Friday, January 1, 2016


They all sat around the table tucked into a sunlit corner of the breakfast room all seven of them while Rena, Rick's mom, held court smoking Camels, the unfiltered kind.  She'd sit there her legs crossed an overflowing ashtray in front of her and as one Camel started to get too short to hold she'd light the next from the remaining stub picking bits of tobacco off her tongue with her perfectly manicured fingernails. Her attending children and some of their spouses would sit transfixed in both reverence and intimidation, most adding their own circles of smoke to the white cloud that hung over the table leaving a nicotine film on the windows. The conversation at the table was a buffet of tales from the past mixed with little bits of gossip but mostly it was about food. If it wasn't the meal at hand it was planning the next meal and who was going to do what. I can't remember where we ate, the breakfast room table was way too small to hold all the siblings, their spouses and off-shoots but the planning for meals was always plotted out at that little colonial table. My memory of that table remains quite vivid although it's long gone. It's where I learned about a menu I'd never heard of or imagined having grown up in the north where meals were made and planned by color. Like the winter wonderland I came from most meals were white or a pale yellow with a huge glop of spring mud: mashed potatoes, white gravy and corn served with over-cooked beef and maybe some baked beans. At the Shaver table I heard about who made the best fried chicken, that people actually ate okra or even that there was such a thing as okra, what made a garden grown tomato so good they could be made into a meal on their own and something called a Coca-Cola cake.
Rick's sister Bev was the out and out head baker. She was the one  charged with producing the Coca-Cola cake for all the major events. She made a sheet cake version of the dessert. Since they really had no idea of what to make out of me being the favored son's "friend" I remained the mysterious foreigner here in this little Georgia town and my visits were considered a major event worthy of a Coca-Cola cake production. Rick's family was eager to apply every ounce of southern hospitality they could muster to draw favor with Rick's new friend. They had all figured out very early on that I had a sweet tooth and had taken a shine to this southern version of a chocoholic's obsession.
Rick has since taken over the tradition of the Coca-Cola cake at our special events. His version shows up in the form of a Bundt cake. The process is not very complicated and this year in keeping with the tradition of having a Coca-Cola cake at our little family gatherings Rick did not disappoint.
Here's how you can make one using Aunt Bev's original recipe:
Cake ingredients:
 2 cups of sifted flour
2 cup of sugar
3 tbsp of cocoa
1 stick of unsalted butter
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of Coca-Cola
½ cup of buttermilk
1 tsp of baking soda
3 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla

Icing ingredients:
1 stick of unsalted butter
2 tbsp cocoa
6 tbsp Coca-Cola
1 box of powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients for the cake (flour, sugar and cocoa) until well blended and then put aside. Bring to a boil a stick of butter along with the vegetable oil, and of course the Coca-Cola.
We think the cake tastes better if the Coca-Cola comes from one of those 355ml glass bottles from Mexico still made from pure cane sugar instead of a 2-litre plastic one made with high fructose corn syrup, but that's just us. Pour the boiled mixture over the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. When you've finished blending these ingredients add the buttermilk, baking soda, eggs and vanilla. Mix well and pour into your well greased & floured Bundt pan. Place the pan into the heated oven and let bake for approximately one hour.
Once baked rest the cake on a cooling rack until the cake is cool enough to drop out of the pan to be iced.
For the icing put the butter, 6 tablespoons of Coca-Cola and cocoa in a medium sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil on your cook top. Then in a mixing bowl pour the mixture over the powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
Place your cake on a cake plate then slowly pour the icing over the cake.
You're done. Slice up a nice big piece of cake, grab a fork and enjoy.

Two Men Stand by a Coca-Cola Delivery Truck, 1910
From the Coca-Cola archives


  1. Love the Coke bottlecap pressed in the icing.

  2. Do you drink Coca-Cola or Pepsi?
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