Cook the Book: Cuba Libre Brownies

Cook the Book: Cuba Libre Brownies

[Photo: Caroline Russock]

Cooking and baking with cola is a fairly common practice in the South. It's used as a glaze for ham, a braise for brisket, and a not-so-secret ingredient in cola cake. But with a title like The Boozy Baker, it's not a surprise that Lucy Baker adds a little bit of rum to make these Cuba Libre Brownies.

The richess of the cola and rum works exceptionally well with the moist chocolate brownies, which fall on the side of cakey brownies rather than dense, chewy ones. Instead of the white rum called for in the recipe, I used dark rum, since I thought that the richer more caramel flavors would be even better with the cola.

The brownies came out of the oven moist and springy with plenty of rum and cola flavors to compliment the chocolate. But it was the frosting that finished the brownies that really won me over. It was the perfect birthday cake icing kicked up with the heady aroma of rum. Once spread over the brownies, the frosting is finished with lime zest—just like a cuba libre isn't complete without a slice of lime for garnish.

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  • Yield:24 brownies


  • For the brownies:
  • 11/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup carbonated cola
  • 1/4 cup white rum
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup white rum
  • Freshly grated zest of 2 limes


  1. 1.

    To make the brownies, position a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan or spray it with nonstick spray. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.

  2. 2.

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.

  3. 3.

    Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir constantly until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.

  4. 4.

    In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and beat until well incorporated, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

  5. 5.

    With a wooden spoon or a spatula, gently stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture just until combined. Gently stir in the cola and the rum; then pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it to the edges.

  6. 6.

    Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the brownies in the pan completely.

  7. 7.

    To make the frosting, in a large bowl beat the butter, cocoa powder, and rum with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar, one cup at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.

  8. 8.

    Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies. Sprinkle with the grated lime zest, cut into squares, and serve.