Shuga' Mommas

Shuga’ Mommas: Chocolate Cake

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


Celebrate: May Flowers

We haven’t posted a ‘celebrate’ piece in a while and to kick us off again we wanted to share something beautiful and worth celebrating – friend’s birthdays!  Enjoy below some lovely photos, as well as some great links and tips, from a ‘may flower’ themed party.  The cake was not only stunning, but was INCREDIBLY delicious as well.  (It even has coffee grinds included in the recipe, which would probably explain why I am still craving it to this day!)  Pick a fun theme for a party and find recipes and crafts that correspond! Celebrate with us and share some of  your journey on the blog!

Delicious chocolate cake recipe found here!      Ridiculously adorable frosting technique found here!         And basic buttercream frosting recipe found here!

Super easy and cute flower ring tutorial found here!

**If you have a celebrate entry you’d like to have posted, please let us know! It could be a little thing like a beautiful photograph you have taken or a big thing like a job placement!  Send us an email, we’d love to hear from you!


Cake Baking

Written by Lucy – a future graduate wife

For our anniversary, I cooked a simple but tasty dinner. I had some time before my husband, Grant, came home, so I was just idly looking through our kitchen cabinets and found a box of cake mix. I had never made a cake—ridiculous, but true. I looked at the box and thought, How hard can it be?

So I mixed the few ingredients together, got out my spring form cake pan, and dug up the cake stand wedding gift we never used. As I checked on the timer and peeked into the oven, I thought, This looks and smells really good. Maybe I can pull this off!

For whatever reason [perhaps I neglected to grease the non-stick pan…] the beautiful cake I pulled out of the oven would not free itself from the container.

It stuck.

And stuck.

And stuck.

By the time I finally scraped the majority of what was formerly known as the cake from the “non-stick” pan, it existed as a heap—a mound of yellow goodness—on the overly adorned cake stand. Ridiculous.

It was not pretty. In fact, it was quite ugly. Trying to ice it only made matters worse.

I was figuring out what to do next when Grant walked in and—much to my surprise and pleasure—began to laugh hysterically! It was perfect. Laughter is salve to the soul. Having never made a cake before he lovingly assured me, “It’s the most beautiful cake you’ve ever made me.”

It tasted like a cake—moist, warm, sweet, and thick. We savored every bite as we ate it in hand fulls through giggles and globs of icing standing barefoot in the kitchen together. Delicious.

This whole cake-making process is such a reflection of our lives together.

As we embark on our own graduate journey, we have this awesome adventurous idea of something. In a moment of spontaneity, we set out with determination, learning as we go. Then something ridiculous happens that—if we were other people in another marriage, perhaps—would ruin the whole thing.

It does not look pretty.

It does not turn out the way we thought.

But we laugh.

We have fun through the process. We enjoy it together. And it still tastes just as good—if not better.

Because appreciating the un-perfect, the disappointing, and the minor flaws in our graduate journey is somehow more beautiful than we ever could have planned or made for ourselves.

You see, with us, God has this delightful sense of humor that blesses us in the midst of perceived failure, and as a result, we trust Him more, we love each other more, and we laugh a whole lot more along the way. I hope our journey reflects that.

That cake was some of the best I’ve ever had. And, for what it’s worth, the best I’ve ever made.

In your graduate wife journey, what are some things you have learned to laugh through?