Thursday, July 8, 2010

chocolate snacking cake

When you read a recipe title like that, what can you do but start to bake? This is the easiest cake I know how to make, so much so that sometime Ant requests it 35 minutes before he wants to eat it. (It takes 30 minutes to bake.)

There are three main things I like about this easy cake. First, it calls for pantry staples that I always have. It doesn't require an egg, baking chocolate, or even milk. The chocolate flavour comes from cocoa and the liquid is water. Even so, it is tasty enough to fool guests into drooling praise as if it used speciality ingredients.

Secondly, this dead simple cake requires only one mixing bowl and a whisk. There is no creaming of butter, no melting in a saucepan, no folding, and moistening. When time is of the essence (or laziness has reached a peak) then washing up more than one bowl seems so distasteful. This cake is bowl-efficient.

And thirdly, this is the recipe that introduced me to the easiest icing in the world. While the cake is cooling, sprinkle over it a handful (1 cup or 250 ml) of chocolate chips, broken chocolate pieces, After Eight mints, or Terry's Chocolate Orange slices. Voila! Instant icing. What a trick, that I now use regularly and with gusto.

Without further ado, the recipe for the easiest chocolate cake, soon to be snacked on at your house, too.
Chocolate Snacking Cake
adapted from The New Canadian Basics Cookbook by Carol Ferguson

1 1/2 c (190 g) flour
1 c (250 g) sugar (or 2/3 of this)
3 T cocoa
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 T mild vinegar (white, white wine, cider, or any mild vinegar)
1 t vanilla essence
1 c (250 ml) warm water
1/2 c (60 g) chopped walnuts (optional)
1 c (250 ml) broken chocolate pieces, or a handful of After Eight mints, or half a Terry's Chocolate Orange (optional)

In a mixing bowl, first combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir.
Add the oil, vinegar, vanilla essence, and warm water and mix well.
Add walnuts (optional).
Pour into an 8" (20 cm) square cake pan.
Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 30 minutes until a sharp knife comes out clean.
Cool on a rack. While the cake is still hot, sprinkle it with the broken chocolate pieces. Smooth it out when melted.


Anonymous said...

What a great sounding, quick cake! I like that it's not too huge. Good idea to use mints or orange chocolate on top too!

Tracy said...

I love cake that asks for oil. So light, these cakes.

Sarah said...

Jill, yes, you are right--a small cake is perfect. We can never eat a big one. Or, more accurately, we shouldn't but we do anyway. :-P

Tracy, yes, and I like that using oil is easier than butter. I know it's a bit pathetic perhaps, but melting and cooling butter or creaming butter and sugar is a barrier for me to make a cake. What's your favourite cake to make?

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Wow, great picture! I love cakes you can do in one bowl, I'm all for avoiding excess mess!!

Naomi said...

I've just made this as I needed a quick pudding that didn't involve eggs - perfect!

Only problem was once the cake was in the oven I realised I had forgotten to add the vanilla essence, then I looked back at the recipe instructions and it doesn't mention it! I guess it should have gone in with all the liquids?

Still, it worked out anyway and has a light texture. I cut off two pieces while it was still warm and served them with tinned pears and ice cream - "very tasty" was the verdict from my husband!

Hope you're well. x

Sarah said...

Sarah, let's hear it for less washing up! That's how I like things. More time for tea drinking!

Naomi, thanks for trying out the cake! And as for your question, you were right that I missed a bit in the directions. Thanks--I fixed it. I guess at least I missed a small thing, not too crucial to your enjoyment. :)

Tamra Rule said...

What a strange sounding recipe with so much baking powder and vinegar! But I can't wait to try it out. The icing is pure genius!

Sarah said...

Hi Tam, nice to see you here! I guess the vinegar and baking powder react together and provide the fluffy texture in this cake. It's genius. I make this cake so much because it's dead easy. Enjoy!

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