The story I’ve heard about this recipe is that it was created during WWI or WWII because of rationing. Neither of my grandmothers had ever heard of it, but they were living on the farm and didn’t have problems finding eggs and butter! Despite the family’s lack of understanding of my avoidance of animal products, this cake has become the standard birthday favorite because it is so nice and moist. I’m happy… even if I do occasionally have to make the frosting with butter to keep the peace!
My favorite variation on this recipe is to use Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder – even though I’m not normally a fan of dark chocolate, this is an exception!
This recipe makes about a half of a cake, or a 9″x9″ pan. I have made it as a 9″ layer cake, but I mix the layers separately as sometimes cake recipes don’t double. I haven’t experimented with doubling — why risk wasting all of that chocolate?? I have also made this in two 6″ round pans, which makes a darling little birthday cake for a small group.
1 1/2 c unbleached white flour
1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder – Hershey’s Special Dark is best
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 c cold water or coffee (I prefer coffee)
2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients (except vinegar) in separate bowl; add to dry ingredients and blend. Add vinegar and stir briefly. Pour into greased 9×9″ pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 25-35 minutes. 9 servings.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
½ cup Earth Balance margarine or butter, softened (My dad, who is on a low cholesterol diet, prefers Earth Balance buttercream)
1 1/2 to 2 cups powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla
¼ cup cocoa powder
Mix margarine and cocoa powder; add vanilla; slowly add powdered sugar until frosting is the right texture. Spread on cooled cake.