Vintage Chocolate Vinegar Cake is naturally vegan and goes by the other unusual names such as Crazy Cake, Wacky Cake, World War 2 Cake, or even Depression Cake! However, there is absolutely nothing crazy, whacky, or depressive about this vinegar cake as it is deliciously light, soft, chocolatey, and incredibly moist.
Vinegar cake is the perfect emergency vegan cake in that it can be quickly whipped up in one bowl, given a simple topping of powdered sugar, and enjoyed warm with hot custard, vegan cream, or a scoop of ice-cream. Wonderful for movie night!
Or turn the vinegar cake into a quick birthday cake with an easy melted chocolate ganache.
This chocolate vinegar cake recipe is one that you should always have up-your-sleeve to pull out whenever you fancy a chocolate-cake-on-a-budget!
Chocolate vinegar cake may quite easily be the best eggless chocolate cake you'll ever bake. This vegan chocolate cake can be simply dusted with powdered sugar or cocoa powder.
Or jazzed up with a simple melted chocolate ganache or your favourite chocolate frosting. Finish with a few cake sprinkles and you have the simplest, quickest, budget-friendly birthday or celebration cake.
What is a vinegar cake?
A vinegar cake is a cake that uses a combination of vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to provide the raising agent for the cake to rise. The combo of the acid vinegar with the alkaline soda means that eggs are not required. Also a vinegar cake has no butter or dairy as vegetable oil and water are added instead.
Hence the unusual names crazy or wacky cake as many struggle to believe that such as tasty, well-risen, soft, fluffy and moist cake could possibly not contain any eggs, butter or dairy!
The name depression cake stems from the American Great Depression Era [1929-1939] where eggs, butter and dairy were in short supply and expensive so new ways of preparing cakes had to be discovered.
Over in Britain during the two World Wars [1914-1918] and [1939-1945], rationing and food shortages were in force so eggs, butter, and dairy would have been valuable rations. Using these scarce ingredients for cakes was too expensive and extravagant. As a result recipes for cakes that used vinegar and bicarbonate of soda became very popular.
Cost of living crisis and vegan baking
Nowadays, we are all experiencing a cost of living crisis with rising food costs, short supplies of certain ingredients, and increasing fuel costs.
Even though vegans and plant-based dieters don't use eggs, butter, or dairy in their baking, many others on different diets do and so they may need to seek out tried and tested recipes that don't require these expensive animal ingredients.
As a result, the amazing world of vegan baking will be opening up to many new bakers, which is quite exciting, as animal ingredients will be in less demand as others learn the secrets of baking without eggs and butter!
Also, vegan baking does not actually require complicated, expensive egg replacers. As vinegar and bicarbonate of soda [baking soda] work amazingly for many everyday bakes.
Home-Made Vegan Chocolate Vinegar Cake Mix
The dry ingredients for this chocolate vinegar cake recipe can be pre-mixed and added to an airtight canister, mason jar or food tub, and stored somewhere cool, dark and dry for a few months.
Having a prepped chocolate cake mix is a great idea as the mixture can be just as convenient as opening a cake mix purchased from the store. To prepare the cake, all that needs to be done is to tip the cake mix into a mixing bowl and then add hot water, oil, and vanilla. Mix it all up and bake. So easy!
Home-prepared cake mix can be perfect for gifts, especially for Thanksgiving or the Festive Season. Add the cake mix to a nice mason jar or similar, tie a cute ribbon or bow around, and attach a label with directions for preparing the cake.
How to prepare vintage chocolate vinegar cake
This recipe for vinegar cake was discovered within an old vintage cookbook that I purchased from a local charity shop that had an old magazine cutout of the recipe within the pages. There was no name for the magazine, so it could have been from a newspaper magazine or from a pamphlet.
The original method for preparing wacky cake is to add the dry ingredients to the baking pan, and then make 3 gaps within the dry mixture. The vinegar is poured into one, the oil into the other, and the vanilla the third.
Lastly the warm water is poured over and everything stirred together. If you prefer this method go ahead and give it a try.
First, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar, to a mixing bowl.
Pour in the hot water, vanilla, vinegar, and vegetable oil. Give the mixture a good stir with a mixing spoon until thoroughly combined.
Scoop the cake batter into a lined cake pan and bake on the middle shelf for 30-35 minutes.
Leave the cake in the pan for 15 minutes before carefully removing and cooling on a wire rack.
Once cool, sift powdered [icing] sugar over the top. Or cocoa powder, although this may be a little bitter on its own so perhaps use an equal mixture of cocoa powder and icing sugar.
This cake can also be enjoyed warm, especially nice with some hot custard.
Alternatively, melt together 100 grams [3-4oz] of vegan dark chocolate with 2 tablespoons of vegan cream [such as Alpro single soya cream] and spread the simple ganache frosting over the top of the cake.
Sprinkle with chocolate cake sprinkles if liked.
Divide the cake into 9-12 portions.
Chocolate vinegar cake will be at its freshest 1-3 days after baking, but should keep for an extra day or so within a cake tin or food container, and stored somewhere cool and dry.
The cake can also be stored within the refrigerator wrapped in kitchen foil, and if a ganache topping has been added the refrigerator will keep the chocolate set and firm.
Chocolate cake can also be frozen, well wrapped, for 3-4 months. It's best to add the frosting after the cake has been defrosted, but the ganache can also be frozen if already applied to the cake, if this is preferred.
White distilled vinegar is the easiest and cheapest vinegar out there and is perfect for baking cakes.
Although, apple cider vinegar can also be used.
Absolutely not. Even though vinegar has a strong flavour when consumed by itself, it has no discernible flavour within any cakes that it is added to.
Vinegar is added to a cake batter along with bicarbonate of soda [baking soda], as during the baking process these two ingredients chemically react to each other and produce the gas carbon dioxide. This gas releases bubbles allowing the cake batter to rise.
Typically, eggs are added to cake batters along with raising agents such as bicarbonate of soda and baking powder, but the addition of vinegar omits the need for eggs.
More vegan chocolate cake recipes:
Gluten-free vegan chocolate cake [perfect for celebrations]
Old-School Dinners Chocolate Traybake [can be prepared as gluten-free]
Chocolate Rice Crispy Cakes [no-bake]
Chocolate Cornflake Cakes [no-bake]
Its Remembrance Day on Friday the 11th November 2023 and Remembrance Sunday on the 13th November 2023. The perfect days to bake and enjoy a vintage old-fashioned chocolate vinegar cake, that was popular during the war years, while remembering others that have gone.
Vintage Chocolate Vinegar Cake [vegan]
- 8 inch cake pan, square or circular
- parchment paper
- wire rack optional,
- 210 gram plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 228 gram granulated sugar [or caster sugar]
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
- 250 millilitres water [warm]
- 6 tablespoon vegetable oil [such as rapeseed/sunflower}
Simple quick topping:
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar [powdered sugar] use more as desired
Alternative ganache topping: [optional]
- 100 gram dark chocolate
- 2 tablespoon vegan pouring cream
- Preheat the oven to 160 Fan/ 180C / 356 Fahrenheit / Gas 4.
- Grease the cake pan with oil or margarine, and line with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and cocoa powder into a mixing bowl.210 gram plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
- Add the salt and sugar.228 gram granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon salt
- Pour in the hot water, vegetable oil, white vinegar and vanilla.1 tablespoon vanilla essence, 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar, 250 millilitres water, 6 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Give it all a good stir to mix everything thoroughly.
- Pour the cake batter into the cake pan.
- Bake on the middle oven shelf for 30-35 minutes, until the cake has risen, is firm and a skewer popped in the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before carefully removing and cooling on a wire rack.
- Dust with icing [powdered] sugar once cool.1 tablespoon icing sugar
- Alternatively melt together about 100grams [3 ½ -4 oz] of chocolate with 2 tablespoons of vegan pouring cream or 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Spread the chocolate ganache over the cake and sprinkle with chocolate cake sprinkles if liked. Leave to set, or pop into the refrigerator for the chocolate to firm up quicker.
- If using a microwave to prepare the ganache: The chocolate and cream can be melted together within a small microwave bowl. Switch on the microwave in 15-20 second bursts, stirring the chocolate each time until the chocolate has nearly melted. Stir the ganache quickly to ensure the mix is combined and the chocolate melted.Or melt the chocolate with the cream on the stove-top: Place the evenly chopped up chocolate and cream into a small heatproof bowl.Add the bowl to a saucepan that has about an inch of simmering water at the bottom of the pan. Stir the chocolate until its melted. Don't let the water boil too fast, and once the chocolate has nearly melted remove from the heat and stir quickly until completely melted.100 gram dark chocolate, 2 tablespoon vegan pouring cream
- Nutritional data is provided for guidance only and is not intended to be a strict calculation as ingredients can vary.
- Store chocolate cake within a cake tin or food container, or wrapped in kitchen foil and stored within the refrigerator. The cake will be at its freshest 1-3 days after baking, but if stored properly will keep for an extra day or two.
- If the cake has a ganache frosting storing in the refrigerator can help keep it set and firm, especially if your home is very warm.
- Chocolate cake can be frozen, either with or without a ganache frosting, for 3-4 months. Wrap up well to prevent freezer burn.
- Staler cake can be warmed up and served with hot custard.
- Alpro single soya cream is perfect for adding to chocolate to prepare a simple chocolate ganache topping, or use 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil instead of cream.
- Apple cider vinegar can replace the white distilled vinegar.
Prepared this tasty vintage chocolate vinegar cake?
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Thanks so much, Jacq x