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Vegan Coca Cola Cake with Fudgy Frosting

Posted on by Betsy DiJulio in Dairy Free Desserts, Dairy-Free Recipes with 4 Comments
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Betsy is entering this Coca Cola Cake as a “dessert” recipe in the So Delicious Dairy Free 3-Course Recipe Contest. To make a quick dairy-free buttermilk, she uses Coconut Milk Beverage from So Delicious.

I am not a coke drinker. Okay, well, very rarely, say with Mexican food, I MIGHT crave a diet coke (sorry!), but it’s been ages. However, I love Coca Cola Cake. Are you familiar with this southern staple? The non-vegan versions are moist sheet cakes – make that ultra moist sheet cakes – topped with marshmallows and a fudgy frosting (the kind that gets ever-so-slightly crusty) and a layer of pecans, toasted for extra flavor. And my vegan version of coca cola cake is too!

Vegan Coca Cola Cake (Coke Cake) Recipe with Fudgy Frosting

Looking back, I had my first taste of Coca Cola Cake at an Academy Awards party years ago when I lived in Nashville. It was one of those “love at first bite” moments. A guilty pleasure for sure. Recent NPR clips about the most recent Academy Awards must have triggered that culinary memory because I started craving Coca Cola Cake.

I made the cake for a “Critique Treat” last week in my AP Studio Art class. My students LOVED it and some even asked for the recipe. I have one adorable gal who is allergic to all nuts – think Epi-Pen allergic – so I left off the pecans and passed them separately.

Veganizing this Coca Cola Cake was simple: I just substituted dairy-free margarine and “faux” buttermilk for their dairy cousins, substituted baking powder for eggs, and omitted the marshmallows. I know vegan marshmallows are available, but they are expensive and I haven’t seen them locally, so I was content just to leave them out. We didn’t miss them and neither will you!

I know that some of you are adamantly opposed to Coca Cola, but there is less than 1-1/2 cups in the whole cake plus frosting. Plus, the fizzy carbonation and deep caramely notes of the Coca-Cola does magical things to the texture and taste of this cake. And keep in mind, you can use another brand of cola, such as Blue Sky or China Cola, for a natural alternative.

So Delicious Dairy Free 3 Course Recipe Contest BadgeFor more details and to enter the recipe contest, see this post: http://www.godairyfree.org/news/so-delicious-dairy-free-3-course-recipe-contest

Special Diet Notes & Options: Coca Cola Cake

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, peanut-free, tree nut-free, vegan, and vegetarian.

For a soy-free and vegan coca cola cake, use a dairy-free soy-free margarine (Earth Balance has a couple options) and opt for grapeseed, rice bran, or canola oil in place of the vegetable oil (which often contains soybean oil).


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About Betsy DiJulio

A vegan blogger, freelance writer, and food stylist, Betsy DiJulio is the author of The Blooming Platter Cookbook: A Harvest of Seasonal Vegan Recipes. For her love of cooking, Betsy has worked as a caterer, taught private cooking classes, and won national recipe competitions. As a writer, Betsy focuses on vegan and organic food, art, home and garden design, and green initiatives. Visit Betsy’s website, The Blooming Platter.

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Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living


  1. Blooming Platter Vegan Coca-Cola Cake with Fudgy Frosting | The Blooming Platter of Vegan RecipesMarch 3, 2013 at 7:34 amReply

    [...] Coca-Cola Cake with Fudgy Frosting is yet more evidence that I have been having powerful winter cravings for Southern comfort [...]

  2. Chantal DHApril 2, 2013 at 2:28 pmReply

    this was my first vegan bake and i dont think i could have started with a better one! friends loved it and i am savouring a piece each evening as a real treat. the frosting is mega sweet but the cake is so moist and delicious its wonderful. i was a bit worried that i might not be able to convert to veganism v easily but recipies like this prove its going to be a breeze. thank you soooooo much! chx

  3. Betsy DiJulioApril 6, 2013 at 4:20 pmReply

    Chantal~Congrats on a success right off the bat! Thank you for letting me know! (You are right, that frosting is seriously sweet, but is offset a bit by the not-as-sweet cake.) I am a baker from way back and had the same fear when I converted to veganism years ago, but, as you and I both learned, there was never any reason for concern! I wish I’d done it many years before. I appreciate your taking the time to write! Best wishes with your new diet. ~Betsy

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