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Vinegar Cake – an Egg-Free Fruit Cake

Vinegar Cake

Large Cakes | 24th June 2012 | By

Vinegar in a cake? Well yes, it helps to make this egg-free fruit cake rise in a rather spectacular fashion. The vinegar cake has a nice soft crumb and is pleasantly fruity as well as malty with an unexpected sort of sprightliness about it.

Ros chose V for Alpha Bakes this month, oh my goodness! Other than Vanilla and Victoria sandwich, I wasn’t having many ideas and although vanilla is fantastic, it’s such a common ingredient in cakes, I wanted something a little different. I’ve seen Viennese whirls popping up all over the place which is a great idea, but again not quite what I was looking for.

So I turned to trusty Pam Corbin in her wonderful book Cakes and there it was at the bottom of the V list, Vinegar Cake. Traditionally, it was made by farmer’s wives when their hens were off lay. So it’s an eggless fruit cake and it comes from East Anglia. I changed things of course and added a few ingredients not mentioned in Pam’s recipe.

Vinegar Cake

There’s quite a lot of fun to be had with this fruit cake. I watched in awe as the milk and vinegar mixture whooshed up when I added the bicarbonate of soda. It reminded me of one of those school science lessons which probably no longer occur due to health and safety reasons. Whatever the underlying chemistry of it all, it worked and the cake rose really well.

I used 1 tbsp mesquite powder and 1 tbsp maca powder, placed them on the scales then added plain flour to make the weight up to 250g. But I’ve omitted these from the recipe below.

As dried fruit is really plenty sweet enough already, I’ve only added a couple of spoonfuls of golden syrup to the mix. There is a little demerara sugar scattered over the top too. I used a mix of sultanas, raisins, chopped dried apples, goji berries and homemade crystallised orange peel.

Surprisingly, the taste of vinegar is only noticeable by its absence. It has a fabulous crunchy top and is lovely if you serve it warm with clotted cream or ice-cream. I’m not a fan of heavy fruit cakes, but this was just about right, plenty of fruit but plenty of cake too.

CT is also not a fan of heavy fruitcakes, which he associates with being dense, dry and desiccated with bucket loads of horrible mixed peel. This one, he opined, was pleasantly fruity with an unexpected sort of spritliness about it. It has a nice soft crumb and tastes slightly malty which I put down to the mesquite I added. We both felt thoroughly virtuous eating this because of the healthful properties of the maca I also included.

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Vinegar Cake – The Recipe

Vinegar Cake
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Vinegar Cake

Vinegar in a cake? Well yes, it helps to make this egg-free fruit cake rise in a rather spectacular fashion. It has a nice soft crumb and is pleasantly fruity as well as malty with an unexpected sort of sprightliness about it.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Afternoon Tea, Dessert
Cuisine: British
Keyword: cake, dried fruit, fruit cake, vinegar
Servings: 12 slices
Calories: 427kcal

Ingredients

  • 250 g plain flour (I used 1 tbsp mesquite powder and 1 tbsp maca powder, placed them on the scales then added plain flour to make the weight up to 250g)
  • 250 g wholemeal flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 g unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
  • 500 g dried fruit (I used a mix of sultanas, raisins, chopped dried apples, goji berries and homemade crystallised orange peel)
  • 50 g dark chocolate - chopped (I used Maya Gold, Green & Blacks orange spiced)
  • 300 ml milk + 1 tbsp for mixing
  • 50 ml cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

Instructions

  • Sift the flours (along with mesquite and / or maca if using) into a bowl along with the salt.
  • Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Stir in the dried fruit and chocolate.
  • Pour the milk into a large jug or bowl and add the vinegar.
  • In a cup, stir the bicarbonate of soda into 1 tbsp of milk until dissolved.
  • Add this to the milk mixture and watch in amazement as it froths up and up and up.
  • Pour onto the dry ingredients together with 2 tbsp golden syrup and mix until just incorporated.
  • Spoon into a 23cm round silicone cake mould or lined tin and smooth the top.
  • Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and bake at 170℃ (338℉, Gas 3) for 50 minutes, or until the cake is risen and an inserted toothpick comes out more or less clean.
  • Leave to cool for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely - if you can wait that long.

Notes

Please note: calories and other nutritional information are per serving. They're approximate and will depend on exact ingredients used.

Nutrition

Calories: 427kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 38mg | Sodium: 124mg | Potassium: 451mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 457IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 3mg

Sharing

Alpha Bakes is a monthly blogging challenge where a random letter is picked from the alphabet which then inspires the theme of the bake. It’s hosted alternately by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes.

48 Comments

  1. DollyBakes

    24th June 2012 at 7:27 am

    Ooh I love the idea of this cake!!! x

    Reply
    • Choclette

      24th June 2012 at 9:26 am

      Thank you, It is a very tasty cake, though I say it myself 😉

      Reply
  2. Suelle

    24th June 2012 at 8:29 am

    This sounds delicious! I’m beginning to realise there’s a whole world of new cakes which will open up when my CT leaves home!

    Are you sure it’s not the maca powder which made the cake ‘sprightly’? I’ve just looked up what it is and one reference was for increased libido! LOL!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      24th June 2012 at 9:25 am

      Oh Suelle, I nearly fell off my chair laughing, thank you so much for brightening up my morning 🙂

      Is your CT going to be leaving home soon?

      Reply
  3. Janice

    24th June 2012 at 8:34 am

    No idea what mesquite or maca powder are, will have to look them up.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      24th June 2012 at 9:27 am

      Well I like to keep you all guessing sometimes Janice 😉

      Reply
  4. fiona maclean

    24th June 2012 at 8:39 am

    as janice said! BUT, just wanted to add, trust you to find a fruit cake with CHOCOLATE!!!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      24th June 2012 at 9:28 am

      No, no Fiona, I didn’t find a fruit cake with chocolate, that bit was all my idea 😀

      Reply
  5. Juliet

    24th June 2012 at 9:25 am

    Say Whaaat? Vinegar cake sounds awesome – and could be a great standby for when my vegetarian-vegan-swinging sister-in-las stops by. I never know which side of the meat free knife she’s on, so this is good for being better safe than sorry!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 10:24 am

      Thanks Juliet. Beware of vegan, it may have no eggs, but it does have butter, so you’d need to substitute with oil – don’t see why that wouldn’t work though.

      Reply
  6. manu

    24th June 2012 at 9:43 am

    OMG never heard vinegar cake…I should give it a try!! Happy Sunday

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 10:25 am

      Manu, give it a try – it’s worth it just for the whoosh!

      Reply
  7. Dom at Belleau Kitchen

    24th June 2012 at 11:09 am

    mmm… I love a cake that is more pudding than cake… i’ve just made one in fact but never made anything like this with vinegar… sounds very ‘make-do-and-mend’ like the kind of thing done in the war… looks delicious!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 10:26 am

      Yes Dom, it does sound like a war cake, although I wonder what they’d have done about the goji berries 😉

      Reply
  8. Katie

    24th June 2012 at 12:24 pm

    Never seen a cake quite like this before and filled with such an array of tasty and interesting ingredients. What is mesquite? I thought it was a smokey wood used in BBQ sauce, but am sure you didn’t add wood chippings to the cake 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 11:49 am

      Hi Katie, mesquite is a Mexican bush growing in the dessert that produces a bean. This can be used in baking as a part substitute for flour and provides a nutty, sweet almost butterscotch flavour. Strangely wood chips don’t really do it for me 😉

      Reply
  9. Phil in the Kitchen

    24th June 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I’ve seen recipes for vinegar cakes in a number of old recipe books and I’ve often wondered what they’d be like but never got around to making one. It looks really good – and there’s something very pleasing about a traditional fruit cake.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 11:52 am

      Phil, I’d love to have a browse around your recipe books, sounds as though you have some real gems there. I’d say it would be hard to tell there were no eggs in the cake – all very interesting.

      Reply
  10. The Caked Crusader

    24th June 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I’ve wanted to make a vinegar cake but the name has always put me off. Seeing how lovely yours looks I will have to reconsider!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 11:59 am

      Oh don’t let the name deter you CC, it’s a fascinating process and I really couldn’t taste the vinegar in this one.

      Reply
  11. Laura loves cakes

    24th June 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Vinegar is definitely the most original ‘V’ I’ve seen! I went for the Viennese Whirls but then made a second bake with vodka! This looks great and I want to make it, mainly so I can get the bicarb to fizz up…simple things and all that!! 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Laura the fizz is really good fun and I reckon vodka is pretty original too 🙂

      Reply
  12. Green Dragonette

    24th June 2012 at 7:24 pm

    What an intriguing recipe! Mesquite powder-where did you find this??

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Ahh, I stock up with all things weird and wonderful whenever I visit Totnes – Greenlife, it’s a great store if ever you’re passing that way. I think they have an online service too.

      Reply
  13. Baking Addict

    24th June 2012 at 10:57 pm

    I had to look up mesquite powder and maca powder too! Thanks for entering this to AlphaBakes – a brilliant use of ‘V’!! I’m pleased to hear that you can’t taste the vinegar. Please send me a slice 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 3:43 pm

      Hehe Ros, I wouldn’t have been best pleased if it had tasted strongly of vinegar – I am not a fan. Slice on it’s way 😉

      Reply
  14. CorrieCooks

    25th June 2012 at 5:57 am

    This is definitely one for me to try…the chemical reaction of the fizzing replaces the need for the raising agent in eggs, of which I have a couple of recipes. Thanks for another! 🙂

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 3:46 pm

      You’re welcome Corrie, presumably, this would work with most cakes. It was certainly fun watching the fizzing process.

      Reply
  15. Debby

    25th June 2012 at 6:45 am

    Vinegar cake…oh that sounds unusual…I’ve never heard of that one before…

    It’s really good to hear about an eggless cake as I’m on the look out for vegan recipes at the moment and possibly I could substitute butter with coconut butter or olive oil…Haven’t heard of Mesquite or maca powder I must do some research…

    Thanks for sharing this interesting recipe…
    Deb

    Reply
    • Choclette

      25th June 2012 at 3:49 pm

      Hi Deb. I’ve made a vegan chocolate cake before using balsamic vinegar, which was good. I’ve got a few vegan recipes on my site if you look at the vegan label down the side or do a search in the search box. Nonnettes are another eggless cake, which are one of my favourites at the moment, though have no idea how it would work with oil. this fruit cake would be fine with oil I’d have thought.

      Reply
  16. thelittleloaf

    25th June 2012 at 8:13 am

    When I read the title I was slightly dubious about this cake, but it’s only a small amount of vinegar and I think slightly undersells what looks like an absolutely gorgeous fruit cake. Definitely more exciting than vanilla!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      26th June 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Hehe, it’s a great title – nothing more likely to put you off, well perhaps a few things, but you know what I mean 😉 But I liked the title, it makes you do a double take.

      Reply
  17. laura@howtocookgoodfood

    25th June 2012 at 4:22 pm

    A very clever choice for your “v” entry and one I would jump at the chance to try. I adore vinegar and all sour sharp tastes. I know it would not be an obvious kick in this recipe but I am sure it adds another dimension and one which is novel to me!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      26th June 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Thanks Laura. I’ve made a vegan chocolate cake using balsamic vinegar which turned out well, but it didn’t use the same method as this. Yes, I’m happy to go with the extra dimension – vinegar is a great ingredient to lots of things.

      Reply
  18. Gloria

    25th June 2012 at 5:40 pm

    look really yummy!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      26th June 2012 at 5:47 pm

      Thanks Gloria – it’s actually a surprisingly good fruit cake.

      Reply
  19. Caroline

    25th June 2012 at 7:30 pm

    That looks great – I too had that one bookmarked for this challenge but ran out of time, and also had an excess of eggs – not a great cake to be baking when too many eggs are the problem!!! Good to know it’s a nice light fruitcake – I’ll try and remember to bake it next time I need cake and eggs are not forthcoming. It’s always fun to see chemistry in action in baking isn’t it – I keep meaning to make honeycomb for this reason alone!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      26th June 2012 at 5:49 pm

      Oh C, you mean it wasn’t just me 😉 I had far more success with this fizzing up than I ever do with honeycomb, it was fun to watch.

      Reply
  20. cakeboule

    25th June 2012 at 8:50 pm

    I agree with the res never heard of vinegar cake but glad to see it has not eggs in it as I have been looking for eggless cakes and not found any yet – perfect timing!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      26th June 2012 at 5:52 pm

      Ahh cakeboule, this is a good tasty fruit cake, but do check out the nonnettes I’ve made. They are also eggless and are my favourite cake at the moment – I’ve done two different ones and both were delicious. I’ve also done a few vegan cakes which turned out well. If you’re interested, you’ll find them under the vegan tab down the side.

      Reply
  21. Johanna GGG

    26th June 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I’ve never heard a cake called vinegar cake but I have quite a few cake recipes with vinegar in them – as I understand it the vinegar balances the baking powder or helps it rise or something so it all makes sense when you understand the chemistry (which obviously I would fail if this were a school test) – and what fruit cake cannot be improved by chocolate – sounds lovely

    Reply
    • Choclette

      26th June 2012 at 5:57 pm

      Hi Johanna, yes it has a similar effect to yogurt being used with bicarb – it’s the alkali reacting with the acid.

      Reply
  22. Working London Mummy Working London Mummy

    27th June 2012 at 9:44 pm

    V is for very clever and interesting! well done on this. Cookign really is like chemistry!

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th February 2013 at 9:18 pm

      Thank you, I like the sound of that V 😉

      Reply
  23. Wendy@The Omnivorous Bear

    29th June 2012 at 9:35 am

    Wow! I am going to give this a try… though I may have trouble sourcing mesquite. This looks fascinating – I can’t wait to have a traditional English afternoon tea party. This would be a great addition.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th February 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Did you ever try it Wendy? The mesquite is my own addition and can quite happily be substituted with flour.

      Reply
  24. Lucy Taylor

    7th February 2013 at 6:11 am

    MMM love fruitcakes! Will try this one when my friend comes to stay as she has an egg allergy.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      9th February 2013 at 9:17 pm

      Thanks Lucy, it’s always handy to have something up one’s sleeve for such occasions.

      Reply

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