my mom used to make Crazy Cake with us when we were kids.
a cake mixed up in the pan it bakes in! if that makes cake Crazy, i’m all for it.
we loved that chocolatey cake, too. as home schoolers, mid-morning snack-attacks would strike hard and fast around 10:30am. popcorn, toast, pieces of fruit… cookies, if there were any, would quickly disappear. but on a special occasion, we might get to make CAKE. during SCHOOL. (i did receive the best education!)
i was thrilled to find the recipe again years later, smartly renamed on marthastewart.com as Busy-Day Chocolate Cake. because — you can make it when you have really no time to spare. it’s really simple. oh and it’s tasty.
this is one of my most favorite cake recipes; dressed-up enough for a dinner party, simple enough for any day when you don’t have any eggs but NEED CAKE. i’ve made it when my friend who can’t eat dairy comes over for dinner. i’ve made it on saturday mornings, in my sweats, before breakfast. tender and rich, intensely chocolatey…
pretty great cake!
so i like to top this with a superthick layer of the best frosting ever — with another clever name, Seven Minute Frosting. it is likewise really simple and quick. this looks like glossy marshmallow fluff but has a lot of flavor and airy richness, and is kind of elegant. i won’t even mention that it’s fat-free. i use the whole batch of frosting for this cake because i love the towering, shiny white topping to be almost as thick as the chocolate cake! while i dislike really sweet frostings on cakes, this frosting is wonderful and light (read: i can eat tons of it), and looks really beautiful, too. no one will know how easy it was to make! you might want to make some right now. you deserve a cake.
how busy is your day?
busy-day chocolate cakeadapted from martha stewart
(reading comments sections on the internet is enough to make anyone lose faith in humanity, i know, but i still do it. but i know my readers are smart, so there won’t be any “vinegar in a CAKE? disgusting, i left it out!” comments on here, now will there be? like the people i roll my eyes at on marthastewart.com. the vinegar isn’t there for flavor, it’s there for leavening. so don’t leave it out, and don’t worry that it will affect flavor — it doesnnn’t.)
- 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- 6 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 TBSP white vinegar
- 1 cup cold water
preheat oven to 350 degrees.
in an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and coarse salt.
making a well in the center of the pan, add remaining ingredients and whisk until well combined, taking special care in the corners of the pan. bake 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out cleanly. let cool in pan on a wire rack.
seven-minute frostingadapted from martha stewart
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 TBSP water
- 1 TBSP light corn syrup
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
bring first three ingredients to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan, stirring, making sure sugar dissolves. once boiling, cook without stirring until 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. occasionally wash down sides of saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in water to prevent any sugar crystals.
meanwhile, whisk egg whites with a stand mixer until soft peaks form. as soon as sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, with mixer running, pour in a slow, steady stream down the side of the mixing bowl. really slowly. raise mixer speed to high and beat until thick and shiny and cooled, 5 to 10 minutes (about 7, i’d say!). turn off the mixer and lick the beater. you have created a masterpiece.
leftovers rating: B-
the cake keeps beautifully in the fridge, and could be made ahead of time — even frozen — for a special occasion. the frosting loses density with time and won’t maintain it’s original luster longer than a day. it will still taste great, though. go ahead… have leftover cake for breakfast.