Thaddeus, my baby, turned four today. Up until yesterday, he wanted a giant cookie cake decorated with frosting that said “Happy Birthday Thaddeus!” I planned to use my gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, make some homemade “butter” cream frosting and dream about Great American Cookies’ cookie cakes from my pre-gf days. Yesterday, though, he changed to chocolate cake decorated with Dog Man.
Luckily, I have a one bowl chocolate cake recipe that is so easy there is no reason for boxed chocolate cake mix. It’s one that my mom made, my grandma made and I don’t know how many people before her. The original recipe used regular flour, so I substitute gluten free flour. It was already dairy free, nut-free and egg-free, so, as long as you’re careful with the toppings it is a handy dessert if you have those dietary restrictions.
Decorating the cake was another matter. If you’re not familiar with the Dog Man book series, here’s what Dog Man and his sidekick Cat Kid look like:
He only wanted the heads on his cake, so that made it a little easier. They have that deceptively simple look, though, so I was still nervous. The end result was recognizable, even with constant interruptions and my never having painted on frosting before. I really couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
Chocolate Cake Recipe
- 9 x 13 rectangle pan
- 3 Cups Flour see recipe summary for gluten-free adjustment
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups sugar
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoons vinegar white or apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup vegetable oil any light flavored liquid vegetable oil is fine
- 2 cups cold water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
- Grease the 9 x 13 inch pan, either with shortening, butter, or cooking spray
- Combine the first five (dry) ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix until evenly blended. Alternatively, sift them together into the bowl.
- Add the remaining (wet) ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. You can use a spoon or an electric mixer.
- Pour the batter into the greased 9 x 13 inch pan.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.