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Years ago, after watching too many baking contests on TV, I made this lovely sort of cinnamon shortbread-cake thing, without a recipe.  I got lucky.  It was good.  I never wrote down the recipe.  *sigh*

Tonight, I tried something similar (while watching Iron Man, rather than Food Network).  It's not an exact duplicate of the fabled cinnamon cake, but it's close enough that I think I could get there from here.  And it's pretty good in its own right.  

And it's fast:  five minutes prep time, 10 minutes baking.  One bowl, one dish, a handful of utensils. 

Butter a 9" glass pie pan; preheat oven to 375.
In a mixing bowl,
Mix together 1/4 C sugar and 1 large egg
Add 2 t unsweetened cocoa; mix
Add 1/2 t cinnamon; mix
Add 1 t vanilla; mix
Add 1/2 t salt; mix
Add 1/4 C flour and 1 t baking powder; mix.
It should be a little thinner than frosting.
Turn into pie pan; spread evenly across bottom of pan as if frosting a cake.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges just start to brown.

It's cake-like, but spongier and a little more dry than the average cake.
It tastes less sweet than the average cake, which appeals to me. 
It packs lots of spice in a small space, which also appeals.

It soaks up liqueurs without falling apart.
It's a good thickness (about 1/2") for layering with fruit or yogurt.  Or ice cream. 
In retrospect, I'd have used a little more cocoa and a little less cinnamon, to get a good chocolatey cake.  I think the recipe can handle about 2.5 t of dry flavorings (cocoa, spices) and 1t of wet flavorings (extracts, liqueurs, juice), but that gives a person a lot of options. 
I think one could decrease the baking powder slightly; I suspect a full teaspoon is a bit much.
There's a lot of mystery surrounding baking.  And certainly there are many nuances of baking that require rules and care.  But, it is also possible to just start throwing things together and get something satisfying. 
Friending welcome, but lurking is fine too.

Constructive criticism is also welcome - whatever it is, trust me, I've heard worse.



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