We have been busy pruning vines all week enjoying glorious spring weather. Today it turned cold and damp and made for a good excuse to work inside. At least that is my excuse. The boys are still outdoors hard at it. The very least I can do is prepare something to reward them for their efforts – a hot mug of tea and a big piece of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.
This origin of this vintage cake is unclear. It has been variously called Jeanie John’s Cake, Big Molly’s Devil’s Food Cake, Jiffy Chocolate Cake, or Mix-in-the-Pan Cake. In the 1957 edition of the Practical Cookbook – Selected Doukhobor and Quaker Recipes it is called “Wacky” Cake. This vintage cake is incredibly easy taking a total of one hour to make and bake. It is equally good frosted or with sifted icing sugar. I have an old, well used, hand written recipe card (what a quaint notion) dotted with splashes of chocolate for Richmond Chocolate Frosting written in my mother’s hand. I don’t know to what the “Richmond” refers. There are no eggs in this cake and it is mixed right in the cake pan. Like my previous post on Revisionist Butter Tarts, vinegar and baking soda react to create carbon dioxide giving this cake its lift. Traditional Jiffy Cake recipes call for water but I am going to use up the coffee left from our coffee break. I have also seen this recipe made with oil instead of melted butter. Use what you have.
Jiffy Chocolate Cake
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup brewed coffee (or water)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt in ungreased cake pan. Stir well to blend.
2. Make three holes in the flour mixture. Pour melted butter into one hole, vinegar in one hole and vanilla in another.
3. Pour coffee over top and mix well with a fork until smooth.
4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely.
Richmond Chocolate Frosting
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 x 1 ounce squares unsweetened chocolate
pinch of salt
1 cup boiling water
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. In a heavy saucepan mix sugar and cornstarch; add chocolate and salt.
2. Add boiling water and cook until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla.
3. Spread on cake while frosting is still hot.
4. Cut a large piece for yourself. Remember – chocolate cake is not just for breakfast!
Go ahead – stuff your cake hole!
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