I truly believe that some of the best recipes ever created are the ones on the backs of ingredient packages. Think about it – the company paid someone to create that recipe so that it would showcase their product. This cake, that I call the Easiest Chocolate Cake, is one of my go-to desserts. I can get it pulled together quickly with mostly pantry items, pop it in the oven, and tantalize my guests as they smell it baking!
I often use this type of recipe as a jumping off point to create something different. But in this case, the original is so good it doesn’t need any improvement. I have made this cake dozens of times since I discovered it and they have all been perfect. It is the one cake that The Artist and his father both love and ask me to make for every family get together. It has stood the test of time. I just wish I knew who the recipe developer was so I could thank them!
This is wonderful cake, perfect for any occasion. Because it is baked and served in a 9×13-inch pan, it is simple to take with you to a potluck dinner, church supper, or summertime picnic. I love to serve it with a spoonful of raspberry sauce. If I have time I will put some frozen raspberries in the blender with a little sugar and maybe a touch of booze (if it’s been a rough week LOL). If time is short, I often turn to a jarred sauce, the one from Fran’s Chocolates.
Fran’s is sold in most major grocery chains across the country, and you’ll find it by the ice cream sauces and cones. It is a great back up to have in your pantry. Look for their chocolate fudge and caramel too, yum!
Here is a story for you, this time I hit a bump in the middle of making this cake. Today when I started assembling the ingredients, I realized that I was out of my gluten-free flour blend. So I stopped what I was doing and whipped together a bucket of the blend. In and of itself not a memorable action.
I jumped back into assembling the dry ingredients, adding the GF flour and remaining ingredients. When I mixed up the batter it seemed thicker than normal and a smaller amount, but it’s been a while since I’ve made the cake and this is gluten-free so things always look different. Maybe it was just a little off today? Luckily I used the spatula to get the final bits of batter back in the bowl, tasted it and … oops, I had forgotten to add the sugar!!
So I went back to my recipe to double check the ingredient list and the sugar wasn’t there! I had started reading the list at the flour and completely missed seeing the sugar a second time. So I took a deep breath, stepped away for a couple of seconds and then went back to the recipe and I finally saw the sugar. Man, that was close!
The key is that even if you’ve forgotten an ingredient, you can still add it and save your recipe. I added the sugar last and the cake is still beautiful. Never forget, even someone who has been baking forever can make a mistake – we are all far from perfect!
Enjoy this terrific cake at your next event. Everyone will thank you!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Read the recipe through thoroughly. When you see several ingredients that are added at the same time you can pre-assemble them to make it easier and faster to put your recipes together. In this case, all the dry ingredients are added together and then you put the liquids in (all but the boiling water, that goes in last) – so mix them up ahead and make it really easy on yourself!
I use my standard gluten-free flour blend (found here). Remember to use the same gluten-free flour to coat the buttered pan!
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup mild flavored vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend, plus more for the pan
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- To Serve
- Raspberry sauce, such as Fran’s brand
- Powdered sugar
- Fresh mint sprigs
- Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour (use gluten-free flour if needed) a 13”x9”x2” baking pan. Set aside.
- Place the water in a microwave-save measuring cup (preferably Pyrex glass) and heat to boiling. Leave it in the microwave oven while you assemble and mix the other ingredients.
- In a 2-cup measuring cup with a spout (I prefer Pyrex) add the milk and oil. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Set the cup next to your stand mixer.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all the dry ingredients. Mix on low until blended and it is an evenly colored mixture with no pockets of cocoa or flour. Turn off the motor and pour in the milk/oil mixture. Start on low then increase to medium speed and beat for about 2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and the paddle.
- Turn the mixer back on the lowest speed and very slowly add the boiling water, about 1 tbsp at a time to avoid splashing, until all the water has been added. The batter will be very thin. Scrape the bowl one more time to be sure all the dry ingredients and heavy batter are incorporated. Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan.
- Firmly tap the pan on the counter a couple of times to release any hidden air bubbles. Place the cake into the oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean.
- Remove from the oven and set the cake, still in the pan, on a wire cooling rack. If you are using gluten-free flour, the cake will be best if you let it cool completely before cutting. Don’t be surprised when the cake sinks slightly in the center as it cools.
- Cut the cake into squares. Pour 1 to 2 tbsp of the raspberry on the plate and set the cake alongside the sauce. Pour a little powdered sugar into a fine wire sieve and dust the top of the cake. Tuck a sprig of mint alongside and serve.
- Yield: 8 servings
Create a New Tradition Today!
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