3 tablespoonscanola oil or other neutral flavored vegetable oil
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
Frosting of your choice, or confectioner's sugar to dust
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Use nonstick cooking spray or shortening to grease an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour this dry mixture into the greased pan. Spread it into an even-ish layer.
Use the handle of a wooden spoon (or your finger!) to make three holes in the dry mixture - one of the holes should be a little larger than the other two.
Pour the canola oil into the larger hole. Pour the vinegar into one of the smaller holes, and finally pour the vanilla extract into the last hole.
Pour the cup of water over the whole thing and whisk everything together, mixing the dry ingredients with the wet until the cake batter is smooth. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to check the corners of the pan - sometimes pockets of dry ingredients will be hanging out there, and you'll want to stir these in. A few lumps in the batter is totally fine.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Place the pan on a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
Once the cake is cool you can frost it with the frosting of your choice. Or you can dust the top with confectioner's sugar. Slice the cake and serve - with a glass of cold milk! Topping slices with a dollop of whipped cream is also very good.
You can store this cake wrapped at room temperature or in the fridge for up to three days. It does taste very good chilled, so storing it in the fridge is my favorite.
To add some extra flavor or extra chocolate to this cake, stir in ⅔ cup of chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips.
Whisk or sift the dry ingredients well before adding them to the pan, to be sure the baking soda and salt are evenly distributed.
If the top of the baked cake is uneven, don't stress over it: just spread some extra frosting into the uneven areas!
When mixing the wet and dry ingredients together don't forget to check the corners of the pan for pockets of flour that need to be mixed in.
Use your favorite frosting on this cake, anything that goes with chocolate. (Which is just about everything!) A dusting of confectioner's sugar also works on this cake, as would a dollop of fresh whipped cream.