One Egg Chocolate Cake

piece of cake on plate

I’m always intrigued by old cake recipes that have titles which emphasize the use, or non-use, of a specific ingredient. For example, I recently came across a recipe for One Egg Chocolate Cake. Why was the number of eggs stated in the title? Were eggs really expensive back then? . . . or maybe the recipe was aimed at families that raised chickens, and the chickens didn’t lay many eggs during the winter so cooks were looking for recipes that used few eggs. . . or. . . ?

This recipe made a  9-inch square cake, and was very tasty. I never missed any reduction in eggs.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for One Egg Chocolate Cake
Source: Cement City Cook Book (1922) Compiled by First Baptist Church, Alphena, Michigan

I followed the recipe directions and grated the chocolate, then melted it by adding a little hot water and stirring. I was surprised how well this process melted the chocolate  – though think that the baking chocolate probably could be melted in the microwave to avoid the extra effort of grating the chocolate.

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

One Egg Chocolate Cake

  • Servings: 10 - 12
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup  butter, softened

1/2 cup grated baking chocolate (about ounces of chocolate)

2 tablespoons hot water

approximately 3/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice (I used vinegar.)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Put the grated baking chocolate  in a measuring cup, then add hot water and stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in vinegar and enough milk to make 1 cup.  Set aside for at least 2 minutes.

Put sugar and egg yolk in a mixing bowl, stir to combine. Add butter, milk and chocolate mixture, baking soda, vanilla, and flour; beat until smooth. Put in a greased and floured 9-inch square pan. Bake until a wooden pick comes out clean (approximately 35 minutes). Frost if desired

10 thoughts on “One Egg Chocolate Cake

  1. I have my Vermont grandmother’s recipe for vanilla “One-Egg Cupcakes” which I make from time to time. It is easy and delicious. I top it with maple sugar frosting or vanilla buttercream and flaked coconut.

  2. Interesting recipe. It reminded me of what we called Iowa Cake, which was another chocolate cake that was all the rage in the 1920s and 1930s. My mother remembers making it as a kid. It uses two eggs, but it makes a 13″ x 9″ cake, which is double. It’s a very, very thin batter, but it sure does make a moist cake. If you want the recipe I’ll link it here.

  3. This is very similar to a cake we used to make when I was a child, and came from a pre-war recipe book. The only real difference was that our recipe used golden syrup, not sugar.

  4. I always think of titles like ‘one egg cake’ as being for those times you want or need to bake something, and you only have one egg. Mom had a recipe called 1, 2, 3, 4 cake and those were the numbers of eggs, cups of milk, flour, sugar. Perhaps it was just easy to remember without needing a recipe, but I now do not remember which number went with which ingredient!

  5. My family’s favorite cake is one from an old Marlboro Cookbook I picked up in a grocery store thirty years ago. It has no milk or eggs (a plus as at the time I had kids intolerant of milk) and is incredibly chocolaty. We like it frosted, plain and hot out of the oven with a bit of butter or a crust of cinnamon and sugar baked on top.

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