Southern Snacks Cookbook

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook

I'm P.C., and I have studied food and cooking around the world, mostly by eating, but also through serious study. Coursework at Le Cordon Bleu London and intensive courses in Morocco, Thailand and France have broadened my culinary skill and palate. But my kitchen of choice is at home, cooking like most people, experimenting with unique but practical ideas.

I live, mostly in my kitchen, in my hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

Jack and Coke Cake (Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake with Jack Daniels Buttercream)

I am not much of layer cake maker.  I have failed to master that great Southern skill of crafting magnificent layers of frosted beauty.  I am more of Bundt cake type.  I lack the artistic talents, but mostly the patience, to create the magazine worthy, bakery perfect confections someone who spends as much time cooking as I do should have mastered. There is a reason the picture above is of a slice, not a whole cake. But to be honest, that’s okay with me.  When I spend a good bit of time in the kitchen creating, I want people to know I made it.  I like a cake that’s a little wonky, a little off center.  So that it looks clearly homemade.

When this idea hit me though, I knew I had to break out the palette knife and get to frosting.  The cake is a classic, old-fashioned Coke cake, without the mini-marshmallows, adapted for a layer cake.  The frosting is pillowy and rich with that good ol’ Tennessee sour mash whiskey.

This is the cake for a sophisticated adult birthday party.  I think it would be a wonderful dessert for Thanksgiving, though be aware that the frosting is definitely spiked, so decide if you want the little ones to eat it.  And if you’re final product is a little off-kilter, that’s okay.  Folks may just think you were nippin’ off the bottle in the kitchen!

Jack and Coke Cake (Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake with Jack Daniels Buttercream)

For the Cake:

1 cup Coca-Cola

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup (1 stick) butter

3 Tablespoons cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

½ cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

For the Frosting:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 (2-pound) package of confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup Jack Daniels

3 – 5 Tablespoons Coca-Cola

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans (or use a baking spray like Baker’s Joy).

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Combine the Coke, oil, butter and cocoa powder in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir to melt the butter.  When the butter is melted, bring the mixture to a boil.  With the mixer running on low, pour the boiling mixture into the flour and beat until well combined, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and increasing the speed to medium as the flour is combined.  Leave the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes.

With the mixer running on medium add the buttermilk and vanilla, beating until combined.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each one in thoroughly.  Add the baking soda and beat until it is completely mixed in.

Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.  I like to pour the batter into a four cup measuring jug, and evenly measure out the amount of batter in each pan (this makes close to 6 cups batter, so I do it in two batches).

Bake the cakes for 25- 30 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto racks to cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until soft and fluffy.  Add the confectioners’ sugar while the mixer is on a lower speed, scrapping the sides of the bowl as needed.  When most of the sugar has been added, begin drizzling in the whiskey, scraping the sides of the bowl.  When all the sugar and whiskey is blended end, add the Coke a Tablespoon at a time until you have a nice spreadable consistency.

Spread the frosting between the two cake layers and on the top and sides.

Serves 10


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