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Dining In: A true classic chocolate cake

Chances are that along with flowers and gift cards, a lot of chocolate was given as gifts to celebrate Mother’s Day last weekend.

Interest in chocolate, which is one of America’s favorite flavors (vanilla has a slight edge), goes way past Mother’s Day. We love chocolate anytime; Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year, or more than 11 pounds per person, according to

We eat it as chocolate candy, in baked goods, beverages and ice cream, and news that studies concluded cocoa contains vital nutrients and is high in antioxidants was greeted with jubilation. However, like all good things, chocolate is best eaten in moderation since it contains a good amount of sugar.

One way to enjoy chocolate is this simple pan cake, which has been among the most-requested recipes at King Arthur Flour ( for decades. The company recently named it as its 225th anniversary “recipe of the centuries.”

Reminiscent of the dairy-free “Wacky Cake” (also called “Crazy Cake”), which may have been created as a result of World War II rationing when eggs and milk were scarce, it contains no eggs, milk or butter. Moist and tender, it can be served frosted or simply sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar.

Cake Pan Cake:
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose
flour or gluten-free flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup Dutch-process cocoa
or natural cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon espresso powder,
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar, cider
or white
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

1½ cups semisweet chocolate
½ cup half & half (or cold coffee)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch square or 9-inch round pan that’s at least 2 inches deep.
2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the vanilla, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
4. Serve the cake right from the pan; warm from the oven, it’s wonderful with a big glass of milk.
5. Or, once cool, frost the cake with this simple chocolate frosting: Heat the chocolate chips with the half & half until the chips melt. Stir until smooth, and pour/spread over the cake. For a non-dairy icing, substitute 1/3 cup cold brewed coffee (or water) for the half & half.
6. Store cake, well covered, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.