Margaret Fox's Amazon Chocolate Cake

By • October 15, 2013 • 105 Comments

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Author Notes: Meet your new go-to birthday cake, bake sale cake, dinner party cake, late night snack cake -- for when the fridge is at its barest and you need chocolate cake now. (It's also vegan and parve and dirt cheap, but you wouldn't know unless we told you.) This isn't not the richest, most chocolatey cake -- if you like, you can amp up the chocolate by swapping in coffee for the water, or adding more cocoa. But you don't need to. It's a different animal: light, delicately strung together with cocoa, and not terribly sweet. Adapted slightly from Cafe Beaujolais (Ten Speed Press, 1984).Genius Recipes

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons neutral oil (like corn, canola, or vegetable)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cider or white vinegar
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional, for dusting)
  1. Heat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Sift. In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, oil, vanilla, and vinegar.
  3. Whisk together the wet and dry mixtures. If lumpy, whisk until smooth, or pour through strainer in to a bowl and break up lumps, pressing them through.
  4. Mix again, and pour into a greased 9-inch round cake pan. Tap the edge of the pan against the edge of the counter, or drop from 6 inches to the floor several times to pop air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed gently.
  5. Cool before removing from the pan and dusting with confectioners' sugar, or frosting if desired.
Jump to Comments (105)

Tags: parve

Comments (105) Questions (6)


2 months ago hookmountaingrowers

Made this last night - used coconut oil and it came out fabulous! Put in more cocoa powder and used Alton Brown's chocolate ganache frosting to top it off. My current favorite easy cake to make. Thanks for this!


2 months ago pattyrat

I'm not sure why so many people are so averse to using olive oil in baking. I have made this cake several times and have always used olive oil - good, high quality, certified extra virgin olive oil. Maybe that's the problem - too many people use cheap stuff that definitely has an off-putting flavor. The cake is always delicious! I love how simple it is and while it certainly is not a decadent "death by chocolate" type cake - I love the delicate chocolate and not too sweet flavor. Tonight I am using coconut oil and look forward to trying the results!


2 months ago whmcdevitt

I never use an electric mixer.....just a whisk!


2 months ago hookmountaingrowers

This may be a stupid question but do you need an electric mixer for this or can it be done by hand. Thanks!


3 months ago Oraporn Boonpituruk

Thanks a lot smonfor . I ' try .


3 months ago LaTonya Ferguson

Sorry should say, my daughter can only use wheat flour


3 months ago LaTonya Ferguson

My daughter can only have use wheat flour, so can I substitute King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour? And if so, would I have to add anything or take out something? Please help, she loves chocolate cake, and I would like for this to be a part of her forever recipes that she can have. Thanks much.


3 months ago smonfor

I grew up with this cake being called a whacky cake - because of the no eggs. When I was older, I realized I could take out the coco powder and add back in flour and cinnamon and other spices to make it a spice cake. Turns out great and I think has a nicer flavor than the chocolate - which can be a bit bland in my opinion.


3 months ago Christina Bogar

I know this cake! I know it as 6-Minute Chocolate Cake, so named because that's about how long it takes to whip up. You know how to make it amazing though? Top it with lazy daisy broiled frosting:


3 months ago JohnL

Does the frosting make it taste anything like a German Chocolate Cake? One of my friends likes me to make German Chocolate Cake every year on his birthday.


3 months ago Kris

Can I make this cake with whole wheat flour? What changes should I make for that? I understand I cannot replace the AP flour completely. But can I add 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour? Should I increase the liquid?


3 months ago catalinalacruz

I use all whole wheat flour, which I first sift to remove the bran (for a
Iighter cake). I don't make any other changes to the recipe.


5 months ago Jessica Rae Thomas

i'm expanding slowly into the world of baking from scratch so i got understandably excited when i saw your recipe. chocolate is my kryptonite, so when i felt the itch for it tonight (and knowing i wasn't about to find actual clothes to make any store runs) i pulled up your recipe. i didn't have any neutral oils (i use primarily avocado and olive), but when i read up on substituting one of the comments struck me: be careful when substituting for neutral oils, as oils such as olive will lend a slight flavor.

i have a nice little bottle of lemon infused olive oil from my time in italy and i said "what the hell". i knew it was going to be something special when i pulled it out the oven. i whipped up some dark chocolate ganache and after it was all said and done, i took the first bite. and it was fabulous. rich, slightly chewy, and a hint of bright citrus with the dark cocoa.

thank you so much for helping me feel like a real chef! ;)


7 months ago Sylvia9000

I love this one so much. It's my new go-to chocolate cake. The only change I make is to sub cane sugar for refined sugar and dust with cocoa to make it vegan. Thanks for a great recipe!


8 months ago Briana

I just made this for my family and it was such a success! I have been looking for a dairy free dessert that I could make on weeknights as my daughter has both a sweet tooth and a milk allergy. This was just perfect - super moist, not too sweet and very satisfying. Thank you!!


8 months ago JohnL

I had to laugh when I read one of the reviews posted on your link to the Moosewood recipe "reminds me of a Hostess cupcake".


8 months ago Paula Zevin

Sorry, but the original, from which this adapted ever so slightly is much, much better and has deeper chocolate taste! It is a recipe from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cookbook and is called "Deep Chocolate Vegan Cake." I've been making this to rave reviews and eating for years, it is truly decadent! In the end, no matter which recipe you make, ensure that your mise-en-place is complete before you start, the oven is at temperature and the pan ready to go. Once you've added the vinegar, give it a light stir, then dump it in the pan, tap it on the counter once or twice and quickly put it in the oven. The longer you wait, the less the cake will rise and keep its height once done. Some sinking will happen, don't panic. Enjoy it! Here's the link to the original:http://www.vegetariantimes...


8 months ago emcsull

and again, this recipe is to be found in "The I-hate-to-Cook-Book by Peg Bracken, published in 1960. Probably Moosewood found it there and "tweaked" it a bit, frosting and all


7 months ago DBAKES

This cake is much older than Moosewood or Peg Bracken! This is actually a depression era cake...I grew up with it called Wacky Cake. It is something my Great Grandmother and Grandmother would make. Wacky Cake may have been created as the result of rationing during World War II, when milk and eggs were scarce. You usually don't mix in a separate bowl but blend all the ingredients in the baking pan.


9 months ago daisy326

Can you make this flourless by just leaving out the tbsp of flour?


9 months ago MelissaMaria

This has 1 1/2 cups of flour. You should probable just use gluten-free flour and xantham gum if you are looking to make this GF.


9 months ago cyndilurks

I love all the creative suggestions in the comments. I remember this recipe which I made many times in my childhood. I first learned of it studying history (in Oklahoma elementary school)-that it was developed by pioneers who had no access to milk or eggs at times.


9 months ago theresa94010

Can I substitute almond flour for half of the all purpose flour called for in the recipe and get the same result ?


7 months ago Joy

I just did this very thing. The batter is heavier and you need to add a touch more water to get a decent batter. It turned out fine. I've had this very same recipe for years, 47 to be exact, from my boss at my first job. I named it after her because she gave me the recipe with no name. Now years later I have substituted 1/2 almond flour into the recipe. You really can't tell the difference. This cake has a very mild chocolate flavor. If you're a dark chocolate lover it may not be to your liking. I always give it a chocolate frosting to get more chocolate flavor.


10 months ago Donna C.

Made this cake a few times, have substituted coffee for the water and added up to a half cup of cocoa, even thrown in a hand full of chocolate chips. Have frosted it with a dusting of icing sugar and even made a small batch of chocolate glaze, always satisfies the chocolate craving!


10 months ago Alice Gardner

I made this cake last night exactly as written, and I feel like if I closed my eyes, I wouldn't know that this was chocolate. I like this concept though, creating a cake out of thin air in less than an hour. It's nice to have an emergency cake in the repetoire. Also, I didn't let it cool completely in the pan because It goes against the grain, and I'm glad I trusted my instincts. :)