Grandma's Depression-Era Chocolate Cake with Berries on a white trivet on top of a blue background

Gluten-Free Grandma’s Tried & True Chocolate Cake with Berries

I have an old recipe box filled with my grandmother’s mother’s and my recipes from over the years. It is like a culinary family record. The best part is the little notes my mother and grandmother would make on the recipes.

I found this old chocolate cake recipe from the Great Depression when eggs and milk were hard to come by. It used vinegar and baking soda to leaven the cake and per the notes is very moist and tender. I was intrigued.

I baked it using distilled vinegar as the recipe suggested and then again using Marukan’s Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar. The latter was a winner! The vinegar has a sweet, salty, acidic quality that worked beautifully with the cake. This got me thinking … how would berries macerated in this vinegar work? The answer? Perfectly!

To be honest, the berries and whipped cream together are addictive and could be eaten all alone. With the chocolate cake? Pure bliss!

This is a one bowl cake that is so easy and quick. Seriously, you need to try it!

A slice of Grandma's Depression-Era Chocolate Cake with Berries on a white plate on top of a bright blue counter

4.34 from 3 votes
Grandma's Depression-Era Chocolate Cake with Berries on a white trivet on top of a blue background
Print Recipe

Gluten-Free Grandma’s Tried & True Chocolate Cake with Berries Recipe

Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 441kcal
Author: Gluten Free & More


  • Gluten free non-stick cooking spray
  • cups gluten free flour blend
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Marukan Seasoned Gourmet Rice Vinegar , divided
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract , divided
  • 2 cups fresh berries , any kind
  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • tablespoons powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt, whisking well to eliminate lumps. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the water, oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Whisk to combine. Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until the edges are dry and have pulled bake from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in rack in the pan for 15 minutes the remove from pan and cool completely.
  • While the cake is baking, place the berries in a bowl, top with 1/3 cup vinegar, stir and let sit at room temperature. Stir occasionally.
  • When the cake is cooled, whip the cream with powdered sugar and teaspoons vanilla until soft peaks form.
  • Top the cooled cake with whipped cream, drain the berries, then place on top of the whipped cream.


Nutrition Facts
Gluten-Free Grandma’s Tried & True Chocolate Cake with Berries Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 441 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 18g90%
Cholesterol 61mg20%
Sodium 302mg13%
Potassium 99mg3%
Carbohydrates 51g17%
Fiber 4g16%
Sugar 31g34%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 674IU13%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 52mg5%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Disclaimer: All nutrition facts on Gluten Free & More are meant only as a guide and may differ depending on product brands used or ingredient substitutions. Some errors may occur, so you are encouraged to confirm the recipe’s ingredient and nutrition suitability for your own diet.
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Tags: Berries Cake Chocolate Marukan Vinegar
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