Coke & Peanut Butter Sheet Cake Is Salty, Sweet & Southern

May 31, 2018
Cola sheet cake for days. Photo by Ty Mecham

Coke and peanuts may sound like an odd snack combination to some (okay, to most). But the dynamic duo has been popular down South for decades, dating as far as the 1920s. All you need are two ingredients to take part in the tradition: a glass bottle of Coke and a small sleeve of salted peanuts. After you take a few sips of the chilled soda, pour the sleeve of peanuts into it. (Yes, into it!) Now, sip, chew, and savor every oddly refreshing, sweet-and-salty gulp.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a Southerner (or even a soda drinker), but when I first read about this tradition, I found it intriguing. I was fascinated by the juxtaposition of a super-sweet, ice-cold bubbly beverage married with crunchy, salted peanuts. So I popped into my local deli, grabbed a cola and some peanuts and tried it for myself. It was good. I was more than pleased. Slapped across the face with Southern charm. Not only is it a genius combo, but it’s also a delicious one. So delicious, in fact, that I wanted to turn it into a cake recipe because, well, that’s just what I do!

Photo by Ty Mecham

I may not hail from the South, but I’m no stranger to a cola cake. My mom used to make a version from David Letterman’s mom's cookbook when I was a kid. Her recipe used cola in both the cake batter and the frosting and was topped with toasted pecans. For my nuttier version, I swapped out the cola frosting for a peanut buttery one. The cake itself is a chocolate-cola cake, which may seem a bit odd at first, but the caramel-like molasses quality of the soda is actually great with cocoa. And what’s a better pairing than peanut butter and chocolate? The creamy PB frosting is, of course, topped with crunchy salted peanuts.

Typically chocolate cake is best served with some coffee, perhaps tea or milk. But in this case, in honor of unusually delicious, less-than-ordinary combinations, this "Coke and peanuts" sheet cake is best served with a chilled bottle of cola. Appropriately.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I’m from Texas and when we were kids, we did drink Coke with peanuts. We saw our uncle drinking it that way once so we had to try it! It was surprisingly delicious!!! 😋”
— Yvette

And trust me, it's a dessert you'll go nuts over.

Have you ever tried peanuts in Coke? Let us know in the comments below!

How about dinner?


Larry L. September 2, 2018
I love peanuts with Coke but my favorite is Red Pop with peanuts, truely delicious.
Linda S. August 23, 2018
Chris Lloyd, you can use caffeine free Coca-Cola in the recipe. There is caffeine in chocolate however, so the recipe might not be a good one for you. Linda
Chris L. August 16, 2018
Is there still caffeine in the Coca Cola after the baking?? an epileptic & I would use the cola but if it’s still holding the caffeine I can’ could you tell me please 😋😋
Mary M. June 1, 2018
Not only come n peanuts but ice cold 7 up and salted cashews. Hmmmm
Amelia June 1, 2018
Congratulations, this will be the PERFECT cake for my husband's birthday. He is from New Orleans and does this Coke and peanuts thing. I think it's weird, but I'm from California.
Eric K. June 2, 2018
Let us know how it goes?
Beth May 31, 2018
Can you substitute a diet cola? Say to help out diabetics?
Nancy June 1, 2018
Beth - I've made similar cakes with diet coke. Should work fine in this recipe.
Eric K. June 2, 2018
Hi Beth! I imagine a diet cola vs. a regular cola wouldn't make much of a difference to the cake's texture. I'm no dietician, but just wanted to point out that this recipe still calls for dark brown sugar, powdered sugar, and smooth peanut butter (which usually has added sugar).
Ruth May 31, 2018
I'm a 4th generation farmer from NC which means, of course we put salty peanuts in our dranks. Any drank = Coke. Btw, the cake looks amazing.
Eric K. June 2, 2018
Half of my family's from NC, and I know what you mean!
Yvette May 31, 2018
I’m from Texas and when we were kids, we did drink Coke with peanuts. We saw our uncle drinking it that way once so we had to try it! It was surprisingly delicious!!! 😋
Erin A. May 31, 2018
That frosting though?! Unreal. So good.
Nancy May 31, 2018
I agree...the frosting sounds great! Also think it will go well on a few other soda pop those with root beer, cherry or vanilla soda.
Eric K. May 31, 2018
A cherry-cola cake sounds divine.