Monday, July 28, 2014

Grandmother's Crazy Cake: One-Pan Vegan Chocolate Cake

I am so excited to give you one of my grandmother's recipes as is! Her "Crazy Cake" contains no animal products, and it only dirties one pan. It is also fluffy and delicious. What more could a baker want?

As July winds down and we have more of this year's summer BBQs behind us than ahead, I find myself reflecting on how nice it is to have summer get-togethers. The holidays are the time we more traditionally think about reuniting with loved ones, but those are so few and precious that we don't get to see everyone. The weather can be so unpredictable, and many times a holiday is about sheltering in place with one faction of our family.

Summer, on the other hand, is practically a word meaning "much more time to do things." Sure, we fill that time up pretty quickly, especially as adults; but there seem to be more possibilities shining in with the summer sun. The days are longer, the weather is more forgiving for travel, and the sunshine allows us to gather more people into backyards than we could ever fit into houses.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending one such backyard gathering of a community I have been part of for over a decade now. It was wonderful to see old friends and to even make new ones. Sure, vegans attending omnivore BBQs cannot always expect much for food (though the hosts at this event do always provide some delicious plant-based fare); but the food isn't really the point. Sometimes it's nice to fill up one's plate and giggle about what so-and-so's baby just did rather than discuss the food. It's also good to see people in person, even if Facebook tells us their every move. We see their faces and their expressions, hear their laughs and (ever more commonly in my life) hold their babies. I am very grateful for summer and for my friends who take the effort to bring friends together.

So, to friends, BBQs, veggie burgers and, of course, to cake!

Grandmother's Crazy Cake: One-Pan Vegan Chocolate Cake
makes one 9x9 or 9 inch round  single layer cake

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
6 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an ungreased 9x9 or 9 inch round pan, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
3. With the back of a spoon, make three deep holes in the mixture. In the first hole, pour the vinegar; in the second, the vanilla; and in the third, the oil.
4. Pour water over everything and mix together. Make sure to get out all the lumps and air bubbles and to scrape the sides so everything combines evenly.
5. Bake 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Cool completely before removing from pan. Decorate with powdered sugar or frosting of your choice.

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