A couple of Saturdays back, I decided to make this simple chocolate cake for two reasons: First, it’s small, and I needed to serve only our family of four. Second, I really, really wanted cake—doesn’t that happen to you, sometimes?—but I had less than an hour to start and finish a cake before I needed to leave the house to run an errand.
This has to be the world’s fastest chocolate cake. Make this cake, and you’ll wonder why you ever thought you needed a boxed cake mix. It was just 10 minutes from the time I started pulling ingredients out of the cabinet to the time I put the cake in the oven.
As it takes only 30 minutes to bake, I had a finished cake in just 40 minutes. And it’s doggone good.
If this recipe looks familiar to you, but not the name, I think it’s the same as what my high school best friend’s family used to call “hot water chocolate cake,” although this recipe uses cold water.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Cake from Joy of Cooking
One 8-inch square cake. Prep time: 10 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes.
This is a delightfully simple chocolate cake, whether or not you observe dietary restrictions.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan or line the bottom with wax or parchment paper.
Whisk together in a large bowl until well blended:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 cup cold water
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk until smooth. Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly.
Bake about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the cake to detach it from the pan. Invert the cake and peel off the paper liner, if using. Let cool right side up on the rack.
Serve plain, dusted with confectioners’ sugar, or frost with a bittersweet chocolate glaze.