Coca-Cola Cake from Basic to Brilliant Y’all

Coca-Cola Cake

I have been anxiously awaiting the new cookbook from Virginia WillisBasic to Brilliant Y’all 150 Refined Southern Recipes and Ways to Dress Them Up for Company  I received my copy in the midst of our busiest time of the year.  I looked through it every chance I had and couldn’t wait to start trying the recipes.  First up was the Coca-Cola Cake.  I vaguely remember eating a similar cake when I was a kid and I love chocolate cake so I grabbed some Cocoa-Cola from the General Store and went to work.   It was pretty easy to make  with basic ingredients and turned out moist and flavorful and totally delicious, and you know from scratch cakes are not my area of expertise.

I love the premise of Basic to Brilliant Y’all.  Virginia offers up classic Southern fare and then a dressed up alternative version, get it? “Basic to Brilliant, Y’all!”  The Cocoa-Cola Cake is the basic version.  The brilliant version makes the cake into cupcakes which are frosted with classic seven minute frosting, and then the frosting is toasted with a kitchen blow torch.  Definitely brilliant in my opinion.

I also made the basic version of the Black Pepper Cheese Shortbread.  The brilliant version rolls the shortbread in pecans before baking.  These were also delicious.  My son came by and grabbed one right out of the oven.  He just kept coming back for more.  He said, “These are good Momma, you gotta blog ’em!”  I told him they were part of a cookbook review, which received a grunt as he grabbed a few more to nibble on before supper.

I have to mention the photography in Basic to Brilliant Y’all.  It is outstanding, every photo draws you in and makes you think you can’t live another minute without this gorgeous food.  The photographer was none other than Helene Dujardin.  I have admired her photography for some time.  If you aren’t familiar, check out her blog Tartelette and her photography book Plate to Pixel.  Quite inspiring.

Virginia shares many stories behind the recipes including her beloved grandparents and many stories and recipes from her time in France.  Her writing brings you right into her circle of friends and family in a realm of delicious, nurturing, southern food.  Now you are thinking this is a cookbook you need to add to your collection, aren’t you?

Ten Speed press has kindly offered a copy to one lucky reader.

And we have a winner!  Teslaca November 5, 2011 at 11:22 pm [edit]

“That Coca-Cola cake sounds delicious. My favorite southern recipe has to be really good biscuits. I just love them with gravy, plain, buttered or sweetened and used for desserts.”

Thank you to everyone who entered & to Ten Speed Press!

To enter:

Leave a comment here with your favorite Southern dish.

Extra entries:

Follow Virginia Willis on facebook.

Follow Virginia Willis on twitter.

Link to this giveaway on facebook.

Link to this giveaway on twitter.

Please leave a comment for each. Open to US residents only.

Entries will be accepted through Monday, November 7, 2011.   Winner will be chosen at random.

Coca-Cola Cake

from Basic to Brilliant Y’all, Ten Speed Press



  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • 1 (16 oz) box powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans * optional

Cooking Directions:

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, sift together sugar and flour.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine the butter, cocoa and the Coca-Cola.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Pour over the dry ingredients, stir to combine.  Combine baking soda and buttermilk in a liquid measuring cup.  Add buttermilk mixture, eggs and vanilla to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Pour into a greased or butter 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing. You will want to pour the icing over the cake while it is still warm.

Add powdered sugar into a large bowl.  Combine the butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola in a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then pour it over the sugar.  Stir to combine, stir in vanilla and pecans if desired.  Spread over the warm cake.  Set aside to cool completely.  When cool, cut into squares and serve.



Disclaimer: I received a copy to review, all opinions are my own. 

 P.S. Want another chance at this fabulous cookbook or a set of my flour sack towels! Head over to La Casa de Sweets and donate to the Global Living fundraiser, for every $10 that you donate,  you have a chance at some fabulous prizes! 


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