A very similar recipe appeared in Peg Bracken's "I Hate To Cook Cookbook" as Cockeyed Cake, and I remember seeing another in one of the first Bake Off cookbooks (from the early 1950's). My family has been making Cockeyed Cake for 40+ years, and never had a failure that I can recall. THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF VINEGAR PROBABLY SHOULD BE 2 TABLESPOONS, NOT 2 TEASPOONS! YOU MAY ALSO TRY 2 TEASPOONS OF VANILLA. I also think that the preparation instructions may be causing some problems here. The original recipes were 1/2 this amount and were mixed in a 9" pan. THE DRY INGREDIENTS MUST BE SIFTED TOGETHER WELL BEFORE YOU ADD THE WET INGREDIENTS. You may want to do what the original recipes specified: Make three wells (one each for the vinegar, oil, and vanilla), then pour the cold water over all. When I make this, I generally use a bowl to mix the batter rather than the baking pan. It is easier to get the batter evenly mixed. Also, the vinegar activates the baking soda right away, so it is important to get the cake in the oven immediately.
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A very similar recipe appeared in Peg Bracken's "I Hate To Cook Cookbook" as Cockeyed Cake,...