Sheet Pan

7 Up Cake

January 29, 2018
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 9-inch loaf
Author Notes

My grandmother's 7 Up cake is a mellower cousin to the lemon pound cake, and comes from a long tradition of Southern cakes made with soda/pop as a leavening agent. The cake doesn't taste like 7 Up, but makes something new and familiar all at once. It's adapted from her recipe.

I recently found that the cake made a cameo in the 2008 film The Secret Life of Bees: according to the legend, the boy who ate the cake would be compelled to kiss the girl who baked it. I can't personally vouch for that magical effect—but maybe you can?

Notes: Make sure you use a big loaf pan (9x5x3) for this recipe, and or make sure you use very well-greased parchment paper with long overhangs on each side. —Dara Mathis

What You'll Need
  • 3 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup 7 Up (room temperature is best)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • Juice and zest of one lemon, minus 2 tablespoons (optional)
  • 1/2 cup confectionary sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon or orange juice
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Grease a loaf pan really well, and line with parchment paper so there is an overhang on both long sides of the pan. If your loaf pan is smaller, line the shorter sides with parchment as well, to prevent the batter from spilling over. (Place on top of a sheet pan, for extra assurance.)
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Mix well. Add flour, 7 Up, lemon extract, and juice and zest of one lemon (minus two tablespoons), if using. Mix well, but do not overbeat. Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes (but start checking at 1 hour and 30 minutes to see if a cake tester comes out clean).
  3. While the cake is baking, make the glaze. Mix confectionary sugar and lemon or orange juice together, put low heat and keep mixing until fully incorporated. Take off the heat. Once cake has completely cooled, drizzle glaze over the top.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MrsMehitabel
  • L Terzia
    L Terzia
  • MariaHernández
  • TerryD

7 Reviews

MrsMehitabel March 27, 2019
I made this tonight and it was wonderful. I varied it enough that I won't leave a rating, but it gets 5 starts in my heart.

The rundown:

-I made a half recipe and it was perfect for my 4 1/2" × 8 1/2" loaf pan. A full recipe would probably make quite a large loaf, or even a small tube pan.
-I used grapefruit Shasta instead of 7up
-also, grapefruit juice and zest instead of lemon- all of the zest and about 2-3 Tbsp juice in 1/2 recipe of batter.
-I don't have lemon extract, so I used about 1/4 tsp. Boyajian lemon oil.

Gosh, what a good cake. I served it to my in-laws and everyone loved it. I just had my third piece and my ribs are in pain. Thanks so much, for the story and the recipe. Your grandma sounds like quite the lady. And this is quite the cake.
L T. May 23, 2018
Thank you, for the story and for the recipe. We had Coca Cola cake in my family (Louisiana)--a chocolate sheet cake that could feed a bunch of people. I'll try 7-Up cake this summer.
MariaHernández April 29, 2018
It is certainly rich!
My mom has experimented with all soft drinks and I must say that all the results have enchanted me!
My aunt has also imitated my mom but she also dared to try the sparkling water, but even though she liked it and loved it, I did not like it very much.
TerryD February 11, 2018
My family LOVES 7up cake. Looking forward to trying a new recipe!!
Deborah February 11, 2018
Is this recipe correct with 3 sticks of butter in it?
beejay45 April 16, 2018
Since it's described as a 7-up "pound cake," I suspect that would be correct. The classic pound cake is a pound each of butter, flour, eggs and sugar, so, rich and dense. Although I imagine the 7-up would change that last characteristic. ;)

Thanks, Dara, for the family recipe. Those are always fun.

BTW, are you any relation to the San Francisco Mathises? I went to school with the baby of that family, but he had, I don't know, maybe three older brothers. A sister??? I don't think it's that common of a name, so I thought I'd ask.
Agatha B. February 5, 2018
I am not a baker, but I love a good story and this is such a lovely, warm memory that I just might try my hand at this. Thanks!