One Bowl Pantry Chocolate Snack Cake




1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup light brown sugar (can sub regular or dark)
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/2 cup olive oil (or canola or vegetable)
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cold brew coffee concentrate (optional or replace the water with brewed coffee)


Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 8×8 inch baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients, whisk until the batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle of the pan comes out clean. Cool, in pan,  on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Slice and serve.

My thoughts:

This is a riff on Depression and wartime era “wacky” or “crazy” cakes that were made without eggs or butter as a cost and resource cutting measure. They rely on acidic ingredients and baking soda to make the cakes rise. Snack cakes were pretty popular in that era when a lot of baking was done at home. Snack cakes aren’t mean to be fancy, decorated celebration cakes, they are a simple cake meant to be tucked into lunch boxes and served at casual get-togethers. They were the precursor to the packaged Hostess and Tastykakes we are familiar with today.

Since we are all stuck at home thanks to Covid-19 and many people are cooking from their pantries I thought an easy no butter, no eggs, no skill, no perishables cake was in order. The cake has a surprisingly rich flavor thanks to a high cocoa ration and a splash of coffee. Perfect for a little pick-me-up and who doesn’t need that right now? It’s pretty adaptable–I listed some substitutions above–normally I make it with canola oil but our reserves are getting low and I have lot more olive oil on hand. Feel free to add some spices and make it your own!

It’s so moist and rich tasting, no one would know you made it with odds and ends off the shelf.

Check out what else I’ve been making during self-isolation on my new blog, Cooking in Isolation.


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