Chocolate Vinegar Cake

Now don’t raise your eyebrows like that! No, I it’s not a typo- there is indeed vinegar listed in this cake. Going by it’s other moniker “Depression Chocolate Cake”, this may well be one of those recipes that probably everyone’s baking inclined grandparent would probably have in their repertoire. Dating from a time of the Great Depression, when things like eggs, milk, butter and sugar were really expensive and scarce, this recipe keeps them to a minimum. So much that with it’s absence of eggs and dairy the sponge itself can be considered vegan. If you want to finish to completion with it’s delectable ganache topping and still remain vegan-friendly, I’ve included some recommendations at the end of the recipe.

Another bonus with this recipe? Minimal washing up! In fact if you choose to cake it the classic way as a sheet cake to be eaten from the pan, you can save on that singular, additional bowl for clean up. Just make sure to omit the baking parchment lining and use a non-stick pan. Dump everything in the pan, exert a bit more restraint when mixing together and away you go! No bowl, all-in-one sheet cake.

Finishing with chocolate ganache is entirely optional. Some people prefer just a simple dusting of powdered sugar, others prefer just to leave it completely naked and bask in the unadulterated chocolatiness of the sponge itself. Whatever way you decide to finish it, I’m pretty sure you wont be making it just the once!

Chocolate Vinegar Cake #recipe


Makes 1 no. 9” x 12” sheet cake

Chocolate Vinegar Cake

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • ¾ cup canola oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white vinegar

Chocolate Ganache topping*

  • 1 cup heavy cream, or whipping cream*
  • 8oz semi-sweet chocolate, in small pieces


  1. For the ganache topping, place the chocolate pieces in a medium heatproof bowl
  2. Heat the heavy cream/ whipping cream, in a small pan over a medium heat until just below boiling (look for small bubbles at the edge of the cream in the pan)
  3. Remove the cream from the heat and gently pour the warmed cream over the chocolate pieces in the bowl. Leave to rest for 5 minutes
  4. After 5 minutes, gently stir the chocolate/ cream mixture with a whisk to emulsify it. It will appear mottled and speckled at first but continue gently stirring until it thickens and is uniform in color
  5. Once fully smooth and uniform in color, set aside and leave to fully cool before spreading (usually takes about 2 hours at room temperature). The mixture will thicken to spreadable consistency after this time
  6. Preheat your oven to 350F
  7. Prepare a 9” x 12” baking pan by greasing and lining with baking parchment
  8. In a large bowl combine all the cake ingredients- the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, water, canola oil, vanilla extract, and vinegar
  9. Whisk until fully combined, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to avoid any dry ingredient residue. Continue mixing until fully blended and smooth
  10. Pour into your prepared pan. If needed gently tilt the pan to allow the cake batter to flow into the corners
  11. Bake in your preheated oven for between 20-25minutesm or until a cake tester, or skewer, comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Remove the cake from the oven allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes in a rack
  12. After allowing to cool for 5 minutes, invert the cake onto a cooling rack lined with baking parchment
  13. Remove the tin and lining baking parchment paper and allow the cake to cool fully below finishing with your chocolate ganache topping
  14. Once your cake has fully cooled, pour your chocolate ganache topping over the surface and spread with an offset spatula to cover the cake
  15. Slice however you like and enjoy!

*Whilst the cake sponge in this recipe is vegan, the chocolate ganache isn’t. If you want a complete vegan friendly cake substitute 1 cup full-fat coconut milk (Make sure to fully shake it before using). Also make sure that your chocolate that your using is vegan-friendly.


3 thoughts on “Chocolate Vinegar Cake

  1. Pingback: Strawberry & White Chocolate Frozen Cheesecake with Basil Sugar

  2. Pingback: Vintage Tomato Soup Cake – Crumbs In My Beard

  3. Pingback: Baileys Irish Cream Deep ‘n’ Delicious Cake – Crumbs In My Beard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s