Bake and Frost a Cake in an Hour!: Coca-Cola Cake

Last night I was looking for a recipe that wouldn't require a lot of time, and I stumbled across a recipe for "Coca-Cola Cake" from Lisa Yockelson's ChocolateChocolate.  You can make this cake -- from start to frosted finish -- in less than an hour, which is pretty remarkable.  Fortunately, we also happened to have a few cans of Coke left over from our holiday party, and a half-full carton of buttermilk in the fridge (left over from my farm stand buttermilk doughnuts), so I even had all of the recipe ingredients on hand.

To make this cake, you whisk some buttermilk and baking soda together and set it aside.  Then you bring a mixture of Coca-Cola, cocoa powder, and butter to a boil on the stove.  Meanwhile, you put flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl, pour over the hot Coca-Cola mixture, and mix until combined, followed by eggs, vanilla, and the buttermilk-baking soda mixture.  The resulting batter is extremely thin, probably the thinnest cake batter I have ever worked with (to the point where I was seriously questioning whether it could possibly really turn into a cake).  You pour the batter into a 9-inch by 13-inch pan, and bake the cake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the cake is hot (only 5 minutes out of the oven), you frost it with a mixture of melted butter and chocolate, powdered sugar, vanilla, and Coca-Cola.  The frosting melts and slides around when you put it on the hot cake, but firms up into a smooth, shiny glaze as it cools.

Since you have to frost this cake while it is hot, you have to frost it while it is still in the pan.  My cake was domed in the center, and the frosting tended to slide to the lower outside perimeter of the cake.  Also, after the frosted cake was cool, I pulled it out of the pan (I had lined my pan with parchment), and the cake flexed a bit, causing some cracks in the otherwise smooth surface of the frosting (as you can see in the picture above).  After I sliced the cake, I noticed random air pockets throughout it -- I'm not quite sure what caused those. 

This cake looks like an ordinary chocolate cake, but it definitely doesn't taste like one.  The cake doesn't contain that much chocolate (1/4 cup of cocoa powder in the cake and 2 ounces of chocolate in the frosting), and it's difficult for me to describe the precise flavor.  Not exactly like drinking a Coke, but this cake definitely has a sweet, caramel-y extra something.  It was also extremely moist.  I liked the consistency of the thin layer of frosting, and the frosting flavor was very complementary to the cake; both were very sweet.  I thought this cake was tasty, but nothing spectacular.  However, I received quite a few rave reviews on this cake from others, so I would definitely be happy to make it again.

Recipe: "Coca-Cola Cake" from ChocolateChocolate by Lisa Yockelson, recipe available here (scroll down a few questions, to the recipe request from "Cake lover").