Dear Meredyth,

The winter break is coming to an end next week, and with it ends my wonderful “school’s out for the summer” routine. On my productive weeks over the break I spent most days at our village library, organizing books, watching movies with kids, reading lots of books, and tutoring students. This last one is odd for two reasons, one, I don’t usually enjoy teaching, especially kids, but I really liked this; and two, I was tutoring them on algebra, chemistry, and physics. If you remember, I managed some good grades in algebra, but I slept through chemistry and dropped out of physics, so not my strong subjects right? Well, my students would argue that I am a genius and the best teacher they’ve ever had, (this is absolute hyperbole, but it does a lot for my ego.) I kept up a façade of full confidence in my skills, but I gave myself away at times, like after screaming with frustration for twenty minutes while trying to balance a chemical equation. When I finally figured it out I preformed a very loud cheer for myself, my students were not impressed with my dancing skills.

Now that school is starting my students are leaving to go back to their senior school in a different village. Today I wanted to say good-bye for now and congratulate their hard work these last few weeks.  So I baked them my new favorite chocolate cake. This recipe requires no eggs or milk, so it’s cheap, and only one bowl, so it’s easy to do when there’s very little water to wash dishes. Neither the cheap nor ease of the recipe compromises the goodness of it.

1 ½ c. cake flour

3 T. good cocoa

1 t. baking soda

1 c. sugar

½ t salt

5 t canola oil

1 t good vanilla extract

1 c. water

Sift together dry ingredients into a greased pan. Make three grooves in the dry mix. In the first groove, put in the oil. Second groove, add the vinegar, and the last put the vanilla. Pour water over the whole thing and stir until nearly smooth. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until done.

Need a quick chocolate ganache? Choose your favorite chocolate bar to put on the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Spread the chocolate when it melts, then put it in the fridge for ten minutes. BAM! You got a fancy chocolate cake!

The library workers and students were ecstatic when I brought this in. When I shared the recipe with the librarian she was baffled that vinegar goes with chocolate, and that a cake could be so fluffy with no eggs, how is this possible she asked? With a cocky shrug I replied, well baking is just chemistry, delicious chemistry.