The Bossman’s Birthday: Organic Cherry Cola & Chocolate Cake

May 2010

One of my general assignments as an Executive Assistant is “to protect my boss from my boss.”  This covers calendar appointments, following through issues and a lot of harping about the negative effects of Cherry Coke Zero and Red Bull!  For some reason (the reason probably being to spite my “hippy” efforts), he insists on stocking the kitchen with twenty-four packs of each and drinking the noxious beverages in our shared office space.  Fine.

When he wasn’t slurping down the questionable beverages, the boss told me about one of his favorite birthday cakes as a kid:  a soda pop cake!  When it came time for him to turn 31, I sought a modern, more wholesome version of his childhood memory.  The batter smelled so rich once the cherry cola was added.  Unfortunately, that flavor faded in the baking, but the texture was extra moist and the chocolate was extra rich, which I will attribute to the cola so all is not lost.

To carry out the soda theme even further, I commissioned my pie partner Erin to make one of her recycled can containers using a can I salvaged from the boss’s bad habits.

As the bossman is quite the grill master, we all gathered after work around the re-engineered grill for bbq birthday festivities.  It’s always a bit geeky when the mad scientists gather, as exhibited by the MSDS margarita mix, but after all, I am a dork at heart and truly appreciate these things.

Cake Ingredients

2 cups Boylan Black Cherry Soda
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups cocoa
1 cup local wildflower honey
4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
3 cups pure cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream

Frosting Ingredients

8oz bakers chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs vanilla extract
2-3 Tbs honey to taste

*This recipe makes two tall, imposing layers; be sure your 9-inch cake pans are at least 2 inches tall, or use 10-inch pans if you have them. For a smaller dessert, you could halve the recipe and split one tall 9-inch layer before frosting.

For the Cake

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three 8″ or two 9″ cake pans, and line them with parchment paper circles. Be sure your 9″ pans are at least 2″ deep.

For the cake: Place the cherry soda and butter in a large, heavy saucepan, and heat until the butter melts. Remove the pan from the heat, and add the cocoa powder and honey.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sour cream.

Add the soda-cocoa mixture, mixing to combine.

Add the flour mixture and mix together at slow speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, and mix again for 1 minute.

Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.

Bake the layers for 35 minutes for 8″ pans, or 45 to 50 minutes for 9″ pans, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes before turning the cakes out of their pans and returning to the rack to finish cooling completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan, add the chocolate and stir until blended.

Stir in the vanilla.  Add the honey and stir.

Frost the layers of the cake!

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