Vegan Chocolate Cake

Vegan chocolate cake, also known as wacky cake, may have been invented during World War II as a response to food rationing. Eggs and milk were scarce, forcing home cooks to be creative in their baking and cooking. Wacky cake is leavened, surprisingly enough, by a reaction between vinegar and baking soda. It is tender and chocolaty, and even the most adamant anti-vegan eater will love it.

Vegan Chocolate Cake


  • 3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup canola or other neutral-tasting vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar


Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease one 9-x-13-inch cake pan or two 9-inch round pans.

In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, beat together vanilla, oil, sugar and water. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir, getting rid of any lumps. Add the two teaspoons of vinegar, and mix quickly. A visible reaction will occur. Quickly pour into cake pan(s), and place in oven.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until a knife or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool in the pan.

Once cool, frost with whatever type of frosting you prefer, or simply dust with a light coating of powdered sugar.

Alternative Direction

Vegan chocolate cake can also be mixed directly in the pan. Mix dry ingredients (including sugar) together in the cake pan. Make three wells in the center of the dry ingredients, and then add vanilla, vinegar and oil to each of the three wells. Pour the two cups of water over the top, and mix quickly. Streaks will appear in the batter. Place in the oven and cook as directed above.

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