Friday, February 28, 2014

Bess's Pan Handy Cake

I love this recipe.  I loved it before I even baked it!  Let me tell you why....

My husband and I have our favorite Chinese food place that we eat lunch at almost every single Monday.  We have for a few years.  At some point, we noticed that there was a lady there, who sat right across from us and she was there the same day as we were.  We later found out, she eats there every single day!  After quite some time, we struck up a conversation, introduced ourselves and we became fast friends.  Bess has been through a lot in her 80 years.  We have to constantly remind her she has grandchildren who can and will mow her yard, or shovel the snow, trim trees, or heaven's knows what else, but she is a determined woman who would rather do everything herself!  She shares her family news and life experiences with us and we are richer because of it.  We just think the world of her and are sure we were supposed to go to that place, to meet her!  She is an inspiration, and her strength is incredible!

The other day we were discussing what I would be cooking or baking.  She was telling me of a cake, called "Pan-Handy Cake" that she used to make as a little girl in girl scouts.  She said sometimes when they made it, they would cover it in Hershey's Chocolate Bars right out of the oven, wait for them to melt and then swirl them around!  She said it was an eggless recipe and used vinegar and that it was in that girl scout recipe book at home and was bringing me the recipe!  I LOVE when there is a story behind how you come upon a recipe.  The only thing Bess and I disagree on is the HUSKERS.  I can't sway her, I have tried! HA!

Thank you Bess for this recipe, I even did the Hershey's bars!  Thank you for your friendship, your kindness and for loving Chinese food as much as we do, so we could meet!

This cake is called a "pan-handy" cake because it can all be mixed right in the pan you bake it in!  I am a sucker for the non messy way of life so I mixed it in a bowl and then poured into my baking dish!

Let's get to it!

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vinegar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
2 lg, or 4 regular size Hershey bars.  (just chocolate)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  You can mix this all right in the pan (8x8) or mix in a bowl first.  Combine all dry ingredients, flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Mix until combined.  Add in vinegar, oil and water and mix to completely combine.  Put into 8x8 pan or smooth to even out batter if already mixing in the pan.  Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean of wet batter.  When it is done, take it out and IMMEDIATELY lay Hershey bars over the top and leave them for 2-3 minutes. 

They will melt but keep their shape, so take a knife and swirly, twirly that chocolate around to cover every bit of the top!  Make sure to leave enough on the knife to lick it off when you are done!  Let sit or refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.


  1. This looks real good! I love to get the older ladies recipes. With directions like a teacup and a coffee cup. Thank you :)

  2. omg it looks amazing Chris; loved the story about Bess...she's a sweetie. I'm also blessed to have met her and you/George at the hotspot lunch place that i've been eating at for 15+ years, with love dee

  3. What a sweet story - I totally teared up. I am a sucker for these things but don't tell anyone - lol. The cake looks delicious and love that it is so easy. I love the story behind it even more. Thanks for sharing!! :)