Monday, 17 March 2014

Pepsi Cake

When I was a caker kid, nothing was more exciting than watching people take the Pepsi Challenge. On second thought, Battle of the Network Stars was better (on account of the short shorts), but the Pepsi Challenge came pretty close. It was all so dramatic. I mean, these decisions were going to affect people for the rest of their lives.

Sadly, my family was too poor to buy Coke or Pepsi. Instead, we were forced to drink RC Cola. Sometimes, when times were really hard, mom would give me brown well water with Alka Seltzer.

Adding Pepsi to a cake may seem strange, but this is caker cuisine we’re talking about. While on the sweet side (that could be due to the pop, sugar and icing sugar), Pepsi Cake is damp, damp, damp. It reminded me of Texas Brownies, because the frosting goes on when the cake is still hot, so all the sugar seeps its way down. And yes, you can taste the Pepsi.

Like the recipe says, you can also use Coke. But stick with calling it Pepsi Cake. Inviting people over for Coke Cake could lead to trouble.

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks oleo (See note 1)
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup Pepsi or Coke
2 eggs
½ cup buttermilk (See note 2)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ cups miniature marshmallows
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine flour and sugar in bowl. Heat oleo, cocoa and Pepsi to boiling; pour into flour and sugar. Mix well. Dissolve soda in buttermilk and stir into batter with eggs, vanilla and marshmallows. Blend well. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 pan and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes. Batter is thin and marshmallows will float.

Frosting:
1 stick oleo
2 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Pepsi or Coke
1 box powdered sugar (See note 3)
1 cup nuts (optional)

Combine oleo, cocoa and Pepsi in saucepan. Heat to boiling, pour over sugar and beat until smooth. Add chopped nuts and spread on warm cake.

Note 1: Oleo is an old-fashioned name for margarine.
Note 2: Don’t buy buttermilk. Just add a ½ tablespoon of vinegar to a ½ cup of milk and let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Note 3: I don't know how much is in a box since icing sugar comes in a bag. I ended up using about 5 cups.

Source: National Mfg. Co. 1901-2001 Centennial Cookbook

22 comments:

  1. I still call it oleo. I always thought that was an American Midwestern thing, having never run across it anywhere else. At one point, the stuff was prohibited in Wisconsin, so oleo-stands were set up at the Illinois state line so poor cheese-heads could buy the fake stuff.

    Anyway, we couldn't have Coke either because my grandmother said it was, "Full of dope!" Which I guess it was, in her day. This looks so sweet it is giving me a headache, but I want to bake it anyway.

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    1. At first, I thought oleo was a kind of dance. Like, you'd be at a wedding and the DJ would yell, "Everybody on the dance floor! It's time to OLEO!!!" But a quick search of the internet told me otherwise. I only wish Coke really was really "full of dope." I drank too much of it in my youth and got "full of cavities" instead.

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  2. I love any recipe that calls for Oleo. I always assume some sweet, grey-haired older lady in an apron wrote it out, and was just pleased as punch to have her recipe in the Church cookbook.
    Either your mom doesn't read your blog, or she has an amazing sense of humor. Either way, we need a guest post by Ma Francis. Preferably followed by a Q & A session, as I'm betting your readers have a buttload of questions for her.

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    1. sign me up for the Q&A...

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    2. My mom doesn't have a computer. The closest she gets to technology is turning on the toaster oven. But I might hit her up for a guest post one of these days. I'm telling the absolute truth about the well water, by the way.

      Okay, maybe it wasn't really brown. It was more puce.

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  3. This post leaves me with so many questions!!
    Do the marshmallows melt? I don't see any in the cake!
    Did you really put nuts in the frosting? What kind of nuts?
    And was it good??

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    1. I have NO idea why this called for marshmallows because they melted. And there wasn't that many of them. Just a cup and a half. So who knows? Maybe it was another way to get some more sugar in there. I didn't put nuts in the frosting because who can afford nuts?

      And yes, it's good. All my taste testers liked it. Even my mom. (Although she's not hard to please.)

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    2. Did the marshmallows melt into some sort of glaze or did they just sort of disappear into the cake?

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    3. When I took the cake out of the oven, they had all puffed up. But they deflated pretty quickly. I don't know what purpose they served, especially once the icing went on.

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  4. Brian, you are getting rather high flying for a caker cooker. Next thing I am going have to categorize you as " foodie." I mean, you know an alternative to buttermilk right off the bat? And you were able to just throw in the right amount of icing sugar without a proper measurement.from a recipe? Me thinks you are getting to a very able cook/ baker. You are scaring me with your knowledge.

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    1. Rest assured, I'm still a highly incapable baker. In fact, I spent a good hour trying to squeeze the milk out of the butter before I looked it up on the internet.

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  5. I remember taking the Pepsi Challenge at a mall. My mum said she liked Coke best and she chose the Pepsi. Me and my bro said we liked Pepsi better and we picked Coke. Isn't that always the way.

    And another thing---did you say 'pop'? Do they say 'pop' in Canada?

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    1. It depends on how old the Canadian is. If it's someone under 50, they say "pop." If it's someone between 50-70, they say "sodee pop" and if it's someone over 70, they say "soder pop." Also, if it's a Canadian that lives next to the Michigan border, they say "pap."

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  6. For a moment I was confusing Oleo with Olestra. Yikes! Not sure if anyone recalls some of the unpleasant side effects of Olestra?? Anyway, this Pepsi cake looks delicious and I think I'll give it a whirl. Also, I feel your caker childhood angst Brian- I remember RC cola too!

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    1. No joke - I once ate a whole bag of Olestra potato chips before working a trade show. Needless to say, it was a long day. Folks, always remember to check the packaging for "anal leakage" warnings.

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  7. Oleo! My grandfather, long ago, once put together a photo album containing pictures of their meticulous 55+ mobile home park, which he labeled "Oleo Acres." :) Reminds me of salt and pepper shaker collections, Irish Spring soap, dungarees, tonic, and Reader's Digest, Harriet Catalogs.... Ahh, memories...

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    1. Hold on: salt and pepper shaker collections, dungarees, Reader's Digest…when were you in my house?

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  8. Only the rich kids in our neighborhood got RC-Cola.....us poor kids had Cragmont (a Safeway brand). If I remember right, you traded in the empty 8 pack of glass bottles and got a full one for 99 cents.

    I have a recipe similar to this, where you put an entire bag of marshmallows & a can of cherry pie filling in the bottom of a 13x9 pan, then put a chocolate cake mix (made by box directions) over the top. Maybe I'll do a little experimenting and add the Pepsi to the cake mix.

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    1. I made that cherry pie filling cake once, only the recipe didn't say to make the cake according to the package directions. So I just poured the dry cake mix on top. Everyone kept coughing brown clouds throughout the night.

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  9. Oleo?? Haha! I'm at a loss for words. Except for these... I think I'd be tempted to add some popping sugar to give the cola back some of its original pep.

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  10. can I leave out the marshmallows?

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    1. You could. But there goes the nutritional value.

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