King Arthur Flour's Original Cake-Pan Cake

star rating (163) rate this recipe »
dairy free, quick-n-easy
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: about 16 servings

Recipe photo

This World War II vintage cake — it's egg- and dairy-free, reflecting the rationing of those times — is dark, moist, and delicious, despite being only about 138 calories per serving. Over the years, this has been one of King Arthur Flour's most requested recipes. And, even though the "stir it all together in the pan" method is traditional, go ahead and stir everything together in a bowl, if that feels more comfortable.

King Arthur Flour's Original Cake-Pan Cake

star rating (163) rate this recipe »
dairy free, quick-n-easy
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: about 16 servings
Published: 02/11/2015


Tips from our bakers

  • While the original, non-dairy version of this recipe calls for water as the liquid, feel free to substitute milk, for a slightly richer cake. Or try cold coffee, for a mocha version; or even 3/4 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup rum, for an "adults only" cake!
  • Baking gluten-free? Try our recipe for Gluten-Free Cake-Pan Cake.


see this recipe's blog »

1) Preheat your oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8" square or 9" round pan that's at least 2" deep. If you don't have a 2"-deep pan in either of those sizes, use a 9" square pan.

2) Traditional method: Measure all the dry ingredients into the prepared pan. Blend the ingredients together thoroughly with a fork or whisk and scoop out three holes, or indentations. Pour the vanilla into the first hole, the vinegar into the second, and the vegetable oil into the third. Take the cup of water and pour it directly over everything in the pan. Stir all the ingredients together with your fork until well blended.

3) Updated method: Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the vanilla, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water in a separate bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4) Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

5) Serve the cake right from the pan; warm from the oven, it's wonderful with a big glass of milk.

6) Or, once cool, frost the cake with this simple chocolate frosting: Heat 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/2 cup half & half until the chips melt. Stir until smooth, and pour/spread over the cake.

Yield: about 16 servings.


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  • star rating 04/09/2015
  • Galia from Longview, Texaa
  • Disappointed, followed the directions carefully. There was very little flavor not at all chocolate enough, with a rather gummy crumb. If I spend time baking chocolate cake I want it to be delicious. This recipe was very easy, but I had rather have a great cake.

    Galia, to boost the flavor of this cake and make it hopefully easy AND amazingly delicious, be sure to use the espresso powder which brings out the flavor of the chocolate. Also, the type of cocoa powder you use can make a big difference. Try using our Bensdorp Dutch-processed cocoa--with its high fat-content, the chocolate flavor really shines through. Gummy crumb? Your cake may have been under-mixed or under-baked. With any cake recipe, you can test for doneness using a kitchen thermometer, which should read 200-210 degrees when it has finished baking. We hope you find the chocolate cake recipe you've been dreaming of! Kye@KAF

  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • Margo from IL
  • This cake so easy and good, I have been trying to find this recipe as my mom used to make it years ago. She was a working Mom and did not have time to bake so this was her standard quick dessert.
  • star rating 04/04/2015
  • sbrichcreek from Indiana
  • Excellent vegan cake! And the oil can be completely replaced with applesauce or finely grated apple with no compromise of texture. THANKS!
  • star rating 04/04/2015
  • Peggy from Sandhills, NC
  • My go to chocolate cake recipe. Why would you EVER use a box mix again. This is far simpler to make and delicious to boot. I have reduced the sugar by 1/8 of a cup with excellent results. It is the official Family Birthday cake.
  • star rating 03/12/2015
  • Cordelia from New Orleans
  • This is the only chocolate cake you need. Amazing. Thanks, KAF!
  • star rating 03/11/2015
  • GDad from KAF Community
  • Very good and easy to make recipe, although my wife said she'd like more of a chocolate flavor and sugar next time. Thanks KAF for another winner
  • star rating 03/08/2015
  • Linda from Flagstaff AZ
  • I tried this recipe because my grandson is allergic to eggs and dairy. This is a wonderful cake. Its moist and yummy! We all loved it. I have been using a chocolate cupcake recipe for his cakes, but now I will be able to make him a real birthday cake with this recipe instead of cupcakes!
  • star rating 02/10/2015
  • AJ from Lake Hiawatha, NJ
  • This recipe was easy to make with my son. He stirred in a half cup of chocolate chips for a surprise. The surprise was enjoyed by all.
  • star rating 02/06/2015
  • Meghan from Rochester, NH
  • Delicious and easy for a cold day, after school treat! We used the frosting recipe as well; pretty basic and does the job! We will definitely make this again.
  • star rating 02/02/2015
  • Leona from KAF Community
  • Very tasty and moist. Had fun making it with my 9 year old grandson on a snowy Ground Hog Day! Was a little messy stirring it in the pan. Love that it is an old recipe.
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