Friday, June 11, 2010

Coca Cola Cake-The Perfect Funeral Food

Now, the subject matter of this post may seem a bit morbid, but unfortunately funerals are a fact of life. Now don't rush away, the end result (the recipe) is totally worth waiting around for! 

Its no secret that here in the Southern region of the US we do a lot of things differently. Funerals are certainly no exception."During the 19th century, Southern funerals were major social events. Because plantations were so spread out, in the event of a death, the family contacted four friends, each of them contacted four friends, and so on. When the guests arrived, they were served cake and hot West Indian rum punch. After the funeral service, the mourners followed the coffin to the place of burial with sometimes as many as 500 people on horseback.(Source)
Now, we have evolved a bit. Obviously, we don't do the horseback funerals. But, we do still practice some common courtesies.... such as pulling over on the side of the road for a funeral procession to pass, to respect the loss of a loved one. It doesn't matter who the deceased person was or what occupation they incurred. If you see a funeral procession, you pull over! Also, we still believe in sending condolence cards to let those who've lost know they are in our prayers. When my Daddy passed away, we requested private services and just wanted time to grieve alone as a family. But the condolence cards I received probably meant more to me than anything that anyone could have brought or done. And, most importantly, we still believe in feeding the families who have lost a loved one. This is the most important part of caring for the grieving family.
There is a book out called "Being Dead Is No Excuse: The Official Southern Ladies Guide To Hosting the Perfect Funeral" by Gayden Melcalfe and Charlotte Hays. This is a hilarious book, despite its subject matter, detailing the ins and outs of a proper Southern funerals. Now I will warn you, it is completely outside the realm of being politically correct. Here is a statement from Amazon describing the different religious outlooks on the funeral food: "Metcalfe and Hays report that while there is no theological animosity between Episcopalians and Methodists, the culinary rivalry is cutthroat: "Episcopalians are snooty because they spurn cake mixes and canned goods, without which there would be no such thing as Methodist cuisine." But everybody has to look down on somebody, they observe, so for Methodists, there are the Baptists, who put "little bitty marshmallows" on their congealed salads." Ok, in other regions, there may be people gasping at this, but down here, we all make jokes among the Baptists, Methodists and Episcopalians. No harm, its all in fun. For instance, all the Methodists joke that we get out of church 15 minutes early so we can beat the Baptists to the restaurants on Sunday. And of course all Baptists and Methodists want to be Episcopalian so they can drink like a fish:)

All kidding aside, no matter the religion, we do take time to respect those that are hurting. If we don't know what to say during a time when someone is hurting....we just try to make enough food so everyone's mouths will be full. No room, nor need for words:) The comfort food provided may either be filled with a cream of ______(you fill in the blank..chicken, mushroom, celery), mayonnaise, or sugar. If you are being showered with food (also known as love around these parts) by a congregation of elderly women (or me) you most likely will end up with a kitchen full of sweets. My brother was asking not long ago, after the loss of my sister in law's grandfather, why they (little old ladies) always bring sugar filled food. No real food. I told him I thought they were just thinking sweet food=sweet thoughts. It does to me!
So, recently, after the loss of a grandmother belonging to a close friend of my husband, I baked up one of the most perfect Southern funeral cakes around. A Coca Cola Cake. This moist chocolate cake with a cooked icing can baked in a disposable pan. That way the family does not have to worry about returning a pan. Though I hear it’s a bit taboo to take food in a disposable pan (it should be in your best bakeware), I do not so much agree. I think the food is what is important, not the baking dish. Anyways, you will want to make this cake for every occasion possible. It is a southern staple, that is often forgotten. It is certain to bring sweet thoughts, no matter the occasion. Enjoy!


Coca-Cola Cake 

Recipe from Southern Living-Aug.'02


  • 1  cup  Coca-Cola
  • 1/2  cup  buttermilk
  • 1  cup  butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 3/4  cups  sugar
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2  teaspoons  vanilla extract
  • 2  cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  cup  cocoa
  • 1  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1 1/2  cups  miniature marshmallows
  • Coca-Cola Frosting
  • Garnish: 3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk; set aside.
Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add egg and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.
Combine flour, cocoa, and soda. Add to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; begin and end with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.
Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake; garnish, if desired.
Note: Don't make the frosting ahead--you need to pour it over the cake shortly after baking.

Coca-Cola Frosting


  • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine
  • 1/3  cup  Coca-Cola
  • 3  tablespoons  cocoa
  • 1  (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  vanilla extract


Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar and vanilla.


cookies and cups said...

Love Coke cake! And yes, feed the people, even if they don't know they're hungry...cream based food is comforting.

Kim said...

I love this post! And, I love coca cola cake. Looks terrific:)

Peggy said...

This looks so comforting! Thanks

Julie M. said...

I've never had a coca cola cake before. Can you taste the soda in the cake? Thanks for such an informational and interesting post!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

This looks delicious! It's funny about regional issues. Here in Idaho (and Utah) potato casserole is one of the things we take to funeral luncheons. So much so that the casserole is called, "Funeral Potatoes"!

I can't wait to try this cake.

Barbara Bakes said...

So nice to have a new "funeral cake" to add to my recipe box. It sounds like something everyone would like.

RamblingTart said...

Oh, what a good memory you brought back from my years living in the South. I can remember the taste of this cake so well. :-) Delicious!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm ashamed to say that I have loved in the South for 16 years and have never had Coca Cola cake. So now I'm going to have to make it!

Natalie... said...

Oh wow coca cola cake i cant imagine what this would be like. yumm! it looks comforting!

Chef Aimee said...

Coca-cola is one amazing ingredient! I love coca-cola cake and coca-cola ribs! Thanks for sharing this post and recipe...and thanks for the history as well...I really learned something about American History and traditions.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Being a Presbyterian, I had to laugh at your stories. Our pastor makes fun of the Baptists and so on, but it's all in fun, right? As for the cake... I've heard of this, but have never ventured to make it. This kind of reminds of PW's Texas Sheetcake. I made a 7-up cake and can attest that it make for a very moist cake. This look well worth a try. I love to bake, but I have to give it away FAST!

Fresh Local and Best said...

This looks like a decadent and comforting chocolate cake. I may make this before any occasion calls for it.

Chow and Chatter said...

great cake I am a Brit living in the South going to a Baptist church this made me chuckle

Krista said...

I had to laugh at the cooking between the religions editorial. Although I'm a mid-westerner, the way that Southerners treat a funeral is very similar to the way that we treat them in the small Indiana town where I grew up. Even now, though I'm miles away from my hometown, I contribute to the funeral dinners at my (Methodist) church...whether I know the family or not. It's just the way I was raised. I may just have to make this Coca Cola Cake the next time. It looks fabulous and of course, comforting. : )

I will agree with you though...after living in The South for almost 2 years, there is nothing like a Southern funeral. Great post!

Paris Pastry said...

I love Coca-Cola cake! In fact, it is one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes! So moist and gooey.

Elle said...

Not sure I want to wait for a funeral for such a great cake!

Erin said...

This sounds delicious! I can't wait to try it!

Tiffanee said...

Yum! Wow, adding soda my favorite drink to chocolate. You are brilliant. I will be making this one for sure. Do you think coke zero would work??

Diana's Cocina said...

I know about the Southern funerals. I too have my church/funeral recipes as well. The more comforting the better. I must say I think i would enjoy this cake!

Anonymous said...

I do use Sprite for pork recipes, but Coca Cola for cake? LOL I will try this out of curiosity.

Funeral Program Templates said...

Funeral food needs to be comforting, this cake looks lovely and I am sure it is comforting also.