Perhaps the Moistest Cake Ever

southern cola cake half

Seeing as how I’m going to be throwing a lotta lotta healthy recipes at you in the coming weeks (and hopefully, forever after that … fingers crossed!), I figured I’d better get this moist, decadent chocolate-ness out of the way right now. This is an old southern recipe that I got from who knows where. I’ve been making it since before my son was born, and he’s 23 (if that helps). Do your best not to scoff at the two secret ingredients, because if you scoff, and then you go ahead and make it anyway, you’re going to be mighty embarrassed after that first bite, and you’re going to fall to your knees and beg my forgiveness for mocking me. And I will forgive you, because I’m just that benevolent. But do we really want to go through all that, when we could just be eating cake?

Southern Cola Cake


  •  2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (or milk and lemon or vinegar … see note below)
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup cola
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows


  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/3 cup cola
  • 3 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
  • optional: 1 cup toasted walnuts or pecans

Preheat your oven to 350.

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (and I almost never do), just add 1/2 TBSP lemon juice OR vinegar to your 1/2 cup milk and let stand 10 minutes before using. It will thicken as it stands, which is exactly what you’re after.

For cake: Mix flour, sugar, cocoa powder and baking soda together in a mixing bowl. Add buttermilk (or the milk you made above), the two sticks of softened butter, vanilla, and the first secret ingredient: cola. Right about now you’re wondering, “Has she lost her mind?” No. Mix on low for two minutes.

Add eggs, beat another two minutes, and then add the second secret, which is these baby marshmallows. You’re probably wondering, “Don’t they float to the top?” Yes. No more questions.

southern cola cake marshmallows 1

Now pour it all in your 9 x 13 pan (greased or sprayed with a vegetable spray).

southern cola cake batterBake for 35 minutes.

While that’s baking, mix up your frosting: Beat the one stick of butter for about 30 seconds. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat well. Add the 1/3 cup cola and mix. Add the remaining powdered sugar and the 3 TBSP cocoa powder and beat till smooth.

If you’re going to add nuts, toast them for about five minutes in the oven RIGHT AFTER YOU PULL THE CAKE OUT. You don’t want to open the oven door while the cake is cooking, but the oven will be nice and hot for you just after you take the cake out. You can add the nuts to the frosting straight from the oven.

southern cola cake frostingThe frosting may seem a little stiff at this point, but you’re going to put it on a very warm cake in a bit. It will soften right up and spread itself into delightful chocolatey puddles and rivulets. You read that right: puddles and rivulets.

southern cola cake frosting 1

When the cake is finished baking, let cool on the counter for only about five minutes. Then slowly spread the frosting over the top, being careful not to pull up pieces of the cake.

Don’t these little marshmallow pockets look delectable?

southern cola cake marshmallows

Because I was making this for a crowd, I frosted the first half without toasted walnuts, and the second half with. Here’s the first half:

southern cola cake half

If you’re still unconvinced that this is exceptionally moist, please contact my daughter-in-law, Brittney. She’ll back me up.

southern cola cake corner


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[…] made some pretty spectacular prime rib, Kathy made her famous chocolate chip cookies, and I made my favorite chocolate cake and twice-baked potato casserole for a crowd. Win or lose, we were good to […]

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