Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

File this one under: Anything But Vegetables.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

A certain blonde with whom I live is going to be very happy to see this post be published—

that’s right, friends, this is Alexa’s birthday cake.

Remember last year?  Of course you do, I link back to that post ALL the time.  Lauren Conrad pinned it, for God’s sake.

It’s been a bit more than a year, now, that Alexa and I have been friends.  Miraculously, we are both still alive and have, for the most part, all of our limbs (Grandma, I’m kidding).

Who knew that the gals I met on the first day of O-week would be my roomies, my #1 wingwomen, my comfort blankets and tissue fetchers and popcorn sharers and best friends?

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Spoiler: Alexa definitely didn’t.  She was fairly certain I hated her…
(She still hasn’t gotten the hint, guys. I think she’s following me.)

Anyways, it’s been quite an eventful year+ and I couldn’t be more grateful to have spent it with such good people.

I couldn’t have asked for a better house-mate, better roommate, and better friend.  Alexa is such a giver and can ALWAYS put a smile on my face or at least a blanket round my shoulders.
She knows what to say, who to hate, how to make popcorn the best, and how to be the most loyal, loving friend out there.
Ugh. So much love.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

To celebrate her birthday, I made an over-the-top cake, obviously.

Alexa loves diet coke, as a sorority girl should.
Alexa loves chocolate and vanilla bean, like normal people do.
Alexa thinks that salted caramel is the stuff of gods (she is right).

Alexa is looking over my shoulder and drooling wishing for another cake right now—
“Please? I ate this for all three meals.”

Alexa is going to kill me for putting that up on the internetz but it’s ok friends I will survive because I am holding birthday cake oreo cupcakes hostage right now.
(Look for those here in the coming weeks!!!)

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

I knew I had to make a chocolate coca cola cake, and I wanted to incorporate a fat vanilla bean and some gold and sparkly caramel in there somewhere as well.

The end result is a rich, moist chocolate cola cake with vanilla bean buttercream swirled with heaps of salted caramel glammed up with gold luster dust and chocolate sprinkles.

It’s sparkly and gooey and sweet and salty and I think it was just about a perfect way to celebrate my BFF’s birthday.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Some notes on the cake:
you can make the cake portion and the caramel ahead, but make the frosting right before you are going to decorate the cake; the finished cake can be stored in a cool place at room temperature overnight.
The luster dust is optional, but a very nice glam touch to the caramel on top of the cake.
This caramel recipe is good for pouring, so if you don’t want to smudge it on the sides, just pour it over the top and let it drip down!

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Happy belated birthday, darling girl.
You’re wonderful.

Coca cola cake with caramel and vanilla bean | La Pêche Fraîche

Alexa’s Birthday Cake
Coca cola + chocolate + caramel + vanilla bean
makes 1 3-layer 6-inch cake
cake portion adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

for the cake:
1 cup (240 mL) Coca cola
1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (113 grams) butter
1/4 cup (30 grams) dark cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup (120 mL) buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (240 grams) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

for the salted caramel:
100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar
30 grams (2 tablespoons) water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
90 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon gold luster dust, if desired

for the vanilla bean frosting:
1 1/2 cups (350 grams) butter, soft
1 whole vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup (30 mL to 60mL) half-and-half

Make the cake: grease and flour 3 6-inch round pans and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place butter, oil, coca cola, cocoa powder, and salt in a large pot.
Heat over medium heat, whisking, until it comes to a boil.
Pour the hot mixture over the sugar and whisk to combine.
Whisk in the eggs vigorously.
Stir in the buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Whisk flour and baking soda together, then stir into the batter.
Portion batter out into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes, until springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean.

Make the caramel: heat the sugar, water, corn syrup, and salt together, whisking at the beginning until they dissolve.
Stop stirring and allow to caramelize into an amber color, then remove from heat and quickly whisk in butter and cream, being careful of the splattering.
Whisk until completely smooth, adding luster dust if desired, then allow to cool before using.

Make the frosting: place butter and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on high for 6 full minutes.
Scrape the bowl and add the vanilla bean and powdered sugar; stir on low speed until powdered sugar is incorporated, then beat on high while slowly drizzling in 2 tablespoons of half and half.
If the frosting is too thick, add more half and half until the proper consistency is reached.
Beat on high speed for 2 minutes, then use immediately to frost the cake as desired.


  1. Happy birthday to ALL of us because now we get yummy chocolate cola cake with caramel and vanilla and gold luster dust (which I personally do NOT feel is optional). I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for another great recipe — in the midst of exam time, no less! 🙂

    Oh, and also, pleeeeease hurry with the Oreo cupcakes because YUM.

    1. Spring—I feel the same way about luster dust! The more glitter, the better 🙂 I promise the Oreo cupcakes by the end of this week! xx

  2. […] Just for reference, here’s Alexa’s cake from last year, and the one from this year. […]

  3. […] I used this recipe for chocolate cupcakes and this recipe for nutella buttercream. This recipe for red velvet cupcakes (I winged the cream cheese frosting). And finally, this recipe for the vanilla and funfetti cupcakes. Caramel from here. […]

  4. […] kosher salt 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled 3 tablespoons caramel sauce (I used this recipe) 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted 2 tablespoons heavy […]

  5. Wow !! I eat a lot of chocolate cake

  6. Hi Rachel!

    We LOVE this image and have featured it in an article for a new food website. Please get in touch with us for more details – Thanks!

  7. Would I be able to use Diet Coke instead of regular in this recipe? I’d like to try it for my sister’s birthday, but she prefers the taste of Diet Coke.

    1. You can’t exactly taste the Coke in the cake; I would recommend using regular Coke because the difference in sugar/no sugar could affect the texture—you could always try it, though. Let me know how it goes!

  8. Hi,
    I recently found your coke and salted caramel cake in a post called ten things to do with coke or something like that and now I’ve lost it. Were all the recipes yours or just the chocolate cake? If it was your post could you send me the link. It all looked so good!!

    1. Just the chocolate cake was mine! Thanks Vicki xx

        1. Perhaps it was! Thanks, Matt.

  9. Hi will the coke cake work with Pepsi?

    1. Jayne—yes it will! xx

  10. Julie Williamson

    Hi…fab to see a recipe complete with grams and cup measurements. Can I ask please what is half and half ? Also heavy cream would this be equivalent of double cream or whipping cream? Also powdered sugar is this icing sugar in the uk..thankyou. x

    1. Julie–overjoyed to hear that someone can find use in my conversions! Half and half is approximately half full-fat cream and half low-fat milk. It can be subbed with single cream or double cream cut with a little milk or water (or, to be honest, in this recipe you can use all double cream or all milk, without issue). Heavy cream here can be whipping or double cream–both are close in fat % to American heavy cream (double a little more, whipping about equal). Powdered sugar is icing sugar, yes! Let me know how it goes! xx

  11. I can not wait to try this cake.. is there a way to make it without haveing to do layers

    1. Tamaran, I suppose you could make it in a 9×13 inch sheet pan and make a sheet cake! You would definitely want to halve the frosting recipe, however. Let me know if you try it!

  12. Hi Rachel I have been forwarded this recipe by my not-so-subtle boyfriend who is patiently waiting for me to replicate your masterpiece! I’m going to give it my best shot but I wondered if you could advise on the type of flour I should use – I’m from the UK so my options are really plain or self-raising flour. Thanks

    1. Haha! Amy, that’s hilarious/flattering. Plain flour is exactly what you’ll need for this recipe; the baking soda will take care of the rise for you. Best of luck, let me know how it goes! xx

  13. […] Coca Cola Cake With Caramel And Vanilla Bean by La Pêche Fraîche […]

  14. Perhaps the best and most successful cake I have ever made … Thank you for the recipe! I did this for my friend’s birthday (nervously, as she is a very, very good baker) and I cannot tell you the amount of compliments I received … And it even looked like yours too! Love it when a plan comes together – which of your other masterpieces would you suggest I try next ?

    1. Lucy, I’m so happy to hear that! If you like cakes, definitely check out my sidebar! Some of my favorite celebration cakes are there. xoxoxo

  15. […] De combinatie chocola met karamel kennen we natuurlijk wel. Maar in combinatie met cola wordt deze taart wel heel bijzonder! Het recept van deze taart vind je hier. […]

  16. ah this is such a delight, can’t wait to make it tomorrow night! Just because its Saturday <3

    1. Thanks Kaltrina! Let me know how it goes xoxox

  17. Couple of questions? Do you use salted or unsalted butter? And what frosting tip did you use for the edges? I’d love to know. This recipe looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. I use unsalted and add salt to taste—more control that way! And I used a large closed star tip, either Ateco or Wilton, that I got at A.C. Moore. Let me know how it goes! xoxoxo

      1. Still my most accomplished bake and very well received! I used salted butter because it’s sacralige in my house to us anything else but different folk/different stokes! Enjoy xx

        1. Amy, I’m so glad you liked the cake! Hugs xx

  18. […] Images via: one: InStyle, Vogue // two: BuzzFeed via haelynloves // three: Clara Persis // four: The Jungalow // five: Hello Giggles // six: The New York Times // seven: La peche fraiche […]

  19. Do you use light corn syrup? Or dark?

    1. Jordan, I use light corn syrup! Thanks for asking xoxo

  20. I’m pretty good at cakes and do them on a regular basis for dessert tables for events like weddings and so I’m always hunting new recipes. I followed this to the letter last night and the sponge turned out more tough and solid than moist sadly and not as described above. Would be good to explore thoughts as to what may have gone wrong here.

    1. Chrissi, I’m so sorry to hear that! My immediate thought/intuition is that it was overbaked. I find that cakes often become very tough when cooled after being baked even 5 minutes too long. Did you check the cake with a tester? I always try to do this a few minutes before I think it will be done. Also, did you use 6-inch pans? A larger pan would make for a thinner cake layer and necessitate much less baking time. Finally, was your Coca-Cola flat? It is probably a long shot since it is boiled, but I used fresh Coke and had no issue. Other than that, hmmmm. Thank you so much for sharing your troubles, however. xoxo

  21. Is the diameter really 6″ – so it is a mini cake?

    1. Jamie, the diameter really is 6″, though I would hesitate to call it a mini cake. It can very comfortably feed 8 people! Hope that helps X

  22. Hello! I made this cake a year or so ago and as I posted, it was a huge success and I’m always getting requests to make it again. I was wondering though, if this could be turned into a lemonade version instead of coke – perhaps using a lemon buttercream instead? However, what would I replace the cocoa powder with, if anything? Thanks again for your amazing posts .
    Lucy X

  23. Hi
    I do a lot of baking and this cake is awesome! I have made it several times and the follow up is awesome too.
    I would like to know If it can be made and frozen for any time period

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.