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I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am for football season. I’m looking forward to watching the games with friends, going to some games (hopefully!), tailgating, delicious food, and the atmosphere of it all.
I didn’t care about football until I went to college, where we won national championships 3 of the 4 years I was there. Even if we hadn’t, I think I still would have been into it just because of the atmosphere of game day on campus. It’s so ridiculous and completely wonderful. Football is a big deal here, no matter how the season is going.
My junior and senior years of college, I lived in an apartment right next to the football stadium. It was awesome. One of the things I miss the most about that time was having all of my friends over on game days. If my parents were in town for the game, they’d always bring us TONS of food. We’d eat and hang out at my apartment, go walk around campus and the quad, and then eventually make our way to the student section.
I, of course, was always in change of the treats. Cake is my favorite thing to make, so that’s what I’ve got for you today. Fall is my favorite time of the year, but unfortunately here in the South, the cooler weather doesn’t come until October or November. So we spent many, many football games crammed in the student section all sweaty and sunburned. One of the best things at those sweltering games was going to the concession stand and getting a GIGANTIC Dr Pepper. Seriously, the massive, fancy, holographic game day cups. I still have like 8 of them in my kitchen cabinets. They’re really great for filling piping bags, just so you know. 😉
To kick off this football season, I made this Chocolate Cherry Dr Pepper Cake for you! It’s soft and fluffy, and is flavored with chocolate and, of course, Dr Pepper. I went with a cherry frosting to bring out that flavor in the Dr Pepper, and then topped my cake with cherries. I really wanted to go with some fresh cherries, but sadly, I couldn’t find any in my grocery store. If that’s the case for you as well, maraschino cherries will work just fine.
I used three 6-inch cake pans for this cake, but it can also be made in 8-inch pans. The layers will just be a little thinner. If you’re entertaining at home, I think your guests will really love this cake. The cake itself comes together very quickly, and I’ve listed a couple different options for the frosting in the recipe below.
If you’d like to make this cake for a tailgate and you will actually be transporting it to another place, I think cupcakes might be better. (This recipe should make 24.) They’re easier to move and serve to a crowd. You won’t have to deal with cutting slices, dishes, and forks. Transporting cakes in cars always makes me nervous, so you won’t have to deal with that either.
Don’t forget to pick up some Dr Pepper at Walmart before the game to go along with your game day treats! 😉
Chocolate Cherry Dr Pepper Cake
chocolate dr pepper cake
- 1 can Dr Pepper
- 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup stemless pitted cherries
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Cherries with stems
- Football decorations I used sugar cookies
- Team colors
for the cake
- First, pour the Dr Pepper into a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until reduce by half. You will need 3/4 cup. (I just occasionally pour the Dr Pepper into a measuring cup and if it's not to 3/4 cup, put it back in the saucepan and keep cooking.) Once reduced, set aside (or in the refrigerator) to cool. (This can be done the day before and kept covered if you need to break the steps up into two days.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line three 6-inch or 8-inch cake pans* () with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and more cooking spray.
- Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs. Mix with an electric mixer until combined. Add half of flour mixture and half of the Dr Pepper to the sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat with second half of flour mixture and Dr Pepper; mix well.
- Divide batter evenly among the cake pans and bake for 25 minutes, or until center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake layer comes out clean. Cool cake layers completely before frosting.
- Add cherries to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour cherry puree into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until mixture has thickened and texture resembles syrup. You will need 3 tablespoons. (If you don't care to reduce the cherries, you can always just use 3 tablespoons of cherry puree, cherry syrup, or cherry juice from jarred cherries, the flavor just won't be as strong. You might also need to add a little bit more powdered sugar.) Set aside to cool.
- Cream butter on medium-high speed with an electric mixer. Add half of powdered sugar and mix on medium speed until combined. Add 3 tablespoons of cherry reduction, vanilla extract, and remaining powdered sugar. Mix on medium speed until all ingredients are incorporated. Spread frosting between cooled cake layers. Garnish cake with remaining cherries and football decorations.
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