This post is sponsored by HARIBO.
From an early age, my children have always loved a picnic. If a trickle of early morning sun light ever threatened to peek through the bedroom blind I knew the proposal of a little alfresco dining, be it even in the back garden, was sure to be on the cards. Teddy bears always played a pivotal role at these picnics, and sometimes would even place their own orders of what should don the picnic mat! The older the children have grown the urgency of setting up a picnic on a sunny morning has eased, but their love and nostalgia for picnics hasn’t seemed to diminish in any way. From birthdays to end-of-school farewells, we have shared many a celebration around a picnic blanket. 

The catering for these outdoor feasts has never been fussy. Something savoury; normally a batch of little sandwiches, wraps or maybe a slice of quiche, if I’ve due warning for this outdoor event. Something fruity; slices of melon, an apple or a container filled with grapes. Something to drink; water, fruit juice or perhaps even a flask of tea if sitting on the grass on an Irish summer’s day is a little over ambitious. Finally, the piece de resistance, something sweet. This can simply be the addition of a few packets of our favourite HARIBO’s to our basket, but other times a cake of some depiction will also take centre stage. 

To celebrate HARIBO’s new fruitier mix, now with added fruit juice, and as part of their #MyStarmixFavourite campaign, they kindly asked me to #ShareHappiness and develop a recipe showcasing one of their five iconic pieces. Have you a favourite HARIBO piece? Let me know in the comments below. I chose the cola bottle to showcase, as it has always been my absolute favourite. As a dedicated cake-lover my creation of choice had to involve some sort of a bake, so after a little deliberation, I decided to make an indulgently rich chocolate cake, not just a regular chocolate cake, but one infused with cola and coated in a chocolatey cola frosting, echoing the flavours of the cola bottles which I planned to pile on top. As you can see, it’s a real showstopper of a cake, and one which would easily earn its place at any celebration.

As the summer holidays approach, picnics and outdoor dining are once again on the cards. If you’re planning to enjoy this gorgeous cake as part of your picnic under a sunny blue sky, pop it into a tin and prop it up in a bag or basket surrounded by a few ice packs, which should keep it sufficiently cool on its journey to your picnic destination. 

This recipe and post were sponsored by HARIBO, but Millie and I thoroughly enjoyed setting up our Gummy Bear Picnic and it’s safe to say the cake was happily approved and devoured by the whole family. For more details about the fruitier HARIBO Starmix, visit

This cake is indulgently rich and moist. Even though it contains cola, there isn’t a hugely distinctive cola flavour, however what the cola does add to the cake is a caramel undertone and this delicious sweetness is so much more pronounced when paired with the HARIBO cola bottles. This is the perfect cake to make and enjoy at any celebration this summer.

Chocolate Cola Cake with a Cola Frosting and Topped with HARIBO Cola Bottles

225g butter, softened 
225g light brown sugar
275g self-raising flour 
50g cocoa powder
3 free-range eggs, lightly whisked
125ml whole milk
250ml cola
Chocolate Cola Frosting
125g butter
100g dark chocolate, approx. 50% cocoa solids
2tbsp cola 
Small pinch of sea salt
250g icing sugar, sieved
To Decorate
HARIBO cola bottles

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4. Line and lightly grease 2 x 20cm baking tins. 
2. Using a mixer, or a large bowl and wooden spoon, cream the butter and sugar together until soft and pale in colour, which will take about 5 minutes.
3. Sieve in the flour and cocoa powder and stir until combined.
4. Next, add the eggs and gently combine, before gradually adding in the milk. A little at a time, mixing well in between each addition. 
5. Pour in the cola and gently stir through the batter until well combined.
6. Divide the batter between the two prepared tins. Place in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes. 
7. While the cakes are baking, make the frosting. Place the butter, chocolate, cola, and pinch of sea salt into a small saucepan over a low heat. Once the butter and chocolate are almost melted, remove from the heat, and stir well to combine. Allow to cool before adding to a large bowl with the sieved icing sugar. Beat well with a wooden spoon to combine. At this stage, the frosting may look as if it has split, but let me assure you, once it is left to sit and cool, on the countertop not the fridge, for approximately an hour, it will look and taste perfect. Simply, give it a good stir every fifteen minutes or so. 
8. When the cakes are baked, leave in the tins for a few minutes to cool slightly, before turning out on to a wire rack. 
9. Once completely cooled, assemble the cake. 
Hold back two tablespoons of the frosting and place in a piping bag, for decorating the top of the cake. Place one of the cakes on a serving plate, top evenly with some of the frosting, before placing the other cake on top. Cover the top and side of the cake with the remaining frosting and smooth using a palette knife. To decorate, pipe a few nozzles of frosting on top of the cake and decorate, as generously as like, with HARIBO cola bottles. Slice and enjoy.
10. The cake will keep well for about three days. Simply pop it into an airtight tin.