My mother wasn’t one for desserts and she didn’t like to bake, so if there was something to be made in the oven, she occasionally enlisted my help. I was also allowed in the kitchen of a friend who visited her grandmother in the summer. Her grandmother had a cook who was kind enough to let us mess up her tidy domain, so my friend and I spent happy hours making brownies.
In those days my repertoire was limited; however, I was always happy to be allowed to bake. I still enjoy it, though these days my time is more often devoted to writing than to baking–and there are always the calories to be considered. Lately it’s been too hot to do so, but I needed a cake for Stephen’s birthday, so I went looking for my special recipe: Vinegar Cake.
While it is counterproductive to start the oven in the midst of the summer heat, this cake won’t take long. Quickly put together, it is easily made into whatever kind of a dessert you wish to serve. When I made it was for Stephen’s family birthday party, there were only a few of us to enjoy it. It is such a simple recipe that if you are pressed for time, as long as there is enough time for it to cool, it can be made shortly before you need it. Being without eggs, it is good for vegans. Do not be put off by the title.
Preheat oven to 350, grease an 8X8 square baking pan. This cake is fairly thin, and is nice and chocolaty. It really needs no frosting, but I include a recipe in case.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour—gluten free baking replacement, or wheat based
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs cocoa powder (I added another) plus more for dusting top
1 Tbs vinegar
1 Tbs Vanilla Extract
1 cup warm water
6 Tbs Vegetable oil
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl, mingle wet ingredients. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add all of liquid ingredients. Mix well. If batter isn’t liquid enough, add water a tablespoon at a time until you get a thin batter. This cake is very moist. Bake in greased 8X8 pan in 350 preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick in the center comes out clean and edges have pulled away slightly from the pan–this could take up to 35 minutes. Or bake in cupcake cups, a little less. Dust to your satisfaction with cocoa powder. I used a sieve and stirred the cocoa powder in it to make it come out evenly. Serves 16 cut in squares, or makes 12 cupcakes.
If you are using a gluten free flour or don’t want lumps it might be good to sift the ingredients together. It makes a better texture for the cake. For a simple frosting, mix 1 cup confectioners’ sugar with 2 Tbs soft butter and add 1 tsp vanilla and some milk or cream until spreadable. You can cut it in half and make a layer cake to serve 6 or 8.