During the Great Depression, eggs were expensive and hard to find. That forced bakers to come up with a way to make cakes rise without them—and the vinegar cake was born. During the baking process, vinegar and baking soda react and bubble up, resulting in an exceptionally light texture. (The DIY “volcanoes” that are so popular at grade-school science fairs rely on these same two ingredients).
I first stumbled across this recipe as a kid, reading American Girl Magazine—and it’s foolproof enough that even little bakers can master it. These days, I like adding coconut oil and brewed coffee to intensify the rich, chocolate flavor.
Yield: 1 9-inch cake
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup organic unbleached sugar
3 heaping tablespoonscacao powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
3/4 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cacao powder, baking soda, and salt. Make three wells in the mixture and pour coconut oil into one, vinegar into another, and vanilla into the third. Pour coffee and water over everything and mix until just combined.
Scrape batter into prepared cake tin and bake in oven until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan, then serve dusted with powdered sugar or with coconut whipped cream and fresh berries.
Photo credit: Paul Delmont
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