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Jul 15, 2006 01:21 AM

Cheap and easy birthday cake

Want to make a b-day cake for my friend and coworker, but I don't have much time, money or equipment.

I have bowls, pans, spoons and measuring cups; but no ingredients, so I have to buy everything.

The cake will laso have to travel in the car for about 30 minutes, so nothing that melts, deflates, or falls apart, please.

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  1. A bundt cake is easy, won't deflate or fall apart. And you don't even have to ice it...just sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. If you don't mind a "cheater" recipe -- meaning not entirely from scratch, but using some mixes, here's one that's quite yummy...will be fast, cheap and easy. :)

    1 chocolate cake mix
    1 sm. chocolate instant pudding mix
    4 eggs
    1/2 c. Wesson oil
    1/2 c. warm water
    1 1/2 c. sour cream
    6 oz. chocolate chips (1/2 of 12 oz. pkg.)
    1/2 c. sliced almonds (or other nut of choice...or omit)

    Mix the first 6 ingredients with electric mixer. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into greased bundt pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45-55 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack.

    1. This is the easiest and tastiest quickie cake I know. It was invented by friend who doesn't cook and it's always a hit! (She's even been known to frost this in the passenger seat of the car...)


      Buy an angel food cake from your local grocery store. Buy 1 container of frozen strawberries, and 1 container of Cool Whip.

      Thaw the strawberries, mix them in with the Cool Whip, then frost the cake with it.

      This is light and surprisingly fresh tasting! I've had it twice and been amazed how tasty it is...and this from someone who always cooks from scratch.

      Good luck! :)

      1. you can buy a frozen Sara Lee pound cake and "frost" split layers and top with chopped chocolate, honey, and a touch of nutmeg /cinnamon mixed into fresh ricotta. If you baste the cake layers first with a bit of any flavor liqueur it adds flavor. Moist yet substantial and not fragile.

        1. If this isn't the easiest, sturdiest and most bombproof chocolate cake, I don't know what is. You don't even need an egg or milk or anything. I swear, it's delicious. You can leave it in the baking pan until you get it to the destination, then remove to a plate, dust heavily with icing sugar and squirt with a spray-bomb of whipped cream (a few fresh berries or flowers are a nice touch). Seriously - you will thank me for this recipe.

          Stupidly easy chocolate cake
          1-1/2 cups flour
          1 cup sugar
          1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
          1 tsp. baking soda
          1 tsp. vinegar
          1 tsp. vanilla extract
          1/3 cup vegetable oil
          1 cup water

          In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda until well mixed. All at once add the vinegar, vanilla, oil, and water. Stir well, then dump the batter into a well-greased 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Bake at 350o F (180o C) for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean.

          Let cool completely before frosting or sprinkle with icing sugar and decorate with a few fresh flowers.

          7 Replies
          1. re: Nyleve

            thanks, that's pretty much what i was looking for
            the others sound mighty tasty too, but i'm trying to avoid cake mixes

            1. re: Nyleve

              That sounds yummy...I'm definitely going to have to try it. BTW do you have a good chocolate frosting recipe to go with this?

              1. re: Nyleve

                Hey Nyleve, this recipe is incredibly similar to my "go to" chocolate cake recipe. The one I use is basically double your recipe (to make a layer cake). And mine uses melted chocolate instead of cocoa. It makes the moistest, most wonderful chocolate cake. I find it's actually better on day two. And it's even vegan to boot.

                Easy Chocolate Layer Cake

                8 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
                3 c. flour
                1 1⁄2 c. sugar
                2 t baking soda
                1 t. salt
                2 c. water
                2/3 c. vegetable oil
                2 T. white vinegar
                2 t. vanilla extract

                Melt chocolate in microwave, stirring once or twice during heating. Cool slightly. Grease and flour two 9” round baking pans (be sure to grease the pans very well – the cake is so moist that it can be difficult to turn out). Stir together dry ingredients. Add melted chocolate and remaining ingredients. Beat on medium speed until thoroughly blended. Pour into pans. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely. Frost with whipped chocolate frosting or as desired.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  I don't claim to have invented it. That recipe is usually called something like "Wacky Cake" or some other stupid name because it doesn't have an egg in it and some people make it in a funny way - 3 holes in the dry ingredients, etc. Anyway it really is a great recipe and so brilliantly easy that I use it all the time. I like your idea of using melted chocolate. Next time...

                  1. re: Nyleve

                    Sometimes (heck, most of the time) simple is best! Gotta love it. I actually think my recipe came from the back of a box somewhere, once upon a time. I've been making it for so long, I don't remember anymore.

                    1. re: Nyleve

                      Yeah, when I discovered this recipe when I was I was in high school (and already a practiced baker) in some homespun, neighborhood cookbook someone had given my mother as a gift, it was called "whacky cake," and when my mother and some friends came home and tasted it, they couldn't believe that it tasted so chocolaty and good without eggs or baking chocolate. To me, the beauty of it - aside from its utter simplicity and its being vegan, in case that's an issue - has always been that because it takes no eggs or dairy or eggs, you will always be able to make it, because you'll always have the ingredients in your pantry, even if you don't have anything in your fridge.

                2. I'm going to give you two to choose from. They're both easy. I will admit that I like the sour cream one better - it's very smooth and I like the slight tang you get with the sour cream. The regular frosting is good - but bear in mind it's a quickie. At least as good as anything you can buy, that's for sure.

                  Creamy Chocolate Frosting
                  1 cup butter, softened
                  1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
                  1/2 tsp. vanilla
                  2 cups icing sugar
                  1 tbsp. milk (only if necessary)

                  In a large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer, until creamy. Add all the rest of the ingredients (except the milk), and beat on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Add the milk, one molecule at a time, only if the frosting is too stiff. Remember - you can always add more milk if you need it, but you can’t take it away if you’ve added too much.

                  Makes about 3 cups - enough to fill and frost a two-layer, 8 or 9-inch round cake. Or, more than enough to thickly frost a rectangular 9 x 13-inch cake.

                  Fudgy Sour Cream Frosting
                  2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
                  1-1/2 cups sour cream
                  1 tsp. vanilla

                  In a double boiler, or in a saucepan set over a pan of hot (not boiling) water, melt the chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

                  Add the sour cream and the vanilla and beat, with an electric mixer on medium speed, until smooth and creamy. Let cool just slightly - until the frosting begins to thicken. But don’t wait too long because it will quickly thicken beyond spreadability. Spread frosting evenly over cake or brownies, then chill until set.

                  Makes enough to fill and frost one 9-inch two-layer cake, or a couple of pans of brownies.