One Bowl Chocolate Cake
Every week, we’re unearthing Heirloom Recipes — dishes that have made their way from one generation’s kitchen to the next.
The pages that comprise my mother’s scrapbook cooking journal are worn and splattered — they tell the story of a keen, self-taught cook. ??Skipping into the kitchen as children and seeing mum’s book open on the bench, we knew we were in for a treat. This book is filled with recipes from friends — Mrs. Beashel’s banana cake, Aunty Sue’s Cornish yeast buns, and a local chef’s porcini risotto — and clippings from magazines. Then there are those well-leafed-through pages and bookmarked family favorites, which mum revisited again and again to feed us. The page with the recipe for One Bowl Chocolate Cake opens with familiar ease.
This cake sparked my childhood baking initiatives. It is a simple, efficient, and terribly forgiving recipe; it’s perfect for a hungry little girl fighting her brothers and father for the chance to lick the bowl and beaters. I was never quite capable of getting every drop into the cake pan, so I always left a rather generous amount of rich mixture in the mixing bowl. (My love of baking may very well have arisen out of a desire to have the leftover batter all to myself.)
Regardless, this is a favorite recipe that has been passed down in our family. Because of its simplicity (one bowl, one mixer, one cake pan, voilà), I could make it all by myself from a young age. And it would always work fabulously, no matter how soft the butter was or how much mixture I ate along the way. On reflection, this surely instilled an inflated sense of skill, but perhaps that’s the key to kitchen success — fearless passion and an eagerness to taste as you go.