My mom’s birthday is tomorrow, so this weekend I decided to practice an old
tradition: Making her favorite chocolate cake recipe.
Conveniently, it’s also my favorite chocolate cake recipe. And now I’m sharing it with you.
When I was little, there was only one chocolate cake I wanted my mom to make. I actually got somewhat upset with her when she tried any other cake recipe, because this one was SO GOOD. She didn’t really want any other kind of cake either (except maybe carrot cake), but would occasionally decide that she should try new things. Then she would regret it, because she loved this cake and always says she could probably eat the entire thing herself if she didn’t consciously stop herself. No other chocolate cake could compare, because it wasn’t THIS cake. And we liked this cake. A lot.
It’s also an incredibly easy cake. It’s so easy, that I started making it for my mom for her birthday ever year when I was ten years old. It’s almost as easy as a boxed cake. I would argue that with this cake recipe there is no excuse for making vegetable oil filled, tasteless box cake (read why you shouldn’t eat vegetable oil here). Seriously, don’t do it.
Note: It’s not “Airy,” “Fluffy,” or “Light”
Now, I do want to preface this with a disclaimer – this isn’t your normal, fluffy, cake that you might be picturing. It’s not particularly airy, and it’s denser and thinner than many cakes. Personally, I think it’s better…but don’t expect a super tall, round cake filled with little air pockets. This is a thinner sheet-like cake.
In my opinion, those air pockets are tasteless. I don’t want to eat air. Unless we’re talking biscuits, in which case, bring on the air pockets!
Actually, I’ve seen several variations of this cake in cookbooks, and it is (apparently) a different type of cake, even though I just grew up calling “chocolate cake.” It’s an olive oil cake, which makes it different somehow. Don’t ask me how; I don’t know. My point is that you can’t just substitute olive oil into your favorite cake recipe; you have to use coconut oil for that. And then yes, you can make fluffy, airy cakes without vegetable oil.
But personally, I’m going to make this cake literally every time I want chocolate cake. EVERY TIME.
So, the moment you’ve been waiting for….THE RECIPE!
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. warm water
Prep time: 10-15 minutes (seriously).
Bake time: 35-40 min.
Total time: Less than an hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, sugar, cocoa). No need to add anything gradually or use a special order – just dump everything in a bowl and briefly mix it around.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients. You can mix this together in a big glass measuring cup if you have one, to avoid dirtying extra measuring tools.
- Pour wet stuff over dry stuff and whisk. Theoretically, you whisk until all the lumps or gone. Or you can not care and just mix it ‘good enough.’ I’ve done it both ways.
- Put it in baking dish. For a full recipe, you can use a 9×13 pan if you want a thin sheet cake, or you can use a smaller pan to make it thicker. Just note that if you use a smaller pan, you may need to increase the baking time. For a half recipe, a loaf pans works PERFECTLY.
- Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Another fun way to
tell that a cake is done is to press your finger lightly on the top – it should be springy. You can also test the temperature (it should be 210 degrees in the middle), or use your favorite method of telling when cakes or done. Whatever; you do you.
- Cool & frost. This cake goes quite well with butter-cream or dark chocolate frosting