Woe are us! Among other things butter, eggs and milk have increased dramatically in price. Many people are dairy intolerant or vegan. The modern housewife/husband doesn't have enough time and/or expertise.
Stop Press - the never fail, vegan cake with no butter, eggs or milk that takes 5 minutes of your time
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
3 cups flour 2 cups sugar 1 cup good cocoa
2 tablespoons vinegar 2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt
1 cup light oil 2 cups water
Sift the flour, sugar and cocoa in a bowl, dump the rest in and mix. Cook in a 22cm(approx.) tin at 170C until the centre just firms up, around 1 hour (it won't hurt the cake to open the oven and test).
If you aren't vegan and can handle dairy, bring 300mls cream to the boil, take off the heat and add 500gms dark chocolate and mix until smooth (it's too much for one cake but keeps well). Cool it until gluggy and spread over cold cake. When set, cut a nice unhealthy wedge, heat in the microwave for 40 seconds, add fresh raspberries or other, a dollop of whipped cream and go for a long run afterwards!