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