A Tasty Parve Chocolate Cake is Not an Oxymoron

Every so often, the staff where I work get together separately and bake for the benefit of the staff where I work. One of our group is a vegan by choice, and another can't digest protein (for medical reasons). Like a good Jewish mother, I felt the need to make a cake that 1) both could eat and 2) so would everyone else. A parve cake wouldn't be enough. It would have to be egg-less as well.

So I surfed the intertubes, and came across dairy-free egg-free chocolate cake recipes. I actually found several. They were all pretty similar, with slight variations of ingredients amounts, and all had very unglamorous names such as Wacky, Crazy or Depression Cake. But all the reviews raved about them. And the best part: stir and bake in the same pan! No mixer needed! Woo-hoo! Sign me up, George!

This version is mostly based on the chocolate cake recipe by Michele Urvater.

Parve, No-Egg, No Mixer Needed Chocolate Cake
Yield: one 8-inch square cake, or 8 to 12 servings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. instant coffee powder (optional, but this little bit enhances the chocolate)
1 cup water
Optional -- powdered sugar

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt directly into the baking pan, then add the sugar. With your finger, poke 1 small hole and 1 large one in the dry ingredients. Into the small hole pour the vanilla, and into the larger one the oil.

Mix the coffee, if using, with the water, then whisk the mixture into the batter. Add vinegar and continue stirring, reaching into the corners until you can’t see any more flour and the batter looks fairly well homogenized.

Immediately pop the pan onto the center rack in the oven, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is springy and a tester inserted in the center comes out dry.

Place the pan on a cooling rack.  Let cool completely. 

If desired, dust with powdered sugar. Cut and serve from the pan.

Keep at room temperature, wrapped airtight, for up to 3 days; refrigerate after that.


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