First off, I will admit, I have never been a cake person. For the first 20 years of my life (I'm 26 now), I rarely touched my birthday cake. I'm not sure if my palate didn't like boxed/store-bought cakes or what, but only when I started baking them myself did I begin to take a liking to the moist airy treat. Also, I am an omnivore, with a lot of vegetarian and vegan friends, so imagine my excitement when I perfected the best chocolate cake I have ever tasted, AND made it vegan in the process. Don't believe me? Bake it! You can thank me later. :)
Step 1: Ingredients
1 1/4 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp distilled white or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp soy milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
Note: if you don't care to make it vegan, or don't have soy milk or margarine, you can use butter in place of the margarine, and whatever milk you prefer in place of the soy.
Step 2: Mix
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In an 8X8 square pan/dish, mix together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt with a fork, making sure it is really blended together. Add the water, vanilla, oil, and vinegar, and again, mix together so that it's really blended together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides if necessary.
Step 3: Bake!
Place in oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely (2 hours).
Step 4: Make Chocolate Glaze
For the glaze, in a small saucepan, bring sugar, margarine, milk, and cocoa to a boil. Stir frequently; then reduce heat to a simmer for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. It'll look gloppy, but it's just the bubbles! Remove from heat and stir for another 5 minutes.
Add vanilla, stir, and immediately pour onto cake. Glaze dries really quickly, so spread it immediately and add any sprinkles now. Let this cool for an 1 hour, if you can wait that long!
Step 5: Decorate If You Like
Purely optional, but chocolate cake always looks so...plain, so add some sprinkles if you like.