All-in-the-Pan Chewy Chocolate Cake

This cake is a snap to whip up, and decadently delicious.

This cake is a snap to whip up, and decadently delicious.

All-in-the-Pan Chewy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Butter Icing
Serves 6 to 8

Cake:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Ghirardelli or Hershey’s
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons flavourless vegetable oil, such as canola
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup cool water

Icing:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups icing sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons milk or water
1 1/2  tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour into an ungreased, unfloured 8 x 8-inch square baking pan (a 9 x 9-inch pan would work too; reduce the baking time by 5 to 7 minutes). (If you wish to unmould the cake before icing and serving, butter the pan lightly and line the bottom and up two sides with a piece of parchment paper. Take care when mixing not to disturb or tear the paper. Personally, I like to leave the cake in the pan; it keeps very well that way, and is even easier!) In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add this mixture to the flour in the pan and stir well with a fork or small whisk to blend the ingredients (a flat sauce whisk works beautifully). With the back of a teaspoon, make three indentations or wells in the dry mixture: one large, one medium-sized and one small. Into the large well, pour the vegetable oil. Into the medium-sized well, the vinegar. Pour the vanilla extract into the last well and pour the water over everything.With a fork, stir the mixture until the ingredients are well blended, making sure you reach into the corners and sides to catch any dry pockets. Do not beat this batter, but mix just until most of the lumps are smoothed out, and there are no little patches of overly thick or overly runny batter. A few lumps won’t hurt, and it’s important not to overbeat at this point.

2. Bake the cake for 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean and the top feels springy when lightly touched. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool the cake completely before cutting, turning out or icing. This is an extremely moist cake, and it will tear if
cut too soon. While you’re waiting for the cake to cool, whip up a batch of the Chocolate Butter Icing. If you have lined the pan with parchment, run a knife around the sides of the pan and gently lift the cake out with the help of the parchment paper.

3. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup of the icing sugar until the butter is well distributed. The mixture will be very dry and still powdery. Stir in 1 tablespoon of milk or water, then sift the cocoa powder over the mixture and cream to blend. Mix in the vanilla, then add the second cup of
icing sugar. Add as much of the remaining liquid as necessary to make a thick, creamy icing. (This recipe makes more than enough to generously frost the top and sides of the cake, and if you keep the cake in the pan, as I do, you will have plenty of icing left over for greedy fingers!)

4. To serve, you can simply sprinkle the cooled cake with sifted icing sugar and/or cocoa powder, but the yummy butter icing really completes it. And there is no better cake for a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Any leftovers can be stored in the pan, at room temperature, covered with a piece of aluminum foil. The un-iced cake freezes well: wrap the whole pan securely and thaw without disturbing the wrapping, at room temperature, for 4 to 6 hours. Makes enough for 8 servings if your guests are really polite, 3 to 4 if they are honest. (Again, I’m not kidding.)

Recipe courtesy Regan Daley

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