This cake recipe has been around all my life. I think my grandmother may have found it originally and she passed it on to everyone else. It's a chocolate cake recipe that's ready in a jiffy -- the name says it all -- and it can be mixed up in one bowl. It's number 25 of my collection of favorites recipes for this 25th day of November and Nablopomo.
I still remember the day way back in high school when I whipped up a jiffy cake while a friend watched from a tall stool across the kitchen counter. Her rarely-there mom wasn't much of a cook and so they'd been eating out of boxes and cans and restaurants all her life. I only spent the night at her house once in high school. Only once. Because that night she and I had the house to ourselves and we were jonesing for dessert and she thought there might be some ice cream in the chest freezer they kept out in the communal garage of their apartment building. That carton of ice cream had been in there so long it was hard as a rock and mostly crystallized, and what wasn't crystallized was gummy. I politely demured when she offered me a bowl then watched with a shudder as she ate a heaping helping.
Later when I asked her where she kept the bath towels, she looked in the linen closet (no clean towels), under the bathroom sink (still no clean towels), and then bent over and picked a slightly damp one up off the bathroom floor, sniffed it, and handed it to me.
And don't even get me started on the ONE time we went to her house to get something to eat on our school lunch break and she tried to serve me butter and sugar sandwiches on somewhat moldy Wonder bread.
That's no way to live.
Well, her eyes were wide as saucers as she saw that chocolate cake emerge from the oven.
"I can't believe you just put that together totally from scratch JUST LIKE THAT," she cried out. "It's like a miracle!"
I think she may have even clasped her hands over her heart. Oh yeah. It was a defining moment for me.
This recipe should really be scrawled in messy handwriting on the back of a receipt - that's what everyone's copy looks like in my family -- but I'll type it out for you here. As for a frosting recipe, I think we always just use the one on the back of the Hershey's chocolate baking powder container.
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
3 T cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1 c sugar
1/2 t salt
5 T vegetable oil
1 T vinegar
1 t vanilla
1 c cold water
Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl. Make a hole in the center. Pour in the remaining ingredients. Mix well. Pour into a greased square baking pan and bake in a 350 degree oven until it passes the toothpick test. I don't have a baking time noted. Just eyeball it and stab it with a toothpick when it's looking good and smelling even better.