I love a Coca Cola Cake. The simple use of a bottle of Coke adds depth and complexity to a moist, deep cake for very little effort. I make many a Coca-Cola sheet cake (there’s a Jack and Coke version in The Southern Sympathy Cookbook), but this I developed for a friend’s birthday. This friend, who is not from around these parts, had once commented that she couldn’t understand using soda to make a cake. I wanted to show her how it’s done, so I decided to take the traditional up a notch. This cake is surprisingly elegant, thanks to the simplicity of a Bundt pan, with the sophisticated twist of salted caramel. She was duly impressed and asked for the recipe. I know for a fact she’s made it herself!
There’s a sweet-saltiness to this cake that is reminiscent of the classic Southern treat of putting salted peanuts in a bottle of coke – but I like that this just hints at it rather than smacking you in the face. This seems like a treat from childhood – a Coke was only an occasional treat when I was a kid – but with a refined touch. Use some nice sea salt with sizable flakes for an attractive finish and a little crunch.
Coca Cola Bundt Cake with Salted Caramel Icing
For the Cake:
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup Coca-Cola
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ cup buttermilk
For the Glaze:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
For the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan with baking spray.
Melt the butter, cocoa powder and Coke together in a small saucepan. Combine the flour and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, then add the Coke mixture and beat to combine. Put the baking soda in the buttermilk. Beat one egg into the batter, then add the buttermilk and the remaining egg and buttermilk mixture until smooth and well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (it is a thin batter). Bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 – 45 minutes. Cool the cake for about 20 minutes, then invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Glaze:
The cake must be completely cool, or the glaze will slide right off. Place a piece of foil or paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips and make clean-up easier.
Cut the butter into cubes and place in a large saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt. After everything melts together, bring to a full, rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. When it reaches that boil, count to 60 Mississippi, then pull it off the heat. Leave the pan to cool for about 3 minutes, then vigorously beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.
Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, but do so slowly and evenly to cover as much surface as possible. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the top of the glaze. Leave the glaze to set, then slice and enjoy. Covered tightly, this cake will last a few days.