This chocolate cake is nostalgic, fast, egg-free, and is perfect with your favorite frosting.
I’ve brought you some of my great-grandma’s recipes before, like her dressing (stuffing), and her red velvet cake. Those recipes came straight from my grandma (My Mimi). How I came across this chocolate cake one is a little bit of a funny (albeit kind of long story).
The short version is: I started serving on the board at the Tulsa Historical Society and Museum. It’s a great place that works to maintain our city’s history and stories. After chatting with Ian, who is in charge of the archives, we discovered that our families are both from an extremely small farm town in Southwestern Oklahoma. Ian’s grandma (who is still living) was best friends with my great-grandma and they were neighbors. Oklahoma gets smaller and smaller by the day, y’all. So from time to time, Ian will share things with me that he has found when he spends time with his grandma. Thus far, he has given me a Christmas card that was mailed to his grandma when she moved away, a newspaper article, and a couple recipes.
This chocolate cake is one of those recipes. And if you look closely at the recipe card, it lacks instructions. No clarity of what order these things go in, what to set the oven at, or how long to bake it. It was going to be an experiment! I asked Mimi about it and she said, “She made it at least a hundred times, you probably had it when you were small.” I asked, “How do you cook it?” She said, “You just bake it. It’s a small cake. Not 9×13.” …Okay. So, I used an 8×8 square pan, and figured 350 degrees is always a safe bet, and then I just kept my eye on it until it wasn’t jiggly in the center anymore.
I felt like melty buttercream went well on this chocolate cake, reminiscent of the icing often on a Texas Sheet Cake. I had some leftover in the freezer from Christmas, so I popped it in the microwave and poured it on. It was nice because it sealed in the moisture of the cake, and gave it a little more sweetness, since the cake itself isn’t overly sweet. Use your favorite icing though, I’m sure it would be tasty with nearly anything!
I loved this experiment – I hope you enjoy the result!
Poor Man’s Cake
- 1 C. granulated sugar
- 1/2 C. butter (1 stick) softened
- 1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 C. buttermilk
- 1/4 C. cocoa powder
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. vanilla
- favorite frosting or icing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar together.
- Combine all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
- Alternate incorporating the dry ingredients and buttermilk.
- Add in vanilla.
- Grease and flour 8x8 pan.
- Bake in a 8x8 square pan for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
- When cake is cooled, heat preferred frosting up until nearly pourable.
- Pour frosting over cake.