Quick Chocolate Cake

There are some days when I crave a simple chocolate cake—nothing too big, fancy, or (gulp) calorie ridden. I believe that creating something simple shouldn't require making a big affair of things. I don't want to make a huge mess of the kitchen, spend time mixing up a batch of frosting, or worry about leveling and layering cakes. I don't feel like spending hours standing in the kitchen with batter up to my elbows. Really, I don't think that's too much to ask.

Why shouldn't I be able to have my cake and eat it too?

This chocolate cake is so quick and easy. The cake is mixed up in the pan it is baked in, minimizing time spent dirtying and cleaning up the dishes. There is no need to drag out the stand mixer or clear the cupboards of the mixing bowls; the only dirty dishes you will have are the measuring cups/spoons and the spatula you mix it with (but, really, you could easily lick that clean).

Now this is something I could really get used to.

This cake is vegan! No dairy, no butter, and no oil, yet it retains a moist and rich sponge. The espresso powder in the cake cannot be tasted, but it really brings a well-rounded chocolate flavor to the cake. There is really no excuse not to make this. I challenge you to find me an easier or quicker recipe.

Quick Chocolate Cake

Yields 1 9-inch cake

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/4 cup applesauce (or vegetable oil)
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan.

In the greased pan, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt until well mixed. Make 3 depressions into the flour. Place the vinegar into one depression, the vanilla extract in another, and the applesauce in the last. Pour the water over the entire mixture. Using a spatula, mix together the batter until smooth.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and cool completely on a cooling rack.