I have a good one for you today. A homemade cake that is absolutely perfect for the busy days when the last thing you want is to deal with a long list of ingredients and a sink full of bowls (and the first thing you want is chocolate cake). This cake batter is mixed in the pan. What a concept! I was skeptical, but oh my...this cake is good.

The cake itself is super moist and fluffy, undoubtedly homemade, and it's just as easy to make as its boxed counterpart. You've done it again, Martha Stewart. Seriously, I was slightly disturbed by the size of the piece I just ate. The seven-minute icing is a classic recipe that goes back decades (or so I'm told). I'm living back with my parents for the next month before I make my way up to DC. This basically means I'm baking up a storm before I get cut off and thrown into the real world. I'm ok with paying for my housing, transportation, etc., but I am incredibly worried about paying for my own groceries. I've been watching extreme couponing to prepare myself. How does this all relate to this wonderful, simple cake? It's dirt cheap and you probably already have everything on hand! This will be a new dessert staple.


Busy Day Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Dinners for Winners (adapted from martha stewart)
  • 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.

** DO NOT LEAVE THIS OUT! It does not affect the taste, and it is essential to the recipe.

Seven-Minute Frosting

Adapted 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.


Rachael {all things beautiful} said... @ May 22, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Yum! These look delish! And like you said, easy which is right up my alley. I will have to give these a try.


Sarah said... @ May 22, 2012 at 11:27 PM

And somehow the easiest recipes always go over the best! My family and boyfriend were all swooning over this one. Hope you enjoy!

Jen @ The Scrumptious Pumpkin said... @ May 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM

This is perfect - quick, simple, and looks like it took hours! :) I am really craving chocolate now... :)

Kirbubby69 said... @ May 28, 2012 at 10:12 PM

I made this and it was alright, but didn't taste very chocolatey! I used the 1/4 cup you have listed (used hershey's dark)but mine turned out nowhere near as dark as the cake in your picture.

Sarah said... @ May 28, 2012 at 10:59 PM

What a bummer! My guess would be that because you used Hershey's Dark it changed the taste and texture (natural unsweetened vs. dutch process cocoa powder). The color thing is beyond me. You'd think Special Dark would always turn out darker, but chemical reactions in baking are odd like that sometimes! Here's a good article for using natural vs. dutch-process cocoa powder in recipes: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/02/cocoa-powder-faq-dutch-process-v/

Sarah said... @ May 28, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Thanks, Jen! It is dangerously quick and easy. Hard to resist when a chocolate craving hits!

Ellen B Cookery said... @ June 5, 2012 at 10:41 AM

I love these recipes! Looks like you slaved in your kitchen for hours, yet so quick to make using pantry staple ingredients. Amazing!

Tracy said... @ June 9, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Sarah...not sure if I ever commented before but I've been "stalking" your blog for a while...not even sure how I found you but I'm so glad i did! I made this cake today and OMGoodness it is awesome...that icing is delicious!! Keep up the good work! And congrats on your graduation.

Sarah said... @ June 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Thanks, Tracy! I stalk enough blogs myself that it makes me happy it goes both ways sometimes! I'm so glad you loved this cake. I was pretty obsessed with it, too...which was unfortunate because I ate a ridiculous amount. What can you do? And thanks for the congratulations! Hopefully I can keep up all my blogging once I enter the real world!

Sarah said... @ June 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM

That's what I love about it! I hope you get the chance to try it out yourself. It's wonderful!

Agus said... @ July 16, 2012 at 8:54 PM

The frosting sound so good and easy!! trying this on my next cake (:

Anonymous said... @ April 3, 2015 at 3:25 PM

I have a question. How is this cake stored? I tried 7 minute frosting on a coconut cake and it fell horribly when I put it in the fridge overnight. I vowed not to try it again. I need to prepare it the day before. Is this an option?

Anonymous said... @ April 24, 2015 at 10:06 AM

to anonymous---in response to your comment on the 7 minute frosting - try using cream of tartar (spice isle) this helps stabilize your whites and you will be able to store that frosting for one week to.... its 1\8 tspn for every egg white- add it when your whites become foamy then add your sugar content when the whites are starting to form small peaks ,go from a low mix slowly right up to high at the end it will work every time,promise.oh make sure your eggs are room temp.

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bakemeacake57 said... @ September 11, 2023 at 1:42 PM

I had no white vinegar so substituted apple cider vinegar. just popped it in the oven, so we shall see! Fingers crossed it made no difference

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