Whether this recipe becomes a loaf, a layer cake, or cupcakes you will find it versatile, moist, and delicious. Make it the day ahead if you plan to cube or slice the cake. Once cut, feel free to freeze it. It has been served in my family since the 1950s. This one recipe can easily provide the start for a dozen different desserts. My husband, whose childhood misadventures are chronicled in the Get a Bigger Wagon books, has enjoyed Chameleon Cake smothered in maple syrup, frequently, since 1970.
1Add sugar to oil in a medium size bowl and mix with an electric hand mixer.
2Beat the eggs into the sugar and oil. Then add vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt.
3Set this batter aside. In a separate bowl, combine the baking powder with the flour. Add portions of the flour mixture to the batter, alternating with portions of milk, ending with flour.
4Now, choose a shape!
Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes at 325° F.
Spoon batter into well-greased or paper-lined muffin tins (makes 14) and bake at 375° F for 20 to 30 minutes.
Pour batter into two well-greased eight-inch layer cake pans and bake cakes at 375° for 25 to 30 minutes.
Chameleon cake is delicious served with fruit and whipped cream, covered in maple syrup, or glazed with a caramel icing. It can be sliced into fingers to serve plain with tea or cubed for dipping into a chocolate fondue. Freeze it in slices for a quick dessert at a later time.
For a fun family dessert, serve a platter of cake slices and a tray of sauces, fruit, ice cream, and sprinkles. Tell the children it is “make your own dessert” night.
For grown-ups only, splash a little rum over the cake then top with whipped cream and pineapple.
I have friends who skip the almond extract and add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. The expert followers of Just a Pinch will have great substitution ideas. I have used alternate flours such as oat or spelt.