This recipe came about after much time looking for baking recipes that use no eggs or dairy to make for someone with a dietary intolerance. I also wanted to avoid the need for "substitute" products. The initial idea came from an obscure recipe found on an American vegan website. This recipe is so easy, and has become such a favourite, that I now bake it for people without allergies. My next challenge is to make it with the perfect combination of gluten-free flours, and thus create an "almost" allergen free chocolate cake.

- Felicity O'Driscoll from Cook the Books

2¼ c plain flour

3 tbs cocoa

1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger


1½ tsp salt

1½ cup sugar

1½ tsp baking soda

1 cup canola (or other plain un-flavoured cooking oil)

1¼ cup water

3 tbs red wine vinegar

1½ tsp vanilla essence



Heat oven to 180C.


Line the base and sides of a 23cm ring tin or 20cm round tin. This makes quite a tall cake - use a larger tin if you like.


Sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, ginger and salt into a bowl big enough to mix the cake in.


Thoroughly mix through the sugar, and form a well in the centre. Put the baking soda in the well.


Combine all liquid ingredients in a jug.


Pour liquids into the well, so the baking soda fizzes up and dissolves. Mix with a whisk until combined with no lumps but do not over mix.


Pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. It pays to turn the cake once during cooking. If you are not baking the cake for someone with egg/dairy intolerance, you can stud the top with about 25g of chocolate pieces before baking.


Once cooled, remove from tin and dust with icing sugar.


It makes a nice dessert to serve with fresh berries and yoghurt.

* Supplied by Cook the Books Kitchen Workshops,