Photo by Libby Geboy

Photo by Libby Geboy

By Delaney Jacobson

Looking to kick-start your baking abilities? For our readers with limited baking experience, kiss boxed cake mix goodbye, because this delectable chocolate cake recipe is for you. Even I can’t mess this one up. What this cake lacks in complexity, it makes up for in taste, guaranteed. Did I mention this cake is also low in fat? Delicious and reduced-guilt? It’s almost too good to be true.

This was my grandmother’s specialty, as well as the first cake she taught me to bake. Its secret ingredient? Vinegar. That’s right. Now, before you refuse to bake this cake, don’t let its unconventional ingredients deter you. During the mixing process, the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create a moist, dense cake with no trace of a taste of vinegar.

This recipe is very flexible (I opted for some coconut oil in place of the vegetable oil). As far as the topping goes, you can either dust the cake with powdered sugar or cocoa powder, or spread on your favorite frosting. For a Southern twist, top your cake with a fudgy frosting and garnish with chopped pecans.

For a rich, decadent chocolate cake, I have found that Hershey’s “Special Dark” cocoa powder works wonders. However, for those of you who prefer a milk chocolate version, regular unsweetened cocoa powder will do. Simply adjust the cocoa powder in accordance with your chocoholic desires.

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup warm water
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Mix dry ingredients. Make a well in dry ingredients and add wet ingredients. Mix well. If the batter is not thin enough, add more warm water 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the desired consistency.

Pour into an eight or nine inch square or round pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting or dusting with powdered sugar.

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