epitome of southern in many ways.) After all, a proper southern summer gathering requires a proper southern treat, and there's nothing that fits the bill more than a chocolaty, indulgent, delightfully sweet Coca-Cola cake!
This is one of those desserts that's meant for a crowd. It's no fuss in the sense that it's made in a pan, so there's nothing fancy about how it's put together, decorated, or served. It's a dream dessert for those with a massive sweet tooth like me, and will do its part in giving you a true taste of down south! (It's definitely on the sweet side, though, so if you don't like sweet treats this probably isn't the dessert for you.)
Although there's Coke in both the batter and the frosting, it doesn't actually taste like cola – the cola just gives it a different layer of sweetness while adding a bit of a crackle to the frosting. Which is what makes Coca-Cola cake Coca-Cola cake! And unlike most cakes, the frosting goes on this one while it's still hot, so it seeps into the cake a touch as it forms that dream worthy crust on top.
The best recipe for this cake comes from a gal I once knew, who was gracious enough to share her creation with me many years ago. But Peggy's recipe is buried somewhere deep inside my storage unit, so the Brown Eyed Baker's recipe is a wonderful alternative. I've never made a dessert of hers that I didn't like, and this one is no exception (which I've adapted just slightly based on my own personal preferences). One day I'll do a taste comparison between Peggy's recipe and the Brown Eyed Baker's, but until then, this one will do you just right. After all, if 12-year-old Bella gives it a stamp of approval – who has a more distinguished palate than most people I know – then you know it must be good!
PS: Please excuse my unstaged photos! I was more focused on being in the moment with my friends and actually eating this cake than on taking proper photos....I'll update the post with more blogworthy snaps next time I make this treat!