Thursday, July 19, 2012

spicy coca-cola float cake

You may be familiar with Coca-Cola Cake, a spiral-bound church lady staple reflecting a very southern pantry - one stocked with Coca-Cola, buttermilk, and self-rising flour.

You may be familiar with tres leches cake, a cake soaked in a syrup made of three milks - evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream. Essentially the milk syrup uses a little bit of whipped cream to freshen up the canned milks which are a staple of tropical climates.

You may be familiar with desserts that combine chocolate and chile, a tradition older than, well, older than chocolate desserts - chocolate and chile have gone together since long before Europeans added sugar to chocolate, and chile continued to be a frequent ingredient in chocolate sweets until it collided with fragile Anglo tastebuds.

You may have heard of "Secret Breakfast" ice cream, a combination of corn flakes and bourbon, at Humphry Slocombe in San Francisco.

It'd be kind of funny if I wasn't going anywhere with this.

For Marx Foods' Fire On Ice contest, they sent me a bunch of dried chiles, with the requirement to do something refrigerated with them. I was lucky enough that Tepin chiles, aka chiltepin, were included in the assortment. Not only do they sort of kind of sound like my name, but they're the only wild chile native to the United States, and have a terrific flavor - though also a lot of heat.

So. What I wound up with is a Coca-Cola cake, spiked with cinnamon and chile, prepared like a tres leches cake instead of with the usual chocolate frosting, and served with cornflake-bourbon whipped cream. (Why cornflake and bourbon? Bourbon goes great with Coca-Cola, cinnamon, and chocolate; the cereal milk flavor of the whipped cream is great both with the chile and for offsetting the richness of the cake.)

Coke Float cake

Combine in a pan:
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup Coca-Cola
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup mini-marshmallows

Heat until melted.

Combine in a bowl:
1 cup self-rising flour
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
4 crushed Tepin chiles

Add hot ingredients from pan to bowl and stir to combine.

Pour into a buttered cake pan and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Let cool completely.

Combine to make milk syrup:
1/2 can evaporated milk
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup heavy cream

Pour some of the milk syrup over the cake slowly, letting it be absorbed. You won't need to use all of it.

Refrigerate the cake! Keeping it cold makes for a dense cake that won't fall apart in the syrup.

Combine to make cornflake-and-bourbon-infused whipped cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup cornflakes
1/4 cup bourbon

Let sit for an hour, strain in mesh strainer (pressing against solids), and whip with sugar to taste - probably about a quarter cup.

To plate:
Pour a little of the reserved milk syrup around a piece of cake; top with cornflake-bourbon whipped cream and a little cinnamon.


  1. this sounds great! i've never had that ice cream flavor from HS nor have I had a coca cola cake -- i wish there was a picture of the whole cake or the cake without the cream so i could see the texture of it a bit.

  2. May I have a slice, please! And good luck with the contest ;-)