This cake is a huge favourite of my work colleagues so when the lovely Flore left us for pastures new this week, I cooked one up in the wee small hours and took it in.  This cake looms large in Flore’s legacy as she made one of these once and it was a big FAIL because, being French, she didn’t quite understand the difference between baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.  Chums, the two are not interchangeable! 


So I hereby rewrite the recipe with my notes, so if Flore wishes to try it again, or if any of you out there want to make a really good chocolate cake with an ingredient that will make people say: VINEGAR?  In a CAKE? it’s all here…


Irene says: “Here’s a truly unusual chocolate cake, guaranteed to bring cries of “More, More” from the family or friends.”

400g / 2 cups brown sugar

60g / ¼ cup butter

2 eggs slightly beaten

56g / 2 squares bitter chocolate, melted

5 teaspoons vinegar

260g / 2 cups cake flour / plain flour

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

½ teaspoon tartrate baking powder

235ml / 1 cup water

Cream sugar and butter thoroughly.  Add eggs, melted chocolate and vinegar, in the order named, stirring constantly.  Add quarter of the flour, into which has been sifted soda and baking powder, then quarter of the water, then some more flour, water again, alternating in this fashion until all the ingredients have been added to the mixture.  Bake in two layers in a moderate oven about 325 degrees F / 160 degrees C / gas mark 3.  Any favourite icing may be used.

  • I used two springform cake tins that are 7.5 inches wide.
  • I baked my cake for 45 minutes on the top shelf but I recommend checking after about 35 minutes, as all ovens are different.  I do the press test like my mum showed me,,,  Press the middle of the cake, if sponge springs back, it’s done.  If you make a dent in it, put it back in!
  • If you have a fan oven you may wish to bake the cake at a lower temperature – maybe 140?
  • I now always use the cup measurements when making this cake as it makes life easier than weighing everything as we Brits normally do.  The gram measurements have been gleaned from the internet so the next time I make this cake, I vow to weigh all the ingredients to double check they are correct.
  • If you don’t have a set of cup measures, I highly recommend having some!
  • I usually put jam in the middle of this cake rather than icing as I’m usually making it before work, so the jam saves time. 

Cheers Flore, and good luck with your new business.  One day we may actually get you drinking a proper British pint!


Monthly movie star menus direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!