*We think the chocolate flavor of this cake is enhanced when coffee is used in place of water, but water may absolutely be used. The coffee can be your favorite light to medium roast, or a bolder brew if you prefer. My grandmother’s original Depression-era recipe called for water, less cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. When using water instead of coffee, I recommend using the full tablespoon of vinegar to achieve the proper acidity and resulting rise.
A few more things:
•You can double the recipe and bake it in two 9-inch round pans to create a layer cake.
•Some people mix the ingredients right in the baking pan, but I think it’s easier to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients in a mixing bowl－and less messy, too!
•One friend with whom I shared this recipe likes to sprinkle about ⅓ cup of chocolate chips over the top before baking. She has also added the chips upon removing the cake from the oven, allowing them to soften for several minutes before spreading the melted chips over the surface of the cake like icing.