Vinegar Cake – Recipe No 130

1940svinegarcake

Apart from being a bit crumbly, the vinegar cake was quite delicious! It was lovely with warm custard!

The vinegar cake was one of the recipes I re-created for the photo-shoot that took place last Sunday but I had forgotten to take a photo until I saw Sue’s comment and request today so quickly took a photo of the few slices I had left to add it to the wartime recipe archives.

And YES the vinegar cake really does have vinegar in it!

Vinegar Cake

  • 6 oz self-raising flour
  • 3 oz margarine
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 4 oz dried mixed fruit

Method

  1. Cream the margarine and sugar
  2. Sift the flour
  3. Pour milk into a basin and add the vinegar and bicarb of soda and the mixture will froth a bit
  4. Add this mixture and the sifted flour a bit at a time into the sugar/margarine mixture until all blended then add the dried fruit
  5. Pour into a greased and floured 1lb loaf tin and cook for about 45 minutes at 180C until golden brown all over.

14 thoughts on “Vinegar Cake – Recipe No 130

  1. Tried this recipe the other day and really liked it. It was easy to make but the only thing I would do different is soak the fruit in tea or something to moisten them, but otherwise a really good cake. Definitly on the favorites list.

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  2. I tried making these with my friend for a WW2 homework project (our teachers found the link) and this website proved EXTREMELY useful. Thank you so much! We tried making vinegar heart shaped cupcakes and they worked out really well. Again thank you!!!!! We didn’t think they would taste that nice but although they crumbled a lot we really enjoyed eating them and only had 2 left to bring in after we had eaten the rest. Since we did not have any dried fruit we did it with sliced almonds and surprisingly they made the cupcakes taste very good.

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  3. After a family visit to the Dad’s Army museum in Thetford, my 18 year old son insisted I made the vinegar cake, we loved it xx

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  4. FYI
    I would presoak the fruit (Earl Grey or Lady Grey Teas are both great for this) then squeeze out the excess before mixing with the other ingredients, it improves the texture of the cake which can be dry or crumbly.
    Also a lot of folk would be put off putting vinegar in a cake you can use any fruit acid such as lemon juice as it’s only there to activate the rising agent. if you prefer just use sour milk. buttermilk or plain yogurt instead of fresh milk & omit the vinegar altogether.

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  5. Hi Carolyn, wasn’t vinegar and water used in equal parts to replace yeast? Maybe Outlander would know? What a blessing if it works for now we are all trying desperately here to find yeast for sale, everyone is making bread during their isolatioon!

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    • The vinegar reacts with the baking soda in cakes (ie self raising flour) to give them a lift even before you start cooking them! 🙂 I’ve never tried in bread but it could theoretically be done if you added in baking powder or sodium bicarbonate to the strong plain or all-purpose flour. xxxxx

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      • In my experience it would not work as well using strong white flour, and it’s more expensive than self raising flour. If you are making bread with yeast you will find that it works best with coarse heavy flours. Usually breads made with rising agents other than yeast are soda breads (ie a scone recipe) made & baked quickly, whereas yeast baking takes time & lets face it, it’s worth the wait.

        A small tip when using yeast is to test it before you start the dough. To see if it is still active or live (fresh or dried) put a little into slightly sweetened blood heat water, it if froths up within 5-10 minutes then you can use it, if nothing happens then discard the yeast rather than waste the flour.

        Rising agents other than yeast are based on simple chemistry. You will find that the combination of just about any flour + rising agent + acid = will do amazing things, as it’s a chemical reaction.
        The acid can be in the form of any thing from buttermilk (best for scones) to any carbonated drink, to the vinegar in this recipe.

        For the best batter ever use equal measures of self raising flour whisked with any carbonated drink. Beer or lager is especially good with fish or fritter batter.

        Plain flour (wheat flour) is fine where as cornmeal (polenta) is coarse therefore the wheat flour will always produce a less dense product. For Corn tortillas the solution is to mix the two flours in equal proportions to produce a light puffy flat bread. The acid can be in the form of any thing from buttermilk (best for scones) to any carbonated drink to the vinegar in this recipe.

        Yeast works best with coarse heavy flours. A small tip when using yeast is to test it to see if it is still active or live by putting a little into slightly sweetened blood heat water, it if froths up within 5-10 minutes then you can use it, if nothing happens then discard the yeast rather than waste the flour.

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  6. Made this cake the other day but it didn’t come out of the tin very well – I think I tried to take it out to early as it was still a bit too warm and it broke apart – but it tasted absolutely delicious and reminded me if my grandmothers cakes – definately make this again 👍👍👍

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  7. I just made this (was curious to see how it differs from my post-war vinegar cake) – it comes out much smaller since it’s only got 6oz flour instead of 1lb, and only two-thirds the weight of fruit instead of equal quantities!
    My recipe suggested cooking for an hour in a 7-inch tin, but it was a little crusty, so I’m interested that your version says 45 minutes in a smaller tin, which might work better.

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