Normally when I have an urge for chocolate, I bake brownies. They are fast and easy. But in this case, I had no butter in the house. My thoughts then turned to cakes. Coincidentally, I had just finished the last of the Half & Half (used in a pinch when I have no milk) that morning. What to do, what to do?
I know! This is a great opportunity to try out that recipe I saw in Better Homes and Gardens for a chocolate cake that uses no eggs and no milk. It is made in one bowl and bakes in a 9x13x12-inch pan like brownies. Instead of frosting, the recipe suggests ice cream, whipped cream or a dusting of powdered sugar. Plus, the recipe is the brainchild of a BHG reader so it has to work, right? Who submits recipes that don’t work?
So I greased up my brownie pan, dumped all of the ingredients at once into a bowl and mixed. The recipe says to beat until the “well combined”. I did but it didn’t have the consistency of cake batter. I beat some more. No dice. Crossing my fingers, I poured the rather runny batter into the pan and popped it into the oven.
And forgot to set the timer. No problem! I’ll just take it out when the sides start to pull away from the pan. Which they did. Before the middle finished baking. Experience has taught me that if I had left it in the oven, the edges of the cake would have burned before the batter in the middle baked all the way through. So out it came.
After it cooled, I tried a piece from the cooked edge. The texture was very light as was the taste. I could barely taste any chocolate. No way that this would stand up to ice cream or whipped cream. Those require a dense cake with a strong chocolate flavor. All baked goods taste better the second day, so I tried another piece the following day. Still light texture but with a stronger chocolate flavor.
Yes, this is a quick chocolate cake but it’s not a very good one. I should have realized that there was a good chance that this recipe would neither work nor taste very good. The reader who submitted the recipe wrote the following in the category of Favorite to Make: “I love to bake pies!”
Verdict: What were they thinking???
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups cold water
⅔ cup vegetable oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Heat oven to 350°F. In large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed until well combined. Pour batter in a greased 9x13x2-inch baking pan.
Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, or dust with powdered sugar.
Recycle: vegetable oil bottle, vinegar bottle, vanilla bottle