I think this is the origin of Dump Cake Name
This was the Depression era Dump Cake. I think the Food52 version just adds dry to wet ingredients in the reverse order, making the reason for the name less obvious. You can always turn this into something more dangerous by icing it with a chocolate fudge frosting or ganache...
11⁄2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 heaping tablespoons cocoa (unsweetened, and NOT Dutch process) 1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup + 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use canola)
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cold water
1. Set oven to 350F.
2. Sift the dry ingredients right into an 81⁄2 square pan and mix them well.
3. Make three indentations in the dry ingredients. (Remember what you used to do with gravy and mashed potatoes when you were a kid? Like that.)
4. Put vanilla in one indentation, oil in another, and vinegar in the last.
5. Pour the cold water over all.
6. Stir (not beat) until it’s all well-blended, but don’t overstir.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Cup cakes take about 15 minutes, but start checking after 12 minutes.)
8. Cut it, and eat it without (too much) guilt!
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
3⁄4 cup heavy cream
1⁄2 pound bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate, grated
Heat the cream. Add the chocolate, stirring until it’s completely combined. Cover for 10 minutes. Pour over cake or wait until it’s hard enough to spread or put through a pastry tube (and hour or more).