All-in-the-Pan Chewy Chocolate Cake

Locale: US

Source: Regan Daley, In the Sweet Kitchen [p. 407]

Serves: 6-8


  • 1.5 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 tsp salt
  • 6 tbs vegetable oil (such as canola)
  • 1 tbs white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 c cool water


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Use an 8-inch or 9-inch square cake pan. (For 9x13 cake pan, double recipe.)

  2. Sift flour directly into pan. Add sugar, soda, salt, and cocoa, and stir to mix evenly.

  3. Make three depressions of various sizes, for the oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Pour water over dry ingredients. Mix by hand (OK if a few lumps, but don't overbeat.)

  4. Bake cake for 30 minutes (25 minutes for 9x9 pan; 35-40 minutes for 9x13 pan).


  1. Serve the cake in the pan. Recipe recommends a chocolate butter icing: 1/4 c unsalted butter (1/2 stick, at room temperature); 2 c confectioners sugar; 2-3 tbs milk or water; 1.5 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla. I used a black walnut butter icing: same but no cocoa; add 1 tsp black walnut flavor, optionally add 0.5 tsp maple flavor, and top with chopped black walnuts.

  2. First time I made this, I doubled recipe for 9x13 pan. I used half regular cocoa, half Hershey's special dark cocoa. Cake came out nicely raised and probe tested clean, but the middle of the cake -- everything from outer two inches -- fell badly when the cake cooled. Most likely it would hold up better if baked longer, but will have to experiment. I leveled the black walnut icing on flat, so the middle of the cake had more icing than cake. Still, the most moist, most delicious chocolate cake ever.

  3. Second time I made this, I used a 9-inch square pan, and again used half regular cocoa, half Hershey's special dark cocoa. Cake tested clean after 25 minutes and didn't fall. I made the chocolate icing using special dark cocoa, but didn't think it came out dark enough, so I doctored it up: melted 1 oz unsweetened Baker's chocolate in 1 tbs butter, and added it with about 1/4 extra powdered sugar and 1 tbs extra condensed milk. Seems like it should be possible to totally replace the cocoa with melted chocolate for an even darker icing.


  1. 2015-03-15: