Not one of Solskjaer’s starting line-up from Saturday’s defeat at Wolves featured in the visitors’ 18-man squad.
But it did not take long for his inexperienced side to settle before taking a 26th-minute lead with a terrific strike from Joe Ralls.
The 20-year-old robbed Michael O’Connor, took a touch and drove a low left-footed shot from 20 yards which flashed inside Chris Neal’s left-hand post.
O’Connor did make amends in stunning style in the 34th minute after Juan Cala fouled Tom Pope fully 40 yards from goal.
He took Simon Moore by surprise with a fiercely struck right-footed shot which the visiting goalkeeper could only paw into the top right-hand corner of his net.
Javi Guerra went close to restoring Cardiff’s lead in the final minute of an entertaining first half and it was no surprise when the slick visitors did score again on the hour.
Declan John whipped a low cross from the left across the six-yard box and Federico Macheda side-footed a simple finish in at the far post.
And Macheda rolled in his second 11 minutes from time when he took Guerra’s pass in his stride, neatly side-stepped the onrushing Neal and finished from eight yards.
Macheda almost completed a hat-trick two minutes from time when his curling shot came back off the crossbar.
Michael Brown drove home a stoppage-time consolation when his shot from 16 yards beat Moore inside his right-hand post, but the final scoreline flattered Vale.