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moosewood vegan chocolate cake

(recipe, Hank Sawtelle)


No one would ever suspect that this dark, elegant, scrumptious cake is both egg-less and dairy-less. It's economical and low-cholesterol, and what's more, it goes into the oven in 6 minutes with no mixing bowl to clean because the batter is mixed directly in the baking pan. You may be surprised to see vinegar in the ingredient list, but it's not a mistake. The combination of vinegar and baking soda helps the cake to rise. When cool, cut and serve the cake directly from the pan using small metal spatula or pie server; it cannot be easily turned out onto a serving plate. However, if you have time for a 12-minute cake, you can mix the batter in a bowl, line the bottom of the cake pan with parchment paper, and generously oil the sides of the pan and dust with flour. Then the cake can be removed from the pan with no trouble at all, for a more elegant presentation or for a layer cake. For the chocolate glaze, use a good-quality chocolate, such as Callebaut or Valrhona. Or try it with your favorite frosting or a dusting of confectioners' sugar or topped with whipped cream, ice cream, or sliced fruit. Serves 8 Preparation time for cake: 6 minutes Baking time: 30 minutes Preparation time for glaze: 15 minutes Chilling time (if using glaze) 30 minutes Equipment: 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pan, 2-cup measuring cup, double boiler


  1. 1½ cups unbleached white flour
  2. ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  3. 1 tsp. baking soda
  4. ½ tsp. salt
  5. 1 cup sugar
  6. ½ cup vegetable oil
  7. 1 cup cold water or coffee
  8. 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  9. 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
  10. Chocolate Glaze
  11. ½ lb. semi-sweet chocolate
  12. ¾ cup hot water
  13. ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda, salt, and sugar directly into the cake pan. In the measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, cold water or coffee, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix the batter with a fork or a small whisk. When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly. There will be pale swirls in the batter as the baking soda and vinegar react. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and set aside to cool.
  4. To make the optional glaze, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, microwave oven, or reset the oven to 300º and melt the chocolate in the oven for about 15 minutes in a small ovenproof bowl or heavy skillet. Stir the hot water and vanilla into the melted chocolate until smooth. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake. Refrigerate the glazed cake for at least 30 minutes before serving.