Black Cherry Cola Cake

Black Cherry Cola Cake

This has been on my baking bucket list for a while.

It’s fun to cook with cola. Did you know that cola makes a fantastic marinade for a hunk of beef? And it also makes a great cake ingredient. It just took me a while to get to trying the whole thing out, since we don’t keep soda in our house. More on that in a moment.

Instead of using straight-up cola for this cake, I used black cherry soda. Dr. Brown’s, to be specific. If you’ve never tried Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda, you are definitely missing out. Their cream soda is pretty amazing, too. But that’s neither here nor there. This cake, though? This cake is amazing. And the icing on top ain’t half bad, either!

Black Cherry Cola Cake

Back in the day, I was a Coke fiend. Not gonna lie. If I didn’t drink soda, my thirst wasn’t quenched. Water was lacking, seltzer was gross, and unsweetened iced tea just didn’t cut it. Too bitter. As they say, though, the powers above have a sense of humor. I’ve been free of sugared beverages for several years now, and it’s been extremely educational.

To put it bluntly, I’ve waged a war in my house on sugared drinks. That might be a strange platform coming from a dessert blogger who celebrates taking extreme desserts and pushing them even further, but I reserve the right to be contradictory or even confusing, if that’s how people see it. The thing is, I can redeem ice cream. It has calcium! I can stand behind a chocolate chip cookie. Its nutritional value is pretty sparse, I grant you, but it still has the temporary benefit of assuaging hunger. And yes, I acknowledge that a handful of almonds would be healthier.

Black Cherry Cola Cake

But see, you can’t cut out everything in life. If I’m not drinking my sugar, I’m going to eat it. In fact, the process of cutting sugar out of drinks lets me relax more around dessert. It also helps me feel a little better about my kids. According to modern wisdom, the epidemic of childhood obesity can partly be owed to added sugars, which appear most egregiously in sodas, juices, and sports drinks. They’re also lurking in other places, but I figure trying to do our part by encouraging mainly water and milk for our children is a start. We also eat whole wheat products and brown rice instead of white, but that’s another post for another day.

Black Cherry Cola Cake

As you can imagine, when I walked in the door with Dr. Brown’s black cherry soda, Kenny was pretty surprised. He still sneaks out to drink Coke, or he orders it at restaurants. “Is that for me?” he asked, his eyes lighting up.

Lucky for him, the store was out of smaller bottles, so I had to buy a six-pack of cans. The whole recipe only calls for one and a third cups of soda, so he had leftovers to enjoy. And I enjoyed using the soda for something different. In this cake, the cola gets cooked on the stove and mixed with chocolate before being added to the batter. The resultant cake is light, fluffy, and very tall.

Black Cherry Cola Cake

The icing is more of a glaze, and it’s made on the stove top, too. There’s some black cherry cola in there along with cocoa and other deliciousness. The top hardens, but when you eat the cake, it’s gooey underneath and adds more moisture to the cake. Talk about cola cake heaven!

Black Cherry Cola Cake

This cake is a good candidate for a crowd, not to mention another accomplishment on my baking bucket list. It’s even worth buying soda for! In a cake, pretty much any ingredient can be justified. Why not?


Black Cherry Cola Cake


2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup black cherry soda (I used Dr. Brown's)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup canola oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Black Cherry Icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup black cherry cola
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cocoa and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. Heat the black cherry cola in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla for two minutes. Gradually add the black cherry soda and chocolate mixture and beat for an additional minute until everything is smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients, and mix until well incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven to cool.
  6. While the cake is cooling, make the icing .Heat the butter, cocoa, and black cherry cola in a small saucepan at low-medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Mix in the vanilla, salt, and powdered sugar.
  7. Pour the icing carefully over the cake evenly.
  8. Allow the cake to come to room temperature. The icing will harden.
  9. Cut into squares. Store covered.




I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    I have seen a lot of different recipes with cola, mainly ham and stuff, but never in a cake. I used to have an obsession with cherry coke and I spent so much money on the stuff. I should have put some of it in a cake.

    1. Mir

      It’s really much better in cake, Dannii! It makes the cake so amazing!

  2. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    I’ve heard of using cola in cakes before, but I’ve never actually tried it. This sounds delicious, Mir! Love how chocolatey and thick this turned out. Sounds like a great dessert!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Caprese Veggie BurgersMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s worth a try, Gayle. I recommend!

  3. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, I love this cake!!! and yes, wow, it’s tall!! I’ve always wanted to try baking with soda. . so it’s on my bucket list too. . I mean baking cakes with brewed coffee is freaking delicious so why not cola?! black cherry soda seems like a great choice!!! and I’m the same way. . don’t drink soda. . I was a Dr Pepper fanatic as a kid but somewhere along the way (probably when I was dieting as a kid) I just stopped cold turkey. . my husband is addicted to diet coke so don’t even get me started there. . glad Kenny got a little treat too! 🙂 love this cake!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Chocolate Almond Smoothie ParfaitsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I used to LOVE Dr Pepper. It was my go-to beach drink. The diet Coke addiction scares me more, since that’s all chemicals. It was easier to quit that. But sometimes I still miss soda. I’m just afraid to ever start up again. It’s so addictive!


    This is cola cake heaven! I immediately noticed two things – how tall it is and the gorgeous glaze on top that cracks when you cut it! Oh my…this recipe’s a keeper! Thanks, Mir!! recently posted…Roasted Red Onions with Walnut Salsa & Feta SaladMy Profile

    1. Mir

      You noticed all the right things, Annie! It IS super tall. And the glaze is the best. I keep eating it…

  5. Heather - Butter & Burlap

    Ok, I haven’t had chocolate cake in a while (I don’t know whats wrong with me), but I also haven’t had any cola cake in a while, and I’m DYING to take a bite out of those pics!!! I feel like you always see sprite or 7-up in cakes, but a dark cherry cola in a chocolate cake… DELICIOUS! Great recipe, Mir!
    Heather – Butter & Burlap recently posted…Very Berry Smoothie BowlMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Chocolate cake is just the best, Heather. A really good, homemade one is addictive. I love the cherry cola in it, too. Adds a whole amazing dimension!

  6. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    Love that this cola cake is made from scratch and the icing sounds phenomenal!
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…{Raw/GF/Vegan} Tropical Ice Cream Sandwiches!My Profile

    1. Mir

      The icing is seriously great, Medha. It’s easy to make, too!

  7. Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen

    Wow! Cola cake? I have never made cola cake before, and this one here looks yummylicious! And that black cherry icing looks so so good! Lovely share, Mir!
    Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen recently posted…Curried Potato Cauliflower Topped Naan PizzaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s a new thing for me too, Anu! Totally worth trying!

  8. Manali @ CookWithManali

    Ooo I might have to buy cola to make this cake..I can’t remember the last time I drank has been years! , I hate that stuff but yes if you ask me to bake with it, I will…happily 😀 The cake looks really delicious!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Afghani PulaoMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s good that you hate it, Manali! It really works much better in cake.

  9. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    Cooking with cola is fun! Especially baking a CHOCOLATE cake with Chicka Cherry Cola (<– tell me you know the song reference and I'm not just old) ! This cake looks super moist and uber delicious! Plus that black cherry icing? What!? Love this fun spin a plain chocolate cake! So.Yum!!! ♡ Cheers, girlie!
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…Rum RunnerMy Profile

    1. Mir

      SAVAGE GARDEN!! I love that song, Cheyanne! So I guess we’re both old?

  10. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    CHERRY soda!! What a perfect flavor to use!! This is gorgeous.
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake Giveaway! #NationalCheesecakeDayMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Dorothy! I used to love cherry soda so much. It goes great with the chocolate!

  11. Danielle

    I love that this is made from scratch and that icing sounds to die for! I’d happily take any leftovers 😉
    Danielle recently posted…No-Churn Blackberry Pie Ice CreamMy Profile

    1. Mir

      They’re in my freezer, Danielle! Come on over.

  12. Michele @ Two Raspberries

    cherry cola!!! and chocolate I mean seriously perfect combo! which I had this right now cause the moist dense appearance of this is ah-mazing!
    Michele @ Two Raspberries recently posted…Salted Chocolate Almond Drops -Vegan -GF -Soy FreeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s very dense, Michele. I’ve been trying not to inhale the whole cake at once!

  13. Sam @ SugarSpunRun

    I LOVE cola cake but you really stepped it up with black cherry cola, I bet this tastes incredible!
    Sam @ SugarSpunRun recently posted…Peach Sangria GranitaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Sam! It was lunch. It might be dinner, too. 🙂

  14. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    Oh this looks absolutely sensational!
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) recently posted…Maple Peach Pork ChopsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Jocelyn! It’s a new favorite.

  15. Mira

    This cake looks so thick and fluffy! Love cola cakes and so nice that you used cherry coke. Need to make it, because it looks so good!!!
    Mira recently posted…Sparkling Melon Ball SangriaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Black cherry is even better than regular cherry! It got SO tall.

  16. Mary Frances

    I LOVE your new site design! It is fantastic. Did you do it all yourself? And girl, this cake, I don’t even like cherry cola, but that texture has my heart! The dark side, why yes, I’ll be right over. 😉
    Mary Frances recently posted…{Vegan} Blueberry Zucchini Pull Apart LoafMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Mary Frances! A student redesigned it for me. I’ll pass along your compliments! And the dark side is where it’s at when it comes to chocolate!

  17. Trish - Mom On Timeout

    I seriously just started drooling. This is happening SOON – but not soon enough!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted…Mocha Almond Fudge Pudding PopsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      It’s never soon enough, Trish. Seriously.

  18. SaraLily

    Oooo I LOVE cooking/baking with soda! I also love soda – I knoooowwww. It’s bad. I sort of do what you do, though. I don’t buy it or keep it in my house (unless there’s a party) and I typically only have it when out to eat. I try to keep it as a treat. Moderation, right?
    SaraLily recently posted…Pretty Picnic Dresses & Scrumptious Pie NecklacesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Moderation is what we should strive for! I just can’t with soda. Too addictive. Maybe in my next life? 🙂

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