Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Family Recipe File Crazy Chocolate Cake

(Update March 25, 2020: Who knew when I posted this in 2011 we would be going through a pandemic 9 years later! What's great about this recipe? You don't need eggs or milk, which can be hard to find right now! And we all need chocolate, right?)

This has to be the easiest chocolate cake to make—ever! As I was looking through my Mamaw’s recipe box to find another recipe to share with you, I came across this Crazy Chocolate Cake recipe. I remember making it growing up, so my mom must have the recipe too, though I don’t know if Mamaw gave the recipe to Mom or vice versa. This is one of the few times Mamaw didn't write where she got the recipe on the card.

What is great about this cake is you mix it together in the same pan in which you bake it. No mixer. No bowl. Just the baking dish and a fork. And no eggs or milk, either! The vinegar in the mix helps the cake rise. From what I’ve read, this recipe (and many others similar to it) was developed during the Great Depression as a cost-effective way to make a chocolate cake without expensive ingredients.

The cake is tasty without frosting—moist, rich and chocolaty. I just dust it with powdered sugar. But feel free to top it with your favorite frosting. Enjoy!

Author: Linda Ditch
Crazy Chocolate Cake

Crazy Chocolate Cake

A Great Depression-era cake made without eggs and milk, mixed and baked in one pan.


  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift the dry ingredients into a 12 x 7 1/2 x 2-inch baking pan.
  2. Mix together and make 3 indentations in the dry ingredients. Into one hole, put vanilla, into another put vinegar, and into third put cooking oil. Pour water over all and mix batter well with a fork.
  3. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the center springs back to the touch. After cooling, dust the top with powdered sugar. (optional.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Black Pepper Chicken

We are living in strange times, aren’t we?

Like many of you, I’m spending the majority of my time in my home, with a few breaks for walks outside to lift my spirits. My hands are chapped from washing them so many times during the day (any lotion suggestions?). I’m also becoming pretty adept at using Zoom, plus I’m setting up FaceTime coffee chats and outdoors walking times with friends to keep my sanity!

We have adjustments to make, but we’ve got this!

While we may have more time to spend in the kitchen, it doesn’t necessarily mean we want to! Here’s an easy, healthy dish to add some zip to your meal. This is a take on the Panda Express version. I saw the original recipe on   The Kitchn website here, but I made some adjustments to match what I had on hand. 

Remember: Seek joy, cherish love, stay curious, and eat tasty food!

And stay safe!

Black Pepper Chicken

Serves 4

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 green onions, white and part of green portion cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Brown rice, for serving

To make the sauce, whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, pepper, and cornstarch. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, and then the chicken. Sauté until the chicken is nicely browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet onto a plate and set aside.

Add the celery to the skillet and cook until it starts to go tender. Then add the green onions and minced garlic, sautéing only about 30 seconds. Add the chicken back to the skillet along with the sauce. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the sauce thickens—about 5 minutes.

Serve over brown rice.