Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner
Active Time
20 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 5 Mins
Yield
Serves 16

Chocolate sheet cakes were popular among early 20th-century cooks from Kentucky to California. Dr Pepper cake takes its cues from those recipes. Fragrant with spices like ground cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and topped with chocolate frosting, that’s speckled with pecans, it may remind some of Texas sheet cake. For nearly 20 years, I baked a version of this sweet treat to celebrate the birthday of a friend and neighbor from Wichita Falls, Texas, who was haunted (in a good way) by her childhood memories of the delicious dessert. —Toni Tipton-Martin

How to Make It

Step 1

Prepare the Sheet Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 17 1/2- x 12 1/2-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Bring cola, butter, and unsweetened cocoa to a boil in a medium sauce-pan over medium-high, stirring often. Remove from heat.

Step 2

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add cola mixture; whisk until blended. Whisk in eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 16 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Step 3

Prepare the Rich Fudge Icing: Cook butter and cocoa in a medium saucepan over medium-low, whisking often, until butter melts and mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; whisk in cola and milk until blended. Gradually add powdered sugar, whisking constantly until blended. Whisk in vanilla.

Step 4

Pour warm icing over warm cake; gently spread in an even layer. Sprinkle with pecans. Cool completely in baking sheet on a wire rack, about 1 hour.