Friday, February 17, 2006

Friday Food #6: Crazy Cake

In honor of yesterday's cakes, I decided not to post a dinner recipe today but a cake. This one came, originally, from Peg Bracken's I Hate to Cook Book, though there's also a version of it in Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. Peg (we've always been close) calls it Cockeyed Cake, and the Moosewood Collective calls it six-minute cake, but we always called it crazy cake when Mom made it for us, so that's what I call it, too.

This is not a cake that turns out of the pan. Rather, serve it from the pan and then enjoy the fudgy scrapings. I remember fighting over them with my brothers.

I've made a few changes to the Bracken version, mostly to try to make it chocolatier. I have to confess, it's not the most chocolate-y chocolate cake every made. But it's quick, and I always have the ingredients. Just don't use the good vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350, and spray or butter a 9x13 pan. (Yes, I doubled the original version. It doesn't take any longer to make it, and there will be cake the next day.)

Now, sift these dry ingredients into your cake pan. That's right, directly into the cake pan. Crazy, right?

3 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt (I don't think I have ever put this in, but Peg does)
1 tbl. espresso power (optional, but good)

Once the dry ingredients are all in the pan, make three holes in them. Get out the following wet ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbl. vinegar (cider or plain white)
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups cold water

Pour the oil into one hole, the vinegar into another, and the vanilla into the third. Then pour the water over the whole thing, and stir with a fork until everything is one somewhat pale brown color (don't worry, it gets darker as it bakes). Peg says you'll feel like you're making mud pies. Make sure you go around the corners a couple of times and get all the baking soda mixed in nicely.

Stir in 3/4 cup chocolate chips. (Or don't, but it will be much better if you do.)

Bake for half an hour, until dark and fudgy looking. The top will spring back when the cake is done; it might take a few extra minutes.

Best with vanilla ice cream, but just fine as is.


L said...

Sounds yummy! Oh, I responded to your question in the comments, and even edited the recipe in the post!

Susan said...

Wow, that sounds like so much fun. Mud pies!
I'm supposed to be arranging cake for my dear husband's birthday tonight but (sigh) our daughter does not eat chocolate. SO I think we will go with individual cupcakes from the cupcake bakery.

Hope you had a great day today!

Mamacita said...

I think the kids and I will have fun with this one -- thanks!
One question: Is espresso powder just ground coffee beans or is it a special powder one would find on the baking aisle?

Libby said...

I put this over on your blog as well, mamacita:
I'm answering your comment here, since I can't find an email address for you:

by espresso powder I mean instant espresso, which they usually sell alongside regular instant coffee, but sometimes in the gourmet aisle as well. I hear you can use finely ground beans instead, but I've never tried it.

Mamacita said...

Thanks, Libby --
I've updated my profile with my email address. I'm trying the cake today with four kids... crazy!