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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Perfect Chocolate Frosting + One Pan Chocolate Cake

Today is all about chocolate.

PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

When we were on Cape Cod a few weeks ago, my mother-in-law Pat made a chocolate cake, complete with homemade frosting that was TO DIE FOR. When it comes to cake, I generally like the cake more than the frosting. Not in this case. In this case the frosting, well, takes the cake. (Sorry! Couldn’t resist that one.)

PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

And, if you’re looking for something to put that perfect chocolate frosting on, let me introduce you to the one pan chocolate cake. This recipe comes from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food and was originally called “dump cake,” since you just dump everything in the pan and then bake. The cake turned out beautifully.

one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

There’s only one drawback to the cake recipe: since you mix the ingredients directly in the pan, you can’t butter and flour the pan ahead of time. This means you’ll be serving the cake directly from the pan. Plus, you kind of have to scrape the servings out with a spatula to keep them in one piece, and the first slice of cake will be a bit tricky to get out of the pan. Because of this, the one pan cake may not be the best choice for serving guests or for special occasions. Or maybe it is. You decide. All I know is that this cake recipe is easy and delicious, and maybe that’s all that matters in the end.

PERFECT chocolate frosting with one pan chocolate cake from @janemaynard

Perfect Chocolate Frosting
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Total time
Recipe from my mother-in-law Pat, adapted from the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder container
Recipe type: Dessert
  • ½ cup butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2½ - 2¾ cups powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup milk
  1. Melt the butter in a large bowl in the microwave, in 20 second increments until butter is just melted.
  2. Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla extract.
  3. Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to the bowl. Using a hand mixer, start on low and beat in the powdered sugar, increasing the speed to medium and mixing well. Add half of the milk, following the same blending technique. Add 1 more cup of the powdered sugar, mixing as described, then the rest of the milk, mixing once again starting on low and increasing to medium speed.
  4. Add ½ cup of powdered sugar (this brings you to 2½ cups) and blend well, starting on low then moving up to medium speed. If you want the frosting to be a little thicker, add up to ¼ cup more of powdered sugar.
  5. Makes enough frosting for a 9" x 13" cake.

One Pan Chocolate Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Originally from a 2009 issue of Everyday Food, written in my own words
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In an 8-inch square casserole dish or baking pan (I like to use a pyrex casserole so I can see if the batter is full mixed), whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Make a well in the middle, then add the vegetable oil, vanilla, vinegar and water in the center. Whisk those ingredients together, then start to incorporate the dry ingredients, whisking until well combined.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a fork or toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool completely before frosting. If you use the chocolate frosting recipe above, you will have some frosting left over.



  1. I just love recipes like this. It reminds me of a cake my mom makes, except there’s never a frosting attached to it. I want to try this!

  2. 2

    Could you just mix the cake in a bowl and then transfer it to the pan after you’ve greased it? I know that defeats the purpose of the one pan aspect, but it solves the “sticky” problem. 😉

  3. 3

    Thank you for the wonderful recipe! I made this cake today and it was very good! I miixed the ingredients in a bowl because I was taking it to my mom’s for dessert and wanted to make sure it came out of the pan easily. I will definitely make this again.

  4. The frosting was delicious! When I saw the recipe, I knew I couldn’t just make frosting, so I made a chocolate zucchini cake to go with it 😉

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