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Busy-Day Dump Cake


This chocolate cake recipe from Lucinda Scala Quinn's "Mad Hungry" cookbook involves minimal cleanup -- the ingredients are blended in the very pan that goes into the oven.

  • Servings: 8

Source: Everyday Food, November 2009


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup cold water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, and coarse salt.

  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add vegetable oil, pure vanilla extract, white vinegar, and cold water. Whisk until well combined. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.


To make this recipe as prepared on "Mad Hungry" TV, top your chocolate cake with this Simple Buttercream frosting.

Reviews Add a comment

  • MS10207203
    8 MAY, 2017
    One of the easiest and tastiest cakes. My family just love it. It is very moist and many people would have all the ingredients in their pantry. I make it quite frequently especially when company is coming. It's a keeper that is for sure.
  • kdickhudt
    29 MAR, 2017
    I really like this cake. I've made it twice and everyone loves it - it's very moist but also light. First time I made it I dusted it with powdered sugar, second time I didn't use any topping - just cut it up into little squares. You'll want to let it cool otherwise it will fall apart when you try to cut it. Last time I made it I had to use extra virgin olive oil (ran out of canola oil) and I think it added a very nice fruity flavor - I recommend trying it!
  • gotta_jet_numb1
    27 JAN, 2017
    This was the first cake I've ever made and it was great! I made some modifications to the recipe. 1/4 cup of cocoa powder instead of 3 tbsps. 1 cup of cold instant coffee instead of 1 cup of cold water. Baking time was reduce to 25 to 30 mins instead of 35 to 40 mins. I started to check the cake at 25 mins and if it was still gooey, I baked it for one min each until the toothpick came out clear. To prevent the cake from sticking, I oiled, parchment lined and oiled again the pan.
  • juliemperry67g
    15 SEP, 2016
    This was awful. Ate you sure 1 tablespoon white vinegar? The end product tasted vinegary.
  • susanatgilbertaz
    24 AUG, 2016
    I wonder why the author of the Mad Hungry cookbook called this Busy Day Dump Cake? I hope she wrote in her cookbook that this recipe is not an original from her. It is the EXACT same ingredients as WACKY CAKE. I am 70 years old and my grandmother made this cake when I was very young. This recipe showed up shortly after WWII and was thought to be concocted because of rationing. At that time, eggs, butter and milk were scarce.
  • MS11032757
    24 AUG, 2016
    This is the perfect size cake for 2 people and I have been making it since I was a kid (50 yrs or so). For a change-up, I sometimes use a flavored oil like blood orange or raspberry and I always use leftover coffee in place of water in chocolate cakes. It doesn't taste like coffee just a very deep chocolate. This cake stays moist for days and is a favorite around here. Plus NO CLEANUP. Always a plus. If you don't want to make icing, it is also wonderful with powdered sugar.
  • Rhody
    9 JUL, 2015
    Lucinda: Love this and make it all the time for cupcakes with ganache frosting, or I remove a "hat" and fill the recess with unsweetened whipped cream and replace the hat and powder w/ 10X sugar. Question: Regarding the science, can I replace the cocoa with an equal amount of flour to make yellow cake or is the cocoa part of the reaction required for leavening? Thanks!
  • rebecca_v
    18 MAR, 2015
    Excellent. I've done this three different ways: first, according to the recipe; second, with one egg added; and third, with chocolate chips and brown sugar. The third cake was the best. I used 2 tbs cocoa powder and added about 1/4 c melted semi-sweet chocolate baking chips. I also used 3/4 granulated white and 1/4 light brown (I ran out!) sugar. It's delicious! Very rich. I made ganache and poured it over the top.
  • MS10654663
    2 MAR, 2015
    Was looking for a quick and good chocolate cake recipe and I found it. This is so easy (under 30 min. prep.) . It is a very simple cake but great when you need something fast and it tastes good too.
  • Heymon
    26 DEC, 2014
    Can this recipe be doubled? I've made it before with fantastic results. No icing needed!