Tag Archives: Southern Living

Coca-Cola Cake from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics

My Coca-Cola Cake, cut while still warm…

I’ve found a lot of great recipes from Southern Living magazine through the years, so I was looking forward to reviewing their new cookbookSouthern Living Home Cooking Basics: A Complete Illustrated Guide to Southern Cooking. It really is complete, with information on how to stock your pantry and helpful, detailed, step-by-step instructions for preparing fruits,vegetables, herbs, meats, and cheeses…pretty much everything you need to know to make great Southern dishes.

There are over 200 recipes and lots of full-color photos in this cookbook. It also has a great section on cooking methods–baking, broiling, braising, frying, grilling, roasting, sauteing, and steaming. The recipes are organized in these categories: Appetizers, Breakfast and Brunch, Breads, Sandwiches and Soups, Meats and Poultry, Fish and Shellfish, Side Dishes, Desserts, and Sauces & Condiments.

As I was looking through my review copy, some of the recipes that sounded good to me were: Spicy Ham-and-Eggs Benedict with Chive Biscuits, Red Pepper Jelly-Brie Bites, Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls, Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole, Praline-Apple Bread, Easy Mini Muffulettas, Loaded Potato Soup, Bev’s Famous Meatloaf, Salt-and-Pepper Oven Fries, Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Puddings (photo from book below left), and Southern-Style Caramel Apples (photo from book below right).

And, of course, the Coca-Cola Cake. I’ve been wanting to make one of these, but hadn’t had the chance to look up a recipe for it. So it was great when I found the recipe here! It’s a very moist, tender cake topped with smooth, silky frosting and a sprinkling of pecans. Very yummy and easy to make! It tastes great served warm, when the frosting is still gooey, and it tastes great cool, when the frosting becomes a little fudgier. It even tastes great if you store it in the fridge and eat it later, still cold…the frosting gets really fudgy then!

I shared my cake with my coworkers, and everyone loved it, so I’m sure you will, too! Here’s how my cake turned out…

…and here’s the recipe so you can make one of your own!

COCA-COLA CAKE from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics

Makes a 9×13 cake

  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened baking cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • Coca-Cola Frosting (see recipe below)
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans, toasted, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 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 eggs and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.

Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13×9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake; garnish with toasted pecans, if desired (I didn’t toast my pecans, and it was good that way, too).

My Notes: If you stick a toothpick in the center of the cake to test for doneness, it will probably come out almost clean; that’s OK for it to be like that–I think it has something to do with the marshmallows being in the batter.
And when my cake came out of the oven, it was very bumpy because of the marshmallows…not to worry though–the frosting covers the bumps! 

COCA-COLA FROSTING (Makes 2 1/4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa (unsweetened baking cocoa)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

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

When all frosting ingredients are well-blended, pour immediately over cake. If garnishing with  chopped pecans, sprinkle those on right after pouring the frosting on the cake, since the frosting sets quickly.

This cake is a new favorite of mine! Have you ever made or tasted a Coca-Cola cake?


Decorating with Pumpkins

I saw some really fun pumpkin carving and decorating ideas over at SouthernLiving.com. They have 31 ideas in all! I picked out a few of my favorites to share with you (photos and instructions are all from SouthernLiving.com).


The two photos shown above are of etched pumpkins. According to Southern Living, “Etching will leave an artful design on your pumpkin. The technique allows your pumpkin to last longer and is less messy than traditional carving.” There are some etching templates you can download at their site, or you can use any simple black and white line art pattern that you like…or even create your own pattern!

Etching Instructions:

  • Print out a copy of the pattern you want to etch on your pumpkin–it should be the actual size that you want to use.
  • Trim the pattern, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the design. Tape the pattern to your pumpkin.
  • Use a non-serrated paring knife to pierce through the paper and cut along the outlines of the pattern.
  • Remove the paper. Cut deeper along the outlines if necessary.
  • Peel the skin inside the pattern off with the paring knife.

That sounds pretty easy!


Instead of the typical jack 0′ lantern face, try a pretty, more delicate carving of a flower, maple leaf, or other simple decorative object. Light the pumpkin with a scented votive (but be sure not to leave the lit candle unattended).


To convert a large, wide pumpkin into a cooler, just cut the top from the pumpkin with a serrated knife and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Line the bottom and sides of the pumpkin with a 2-gallon zip-top plastic bag (or whatever size plastic bag you need–just make sure it’s sturdy enough to put the ice in). Fill the bag with ice and your favorite beverages.

If you like snacking on pumpkin seeds, you can toast all those seeds you just scooped out…here’s a recipe.


Rinse the pumpkin seeds from one large pumpkin and pat dry with paper towels. Toss with 1 Tablespoon olive oil, 1 Tablespoon dried ground thyme, and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toasted.


To make these, you’ll need sturdy cookie cutters made of thick stainless steel; smaller ones work best because the larger designs tend to lose their shape more easily. Just follow these easy steps:

  • Cut a hole in the bottom of the pumpkin (instead of the top) and clean out the insides.
  • Place a cookie cutter on the pumpkin; gently tap the cutter with a rubber mallet until it pushes through the skin.
  • Repeat until you complete your desired design.
  • Place each pumpkin over a small candle. Use these to decorate your porch, front walk, or patio and enjoy the pretty glow!


To create this elegant decorative look, you’ll need a container for your topiary…either an urn or clay pot filled with rocks or sand so it won’t tip over. Choose three pumpkins in graduated sizes. Make sure the largest one will fit snugly in your container.

You’ll want the center of the topiary to be open so that a single strand of lights can be woven throughout the arrangement. Prepare the base pumpkin by cutting the top off (you can discard the top) and cleaning out the center. For the center pumpkin, do the same, but also cut a hole in the bottom so it will rest securely on the base pumpkin. Prepare the top pumpkin by cutting a hole in the bottom only, and cleaning out the center. It should rest securely on the center pumpkin.

To make holes in the pumpkins, you can use an apple corer for larger ones, and a drill with a 5/16-inch drill bit for the smaller ones. Make holes in a random pattern over all three pumpkins (making enough holes for the lights you’ll be putting in to shine through).

Using a 100-count strand of twinkle lights, pull the cord through one of the larger holes in the base of the topiary. Spread the lights evenly throughout the arrangement as you stack the pumpkins (you can use florist tape between each pumpkin to help secure them if you need to). Add some branches of leaves or vines at the base of the topiary as a finishing touch to the arrangement.

I think this pumpkin topiary looks so elegant!

Hope you see some ideas you like…and have fun decorating with pumpkins!

Linked to Get Your Craft On Thursday.