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Quick and easy chocolate dump cake recipe

Chocolate dump cake topped with powdered sugar.

The International House of Rhode Island welcomes visitors from all around the world: students, business people, and tourists. They offer language classes, housing resources, and events designed to foster international understanding and friendship. Could they do that without food? Of course not! Every week people come together for potluck lunches, and every month the House hosts dinners based on the cuisine of a different part of the world. I interviewed some of the volunteers and staff at The International House five years ago, and they gave me a copy of their cookbook. Titled Pragerway, the book honors Irving and Ruth Prager, the kind of dedicated long-time volunteers every nonprofit dreams about. This chocolate dump cake is Irving Prager's recipe. It's a true dump: everything goes into the bowl, gets a rapid stir, into the pan, and bake. No sifting, no creaming, no separating. No KitchenAid.


Quick and easy chocolate dump cake

From the pantry, you'll need: granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, table salt, pure vanilla extract, canola oil, distilled vinegar, baking spray, confectioners sugar.

Slightly adapted from Pragerway, this recipe makes one 8x8-inch cake, 12 servings.


Baking spray
1 cup granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch processed, because that's what I had)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1-2 tsp confectioners sugar


Preheat oven to 375°F, with a rack set at the upper middle level. Make sure the oven is fully preheated before you begin to mix the ingredients, as you have to work quickly once you get started.

Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with baking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla extract, oil, and 1 cup of cold water. Blend well. The batter will seem a bit thick.

Then, add the vinegar. Stir quickly! Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and put it into the oven immediately. Don't dawdle; a chemical reaction happens with the vinegar and baking soda, and it needs heat to work its magic. Get the pan into the oven as fast as you can.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cake is slightly puffed in the middle. Remove the pan to a cooling rack, and let sit for at least 5-10 minutes. Use a fine strainer to sift confectioners sugar over the top. Serve as is, or with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla frozen yogurt.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Chocolate refrigerator cake
Espresso chocolate custard cups
Chocolate double ginger cupcakes
Wacky cake and Poor Man's Cake
Mexican chocolate "diablo" cupcakes

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Best cocoa brownies, from Smitten Kitchen
Oreo truffles dusted in cocoa powder, from The Food Addicts
Flourless chocolate cake, from Gluten-Free Goddess
Chili chocolate cake, from Jane Spice
Chocolate layer cake, from Over the Hill and On a Roll

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Now, here you are baking again! I don't believe that story about no baking gene. There is indeed a cake for every baker!

Love this, Lydia!!! I could easily make it gluten free and it's a fantastic recipe for those who are egg free! :-)

Thanks so much and happy Sunday. :-)

This kind of sounds like the one off the old Hershey Package that was so so good. Can't wait ti try.

This cake looks like the perfect accompaniment to a nice hot cup of tea! Love the plate!

TW, this is technically baking, but really, it's more like mixing!

Shirley, if you do adapt this for gluten-free, please come back and leave us some instructions in the comments so other GF bakers can enjoy.

Rhonda, if this is a back-of-the-box recipe, I'd love to know the origin of it.

Maris, it was the perfect accompaniment to everything I washed it down with!

OMG!! I have all those ingredients on hand and the oven is set to 375 degrees as I type!

Hey Lydia! I made this cake gluten free and it's wonderful! :-) Here's my post: http://glutenfreeeasily.com/simple-and-good-chocolate-cake-gluten-free-dairy-free-refined-sugar-free-vegan/ Thanks so much for sharing this one. I love the ease of making this cake and it was quite easy to adapt for my readers who are often looking for recipes that fit their multiple special needs. Thanks again!


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