Busy-Day Chocolate Cake

Serves 8; Makes 1 8-Inch Square Cake
This recipe dates back to the 1960s— it was the first cake I ever attempted to bake, and I frequently ate and enjoyed it as a child. I’d recommend it to novice bakers and to anyone pressed for time. I suggest using safflower oil, though the recipe specifically calls for Wesson oil. (Perhaps this originated in a Wesson oil cooking pamphlet.) Cool and frost with your favorite icing (my aunt Gina always used the buttercream recipe on the back of the box of confectioners’ sugar). Also, this cake is vegan, too—no eggs, butter, or milk!


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and coarse salt.
2. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add vegetable oil, pure vanilla extract, white vinegar, and cold water. Whisk until well combined. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

cook's note
To make this recipe as prepared on "Mad Hungry" TV, top your chocolate cake with this Simple Buttercream frosting.
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