When workroom habitué Melissa Thomson's grandmother wanted to bake during the Second World War, she used a recipe that Thomson and family still use today. "It's called the wartime cake," Thomson says, "because the use of eggs and milk and butter were rationed during the World War 2 , so they came up with the creative, science-experiment technique of baking soda and vinegar to make it rise instead of the usual expensive characters like eggs." The wartime cake recipe is still a family favourite.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together one and a half cups of all-purpose flour, one cup of sugar, one-third of a cup of cocoa, one teaspoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of salt.
Then, add half a cup of vegetable oil, a cup of cold water, a tablespoon of vanilla and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Mix together until smooth, and then bake in a greased pan for about 30 minutes.
To prepare an optional sauce to serve with the cake, melt half a pound of bittersweet chocolate, three-quarters of a cup of water or milk and half a tablespoon of vanilla.