Coca-Cola cake: I believe most of us with a few birthdays behind us have enjoyed this cake at least once. The same goes for dropping a tube of Mentos or a bag of salted peanuts into a bottle of Coke.

The cookbook "Classic Cooking with Coca-Cola" offers more than 300 recipes from Elizabeth Candler Graham, great-great-granddaughter of Coca-Cola founder Asa Griggs Candler. While it makes a great barbecue sauce, it can also be used in seafood fettuccine, hamburger stroganoff or a golden carrot bake.

Saying you want a Coke is like saying you need a Kleenex or like Jell-O. These are a few of the items that have come to represent their product.

Around since the 1880s, Coke was originally sold as a tonic for medicinal purposes under the name Coca-Cola Elixir and Syrup, recommended for mental and physical exhaustion and touted to revive drooping spirit before it became a popular soft drink. The name came from extract ingredients from the coca leaf and the kola nut.

Asa Candler paid a whopping $2,300 for the full and complete rights to Coca-Cola, interested in the product that relieved his headaches. The sum makes more sense when you think that during the 1930s, a soda fountain glass of Coke cost a nickel. Coke profits actually grew during these hard times because apparently money gained from asking, "Buddy can you spare a dime?" was spent on a couple of glasses of this refreshing drink.

Few recipes in the book call for Diet Coke or Fresca because of the Nutrasweet not doing well when heated, but it does do well in cold salads. There are also recipes using company-owned Minute Maid orange juice and lemonade.

But mostly it's Coke and Sprite. My favorite was a recipe for a Coke float. Coke and ice cream. It is important to fill the glass with ice cream first, then pour the Coke over it.

Today's recipes are easy and proven tasty. The roast tastes as good as it smells. Want ham instead? Spread brown sugar over ham, pour Coke over the ham and baste during baking.

Mix Coke with ketchup, onion, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and mustard for baked chicken.

The cake recipe is the classic Coke cake and sure to be a hit with family and friends. The recipe has been around a long time for a reason. I made it without the marshmallows, and it didn't last long.

Happy Rubber Ducky Day, and happy eating.

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Coca-Cola roast

  • 4 pound beef roast
  • 12 ounces Coca-Cola
  • 1 envelope dry onion soup mix

Place roast in baking dish; sprinkle with soup mix then pour in Coke. Cover and seal tightly with foil. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until tender.

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Coca-Cola cake

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Icing:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 6 to 7 tablespoons Coca-Cola
  • 1 box powdered sugar

Sift the flour and sugar into large mixing bowl. In saucepan, heat butter, cocoa and Coke to boil. Pour over flour and sugar; mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Batter will be thin and marshmallows will float to the top.

Bake in 12-by-14-inch sheet pan at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Pour butter, cocoa and Coke over powdered sugar; mix well. Pour over warm cake. Optional: Add 1 cup chopped pecans to icing.

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Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.