Made-in-the-Pan Chocolate Cake

If you don’t already have this recipe, boy, are you going to thank me!  It’s an old, old recipe and can be found in about a gazillion places online, but mine goes along with a story!

When the middle hooligan was a two-year-old, he was such a typical one!  Except that he loved any food, and still does. I was having a Stamp-a-Stack at our home, and I made this simple chocolate cake to serve. It’s a fabulously moist, chocolately, perfect cake, and my stampers loved it.  The next day,  I foolishly left the remaining cake on the kitchen island while I went off to check email (my favorite GI Joe was deployed so I checked email about a hundred times a day). I’m sure you can guess what I came back to…one messy little boy and a destroyed cake. I just had to laugh!


I’m not including a photo of the cake…it’s a chocolate snack cake with frosting, so you can easily picture it in your mind, I’m sure. And I love this scrapbook page I made of the incident, so wanted to share it instead! Here’s the recipe…give it a try when you’ve got a fierce craving and no time to spare!

Easiest Chocolate Cake

  • 1- 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dark cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup cold water or coffee

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

2. Measure all the dry ingredients into an 8″ or 9″ round or square cake pan; if you use an 8″ pan, make sure it’s at least 2″ deep. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a fork or whisk and scoop out three holes, or indentations.

3. Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third.

4. Take the cup of cold water or coffee and pour it directly over everything in the pan.  Stir all the ingredients together with your fork until they are well blended.

5. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Serve right from the pan; warm from the oven and dusted with powdered sugar, or let it cool and frost with this easy chocolate glaze: Heat 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/2 cup half & half until the chips melt. Stir until smooth, and pour/spread over the cake.

Yield: 12 to 16 servings.

Click here for the printable recipe

If you use the espresso powder, using coffee instead of water may be too much mocha flavor…unless you love mocha, then by all means go right ahead!  And if you don’t have dark cocoa powder, regular unsweetened cocoa will work fine.  I just prefer the depth of flavor from the dark cocoa. Plus I tell myself it’s healthier. Don’t burst my bubble.


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