This Dr. Pepper Cake has double the soda flavor! It has a single layer of ultra moist, fudgy cake topped with pecan-studded Dr. Pepper frosting.
Dr. Pepper lovers, this chocolate cake is for you. It’s hands down the best Dr. Pepper Cake because the sweet, fruity soda seasons the cake and the frosting!
Plus, the touch of cinnamon is the secret weapon; it really makes the Dr. Pepper flavors pop.
This homemade sheet cake is reminiscent of a Texas Sheet Cake and has lots of pecans in the frosting. We’ll be making everything from scratch, and you’ll be surprised at how easily it all comes together.
The cake it’s self is so moist and tender. It’s perfect for birthdays, holidays, events, potlucks, and more.
If you love desserts made from soda, don’t miss my 7Up Cake!
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Why this is the best Dr. Pepper Cake
Dr. Pepper has been around since 1885 and it’s no wonder it’s one of our favorite bubbly drinks! It’s got a distinct flavor that is hard to pin down. Its bold, fruity, and spicy flavors really hit the spot. Add those flavors into a cake and you’ve found perfection.
This Dr. Pepper Cake is different from other recipes I’ve seen because it has the soda pop in the cake batter AND in the frosting. You might even call this a Double Dr. Pepper Cake!
An added bonus of using Dr. Pepper in the cake batter is that the carbonation acts as a leavening agent. The resulting cake crumb is light and airy.
Plus, it has a secret ingredient—cinnamon! The addition of ground cinnamon really brings out the soda flavors. This cake is richer and deeper than any other Dr. Pepper cake I’ve ever tried.
- This cake uses unsalted butter, both for the cake and the frosting.
- The combination of Dr. Pepper and baking soda provide the lift to the cake, making it moist and light (while still being fudge-like). You’ll need one (12 oz) can of Dr. Pepper for this recipe. I used the mini cans which are 7.5 oz, so I needed 1½ cans.
- Cocoa powder goes in both the cake and frosting, providing the chocolate flavor that perfectly complements the Dr. Pepper flavor. Cinnamon brings out the soda’s flavor even more.
- Buttermilk keeps the cake crumb light and tender. If you don’t have it, you can use a mixture of regular milk + lemon juice or vinegar. See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- The frosting is designed to be poured over the warm cake. It’s packed with pecans, which add a nice crunch to the moist and tender cake.
How to make a Dr. Pepper Cake
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside.
If you’re usually the person who skips this step of sifting (ahem, like me), at the very least sift the cocoa powder for this recipe. Most brands are prone to lumps, so this ensures a smooth cake batter and smooth frosting.
Pour the melted butter into a large bowl. Whisk in the Dr. Pepper and the sugar until smooth.
Whisk in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until fully incorporated.
Then, whisk in the dry ingredients until a smooth cake batter forms.
Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 32–38 minutes at 350°F, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
With about 10 minutes left until the cake is done baking, prepare the frosting: place the butter and Dr. Pepper in a saucepan just until melted (do not boil).
Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Mix well until combined.
Pour the warm icing over the hot cake immediately after pulling it from the oven. Use a spatula to spread it around if needed.
Let the cake cool completely before cutting and serving. Viola—your Dr. Pepper Cake with Dr. Pepper Frosting is ready to be enjoyed!
Make it ahead and storage information
You can make the Dr. Pepper Cake 1–2 days ahead of time. If you keep it tightly covered at room temperature, it will stay fresh for 4–5 days.
This cake freezes well. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.
Here are a few ideas to make this cake differently:
- You can make the cake into Dr. Pepper Cupcakes. Bake for 15 mins. The recipe yields approximately 24 cupcakes.
- This recipe makes a great bundt cake. Bake for 60 minutes, then let cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting. Pour the warm icing over the warm cake.
- Want to make one now and save one for later? Divide the batter between two 8×8-inch pans. Bake for 32–35 minutes.
- Substitute cola (like Pepsi or Coke) instead of Dr. Pepper
- Leave out the nuts if preferred
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Dr. Pepper Cake (with Dr. Pepper Frosting)
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
- 1 cup Dr. Pepper
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup buttermilk (see Note for substitution)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 4 tablespoons butter (½ stick)
- ¼ cup Dr. Pepper
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3½ cups powdered sugar
- Grease a 13×9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda, and cinnamon. (Or at the very least, sift the cocoa powder, as it is prone to causing lumps in cake batter.)
- Pour the melted butter into a large bowl. Whisk in the Dr. Pepper and the sugar until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
- Whisk in the dry ingredients until a smooth cake batter forms.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for 32–38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the icing: Place the butter and Dr. Pepper in a saucepan. Heat until the butter is melted, but do not boil. Remove from the heat and sift in the cocoa powder (prevents lumps). Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
- Pour the icing over the hot cake, right after it comes out of the oven. Cool completely and cut into squares.
- Makes 24 cupcakes, bake 15–18 minutes
- Makes one bundt cake, bake 60 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before inverting and frosting.
- Use Coke or Pepsi instead of Dr. Pepper
- Leave out the pecans if you prefer