True or false:
1. You like cake.
2. You’re short on time.
3. You hate baking.
4. You love baking.
5. You want to make a cake but you’re out of eggs and butter.
5. You have a weakness for chocolate and when there’s none in your house things can get ugly.
6. You need an easy vegan cake recipe.
If you answered true to the first and any of the following statements, this recipe is worth checking out. It ticks all the boxes and can be made with pantry staples. That’s it. Nothing refrigerated. This means as long as you keep your pantry stocked, whenever your sweet tooth cries out, you can have your cake and eat it too.
There are many reasons to love this recipe. It’s the edible equivalent of a machine washable, not too fancy, not too plain, oh-so-comfortable little black dress: suitable for a variety of occasions, versatile with minimal effort and cost effective. It’s incredibly quick, easy and perfect for a lean budget.
I made a cake like this to earn my baking badge as a girl scout. Years later I discovered it again on one of my favourite food blogs as I was prepping for my son’s birthday party. It is now my fall-back midweek dessert and the rainy day activity my son enjoys most. Most of the time I don’t bother with the icing though it is very, very tasty. You choose.
I’ve since modified the recipe from Not Without Salt to suit my need for a more intense chocolate flavour. I also cut the quantities to only fill one pan because honestly, if I made two cakes every time a craved chocolate, I would need to buy a new wardrobe. Chocolate makes my clothes shrink.
This modified recipe is best for an 8″ square pan or a 9″ round.
Ready? This is too easy.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 F/175 C. (If you’re using a convection oven, 325 F/170 C)
Grease your pan and line the bottom with parchment. If you intend to eat it straight out of the oven, don’t bother. (No judgement here. You’re in good company.)
Measure the following into a large mixing bowl:
1.5 cups of flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended)
Combine the following in a separate liquid measuring cup:
1 cup coffee (I use the leftovers from the french press. Instant coffee is fine in a pinch.)
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pour the liquid ingredients into the large bowl of dry ingredients and combine with a whisk until the batter is homogenous.
Pour the batter into your pan, pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes and enjoy. If you need help checking for doneness, here’s some advice.
Just like a reliable little black dress, the possibilities are endless. Last time I added 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper and called it a Mexican Chocolate cake. It was delicious. Try layering it with Nutella. Play with fresh cream and preserved cherries. Blitz fresh mint into a simple buttercream. It is hard to mess this up. Even if you do, at least you won’t have wasted stipend money on butter and eggs. I hope you like it.
-From the kitchen of Elissa Watts