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Chocolate Cake, Basic (and Variations) (P, TNT)
Source: Self
Serves: 16

1-1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/3 tsp. baking powder
2 or 3 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa, the more, the better
1/4 tsp salt, optional
1/4 tsp cinnamon, optional
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 to 1/3 cup. water

Mix the dry ingredients until well integrated.

Mix well the wet ingredients, EXCEPT water, until thoroughly integrated. Add the wet ingredients, mix into the dry ingredients and mix until integrated. You will have a lumpy granular batter. Add water gradually, mixing until batter is smooth and glossy.

Pour into baking pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean or cake has pulled away slightly from sides of pan.

White Cake:
Omit cocoa, double vanilla in wet mix.

Chocolate Chip Cake:
Omit cocoa, double vanilla in wet mix, mix in 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips to finished batter before baking.

Spice Cake:
Omit cocoa, add 2 to 3 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, dash white pepper to dry mix.

Lemon Spice Cake:
Omit cocoa, add spices as above, add grated lemon rind--the more the better--to wet stuff. NB, don't substitute lemon juice for any of the wet ingredients in an attempt to get more lemoniness--it'll throw the leavening off kilter.

Almond Spice Cake:
Omit cocoa, add spices as above, add 1/4 cup ground almonds to dry mix.

If disaster strikes, almonds are also good if you find you've added too much water; just throw in ground almonds until your batter's texture comes right. (Adding flour won't work because flour is too dry. Almonds, because they have oil, won't make your cake dry out.)

For the enterprising among you, I don't know why you couldn't mix up a triple or quadruple set of the dry ingredients as your own cake mix. Store it in an airtight canister, then take out 2 cups or so, add the egg, oil, vanilla and water, and you're away to the races!

Poster's Notes:
For the vanilla, use the real stuff, not the artificial--it makes a difference.

Here's my low-stress, high-outcome chocolate cake recipe. Eight ingredients (without options) and you can actually mix it in the cake pan itself if you don't want to dirty a bowl. And use a spoon, not the mixmaster! How's that for low maintenance!? This is pretty nearly as simple as a cake mix and not only do you get pride of bakership and no butylated hydroxyanisole, etc., you get satisfied customers. If you do mix it in the cake pan, make sure you get all the dry ingredients away from the corners and seams and absorbed into the batter.

Don't line or grease the cake pan or any extra stuff like that, whether it's non-stick, Pyrex, or just plain old aluminum. And don't sweat the measurements; level or heaping spoons will do fine, and if it's not an Official Teaspoon but just the small spoon in your cutlery set, that's OK too. Likewise, the cup doesn't need to be an Official 8-ounces. Cup; just a reasonable approximation thereof. You can use a coffee cup and eyeball the partial cup measurements. Because you add the water at the end, you should get the right texture regardless of minor variations of measure. It's a very forgiving recipe. Just make sure that you use the same spoon and cup throughout for all the measurements.

For bonus points, sprinkle a generous bunch of MINIATURE CHOCOLATE CHIPS (not the standard size, but the tiny ones) on top before baking.

It's simplest just to let it cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes, then slice into squares and serve. But, if you want to take it out of the pan as one large slab and then cut it up, you'll have to squiggle it out. Run a knife around the sides of the cake next to the pan's sides, periodically digging the knife in and down and slanting the knife slightly inward to detach the cake from the bottom and sides. A flexible grapefruit knife is good for digging underneath the bottom of the cake to loosen it and let you flip it out on to a plate.

Posted by Shayna Kravetz

Nutritional Info Per Serving: N/A