Coca-Cola Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting
for the cake:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup Coca-Cola not diet, not Coke Zero
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup milk
for the frosting:
- 8 oz brick cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, at room temperature (your peanut butter shouldn't be cold anyway!)
- 3 cup confectioners sugar
for the cake: (you can make the cake the day before you want to serve it)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch jelly roll or cake pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars, baking powder, and flour. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the Coca-Cola, butter, oil, and cocoa and bring to a boil over medium heat. Allow to cool slightly.
- Beat into dry ingredients.
- Stir in the eggs, milk, and vanilla.
- Pour into prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool, in pan, on a wire rack for 5 minutes then remove from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.
for the icing: I like to ice the day we are going to eat the cake so if you made the cake a day early, ice it the next morning.
- Place all ingredients in a medium bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) and beat, with an electric mixer, until well combined and light and fluffy.
- Spread on cooled cake.
Today’s my birthday! In the past we’ve gone away for the week, it is August and prime vacation season after all, but last year my mom was rehab after her brain cancer diagnosis and surgery, and this year she is back in rehab again so we are sticking close to home so I can manage her care. Add in a pandemic and it means we really aren’t even leaving the house! Woo!
My husband took the week off anyway and we have a new puppy so making delicious food and staying in seemed like a logical plan. Or the only plan, if I’m being honest.
I hadn’t had a Coca-Cola cake in many, many years but Coke has been on my mind thanks to the aluminum shortage making soda (in cans) vexingly difficult. Please let me have my one vice!
Traditionally it’s made with a boiled soda icing which is fine but I don’t love the “crust” that forms so I wanted to make something different. It’s my birthday so I can do what I want!
I don’t know how the practice of putting peanuts in bottles of coke started but I’ve had it in both the traditional way (straight up salted peanuts in a coke bottle) and a fancy version with homemade peanut syrup and cane-sugar Coke. It’s a solid combo–who doesn’t like salty and sweet together?
I decided to take it one step further and make a rich Coca-Cola cake and top it with a light, peanutty frosting? I don’t always love straight peanut butter frosting so I opted for a cream cheese base which I think was the right way to go. It was lighter in texture but still full of peanut flavor. Since it’s my birthday we topped it with sprinkles but I think peanuts would be super cute. It is a Texas sheet cake style cake so it is a literally “short” cake–only a bit more than an inch and a quarter–but it’s very rich so I don’t think you will be disappointed by the lack of height. If you want to lean into the Texas Sheet Cake aspect, make the cake the night before and allow it to cool completely in the pan, then ice just the top the next day. I like icing on all sides so I iced it like I would any other cake.
The cake is surprisingly not as sweet as you’d think. Well, it is still quite sweet but the peanut butter tempers that quite a bit. I suggest serving it in modest squares.