Chocolate War Cake

Photo: Jason Little / Food Styling: Johanna Brannan Lowe
In celebration of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Centennial, our recipe developers revamped popular dishes from the early 1900s. Flavor updates and healthful tweaks transform these meals into modern-day favorites. Check out other “Vintage Vittles” recipes here.

This vegan dessert omits ingredients that were rationed during World War I: butter, milk and eggs.

Servings: 16
Serving size: 1 2-by-2-inch square (50 grams)
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole-wheat flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup (80 milliliters) canola oil
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, cocoa powder, salt, sugar and baking soda.
  3. In a separate small bowl, stir together apple cider vinegar and water.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in vanilla extract and oil.
  5. Drizzle the vinegar-water mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to form a smooth batter.
  6. Add chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  7. Pour batter into an oiled 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until cake is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and allow the cake to cool.
  9. Slice into 16 squares and serve.

Nutrition per serving: CALORIES 151; TOTAL FAT 6g; SAT. FAT 1g; CHOL. 0mg; SODIUM 159mg; CARB. 24g; FIBER 1g; SUGARS 13g; PROTEIN 2g; POTASSIUM N/A; PHOSPHORUS N/A

Note: Nutrition information for potassium and phosphorus in dark chocolate chips not available.

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Alexandra Caspero
Alexandra Caspero, MA, RD, CLT, is a registered dietitian and nutrition expert with a passion for health and wellness. Alex is a nationally recognized nutritionist and appears regularly on TV, print and social media. She was most recently featured in Runner's World, Men's Health, Fitness, Shape Magazine & Vogue. As the campus dietitian, director of wellness and adjunct instructor at University of the Pacific, Alex teaches what she preaches. Through innovative programs and services, Alex inspires students to become their healthiest selves. Her blog, DelishKnowledge, focuses on making whole-food eating deliciously simple. Alex also dishes out delicious tips to her thousands of social media followers.