This is really good, and it makes about half as much cake as most recipes. This fits nicely in a 9x9 square baking pan, and rises impressively; the batter was about 3/4 of an inch deep and swelled to over three inches in the middle.
I have made this cake before and omitted the frosting. It's also good eaten plain or with a dusting of powered sugar. Like most chocolate cakes, it is better the day after it's made, and best kept covered in the refrigerator.
A couple notes: this recipe contains olive oil and water instead of butter and milk. I think it makes the texture a bit lighter. Most people will probably prefer light-tasting olive oil, but I have also made it with EVOO and it was fine.
Note also that the leavening action comes from the combination of baking soda and vinegar. Don't omit either or the cake won't rise. I also recommend beating by hand; I think using a machine would overdo it.
Olive oil chocolate cake
1 1/2 c flour, lightly stirred or sifted before measuring.
1 c granulated sugar
1/4 c cocoa powder (plain old Hershey's)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 pinches cinnamon
1 c cold water
1/3 c light-tasting olive oil
1 tsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the liquids, the vanilla and the egg. Whisk until combined. Let sit for a couple of minutes. Whisk again until smooth. The batter will be thin and not taste very sweet.
Pour into 9x9 ungreased baking pan (I used Pyrex) and bake for 30-35 minutes until a chopstick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely.
1/4 cup whipping (heavy) cream
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips)
3 Tbs butter (if using unsalted, add a pinch of salt)
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
Put all ingredients into a saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until the chocolate is melty. Remove from heat and whisk until well combined. This is a basic soft ganache. As the mixture cools it will become stiffer, so whisk every five minutes. It will become less shiny and somewhat fluffy and more frosting-like. When the cake is well cooled and the frosting is spreadable, pile it on top of the cake, cover with foil and refrigerate. Better the next day, if you can wait that long.