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neil dandy dressed as a chef

In this episode of the Dandy Fun House, we’re gonna pop it, lock it, drop it in the oven! No pushin’, no shovin’, gonna bake a little lovin’ ’cause we’re gonna make one of those strange desserts that could only come from the south… SODA CAKE! Let’s step into the Fun House!

Head chef, Neil Dandy here! If you’ve been itchin’ to produce some Southwatering flavors from your kitchen, you’ve come to the right place! Because today we’re going to make soda cake!

Soda Cake is one of those oddball sweet treats from south of the Mason Dixon Line like RC Cola, Goo Goo Clusters, Moon Pies, Chess Pies, Sweet Tea you can stand your spoon straight up in and for some reason God only knows – molded Jello with marshmallows and fruit inside! Yikes!

But this confederate confection promises to perch right at the top of that redneck mountain of sweet treats because it’s supposed to be delicious and it’s supposed to be oh so simple.

Why am I saying “supposed to be? It’s because I’ve never made nor tasted soda cake, but apparently all there is to it is to simply purchase a boxed cake mix of your choice, mix in the soda of your choice (no other ingredients even if the box calls for them! No butter. No eggs. No nothing.) and bake it in the oven per the instructions on the box. Just that simple! Or so we hope…

soda cake combinations graphic

creamsicle cake graphic purple cow cake graphic strawberry shortcake graphic ginger spice cake graphic  very cherry chip cake graphic devil's cola cake graphic zesty lemon cake graphic chocolate root beer float cake graphic

There are many different combinations depending on the cake you want to make such as Creamsicle, Purple Cow, Strawberry Shortcake, Ginger Spice, Very Cherry Chip, Devil’s Cola, Zesty Lemon and Chocolate Rootbeer Float. I’m sure there are many others, but these were from a graphic I found online which has been circulating around the internet recently so I’ll just stick with these for now.

So the big question now is WHICH ONE TO MAKE!?

neil dandy pointing at spinnerwheel.com letters spinning wheel

To help us decide, let’s head over to one of my favorite internet destinations, spinnerwheel.com where indecisive folks like myself input our options, spin a digital wheel of destiny and let Mother Internet decide! I’ve designed my wheel and chosen a circus theme, input our choices and here we go!

PURPLE COW CAKE IT IS! MOOOOO!

For this, all we need is 12 ounces of grape soda, a boxed white cake mix and frosting. Let’s go shopping!

vintage nuGrape soda sign neil dandy pointing at cracker barrel restaurant

I went to three different stores in my hometown of Murfreesboro, Tennessee where people told me I could find Southern brands of grape soda like NuGrape, Grapico and Nehi. First I tried a local soda shop all all they had was some French stuff called Grape du Raisin (ummm…. no.) Then I tried a favorite local bbq joint that has a cooling tub full of vintage-style sodas (no grape there). And unfortunately I also struck out at Cracker Barrel! So off to the regular ol’ grocery store I go!

2 liter bottles of grape fanta 12 pack of big k brand grape soda 20 oz bottles of grape crush 20 oz bottles of grape crush

I found my self at the Kroger about a mile from home. The grape sodas were a bit slim pickins here too. I found a 2 liter of Fanta, a 12 pack of the generic Kroger brand and individual 20 oz bottles of grape Crush. Just what I needed.

betty crocker white cake mix betty crocker white cake mix betty crocker fluffy white frosting cans

So I grab a bottle of grape Crush and head to the baking aisle for some Betty Crocker white cake mix and some fluffy white Betty Crocker frosting which I plan to mix my excess soda into and turn purple!

neil dandy in kitchen at preparation table

So here we are back at Mrs. Dandy’s Kitchen. She lets me in here every once a while and I make a horrible mess.

greased and floured cake pan

First off, we need to properly grease and flour or baking pan (this is only going to make enough for a single layer cake). Since I don’t have any lard in my pantry, I got my Paula Deen on and coated the pan in buttah! Then of course a good dusting of flour.

neil dandy pointing at ovenneil dandy pouring grape soda into measuring cup grape soda being poured into mixing bowl neil dandy pouring cake mix into bowl mixing cake mix with soda  neil dandy tilting bowl and mixing

First we’re going to preheat our oven to 350 degrees just like the instructions tell us and while that’s warming up, we’re going to start mixing our batter, starting with our 12 ounces of soday (cup and a half) slowly adding in our mix and keeping up our stirring until everything is nice and smooth.

close up of wooden spoon mixing batter in bowl

And I’m using a wooden spoon in honor of my grandmother Alma who used to beat me senseless with a wooden spoon when I was a child (and I deserved every whack I got!)

mixed batter being poured into cake pan neil dandy presenting cake pan with batter close up of cake pan with batter

Then we’re going to gently pour our batter into our cake pan, being sure to scrape the sides of our mixing bowl so as not to waste. Waste not want not my mama always said! and of course, lick the spoon!

Alright, our alarm has gone off indicating that our oven is fully up to temperature and we’re going to gently set our pan onto the center rack, close the door and set our timer to 30 minutes just like the box tells us. But we’ll come back in 20 minutes and do the toothpick test. The toothpick test is where you stick a toothpick into the center of your cake and if it comes out wet, you need to put the cake back in a bit longer. If it comes out clean, your cake is baked!

frosting being scooped into a mixing bowl

While our purple cow is baking, we’ll prepare our frosting!

neil dandy holding bottle of grape sodaclose up of grape soda being mixed with frosting

I was warned by a couple of friends when they learned I was planning to mix soda into the frosting that I was headed for disaster. They told me it would break down and become useless or reduced to a glaze at best. But torpedos be darned, I’m doing it anyway!

neil dandy covering frosting mix bowl with plastic bag

I dish out 2/3 of the frosting can into a small mixing bowl and start introducing the grape soda into it. Once I get it to a nice light purple color, I notice my frosting is a bit too loosey-goosey so I cover it with a plastic Walmart bag and put it in the fridge to chill and hopefully coagulate a bit.

neil dandy sipping grape soda

This leaves me with about 15 minutes to relax before I’ll need to check on the cake, so I’ll just log onto the internet and watch a nice episode of Dukes of Hazzard. If you skip the commercials, it should time out just about right! Yep, them Duke boys don’t know it yet but up over yonder, Daisy’s baking up a whole heap o trouble down at the Boar’s Nest!

(15 minutes later…)

I do a quick check on the cake. It’s jiggling a bit and the toothpick goes in and comes out wet, so back in for another ten minutes it goes!

(10 minutes later…)

toothpick getting stuck into cake

What’s that I hear!? It’s our timer letting us know that the cake is baked! But before we take it out, let’s do the final toothpick test!

close up of cake being removed from ovenneil dandy and dog staring at each other in front of oven

Ok, our toothpick is clean and let’s Gently, gently, gently use our kitchen towel to slowly pull it out and place it on the stove top to cool. I’d love to leave it open to the air, but because we have a dog that sheds like crazy, I have no choice but to cover it up with a plate.

After about an hour, I pull the plate off on my way out the door for the day and notice a lot of condensation on the underside of our covering plate. So I dry it with my kitchen towel and ask Mrs. Dandy to check on it and dry it again later in the day while I’m out.

(The following morning…)

neil dandy at kitchen prep table holding a cup of coffeecloseup of baked cake in pan

Well here we are to take our purple cow out of the pan and boy does it look great! As it cooled, it did pull away from the sides of the pan and hopefully that will help me get it out without too many issues.

neil dandy flipping cakeneil dandy flipping cakeclose up of cake being freed from pan with rubber spatulacloseup of cake upside down on plate

I flip it over onto our covering plate but it doesn’t come out on the first try and I have to come back and gently work the sides with my rubber spatula. One more try and it comes out easily although leaving just a little of the underside stuck to the pan. No biggie.

neil dandy flipping cake closeup of cake on plate

Now I want to flip it back over onto our presentation plate and this leaves just a bit of the top stuck to our covering plate. Just a little residue though. The cake is still fully intact so our Paula Deen butterin’ job was a success!

neil dandy frosting the cake

It’s time to frost this little lady of the antebellum so the moment of truth has arrived! I put the spreader into our bowl of frosting and… it’s smooth as silk and spreads like a Texas cattle ranch!

neil dandy pointing into the camera and shouting

“IN YOUR FACE NAYSAYERS! IN YOUR FACE!”

neil dandy frosting the cake neil dandy frosting the cake with dandyfunhouse.com letters at bottom of screen neil dandy frosting the cake neil dandy presenting completed purple cow cake closeup of completed purple cow cake

I get my cake frosted and I’m going to use the remaining white frosting I held back to create some cow spots. They turn out more like white clumps, but it still looks good and our Purple Cow Cake is complete! I’m going to cover this up and I can’t wait to serve it to the Dandy Family later tonight when they get home from work and school!

(Later that night…)

neil dandy with family

And here we are! Everybody’s home from work and school and we are ready to cut into this Purple Cow Cake!

neil dandy and family tasting the cake

Look at that purple color! The first slice goes to Mrs. Dandy for allowing me to wreck her kitchen over the past couple of days. The next goes to Evan the Boy Dandy and I take the third. On the count of three we all take a bite!

closeup of mrs. dandy closeup of mrs. dandy eating a chunk of cake

Mrs Dandy: “It’s got a good flavor. It’s got a light grapiness to it. The cake is moist which is always a good thing and I think it’s very good! I like the flavor. It’s very delicious!”

closeup of evan dandy

Evan Dandy: “It’s moist, has a cool color and cool frosting. It tastes good!”

Neil Dandy: “I have to tell you, I like this cake!”

neil dandy with family

(all together): AND THAT’S HOW TO MAKE SODA CAKE!

dandy family with dandyfunhouse.com letters at bottom of screen

And if you’d like to help us bake OUR cake here at the Dandy Fun House and support the production of future episodes, please visit our patronage page at dandyfunhouse.com . There you can watch all our videos, subscribe to the podcast and read the blog.
Supporters gain access to exclusive bonus material. Super Supporters will also gain access to exclusive bonus material PLUS I’ll mail you stuff from right here at the Dandy Fun House Studios that Mrs. Dandy wants me to unload on some poor suckers so we can make room for her new hobby of designing Halloween-themed Christmas trees!

Well, that cooks us for now, y’all come back now ya hear to the Dandy Fun House where everything is always… FUN AND DANDY!

dandy fun house logo in a spiral

Neil Dandy is the creator of The Dandy Fun House and the alter-ego of Neil Smith, the Big Cheese at Neil Smith Entertainment and Productions, musician, DJ, Emcee and author. Aren’t you impressed?