Wacky Cake (also called Crazy Cake), so named because it uses vinegar and no eggs, is perhaps the first cake I ever baked, and the only recipe my Mom really passed on to me. The first time she told me about it I was a little girl, and she fondly recalled baking it when she was a little girl at a time when I was lamenting the lack of eggs in the house. I immediately asked if she still had the recipe, because anything that had chocolate in it and had such a cool name had to be good. I was the designated family baker even at the age of nine, and I baked up this cake that night, much to my family’s delight.
It became popular during the depression, when eggs and butter were rationed and hard to come by, and many of us continue to enjoy it today because it is economical, delicious, and easy to make! I’ve made this cake many times over the years, including as the base for my vegan Mounds Cake, and was just about to use it as the base in another recipe when I realized I should probably give it a post of it’s own so I can link to it each time I post a recipe that uses it, rather than typing it out each time.
Many recipes for Wacky Cake make an 8×8″ pan, but this one will give you a 9×13 pan (or two 9″ round layers) full of chocolatey goodness. I’m also going to include a yummy vegan frosting recipe that goes really good on this cake. The cake is great just with a dusting of powdered sugar (I really like to eat it a little warm like this), but the shiny chocolate icing really puts it over the top. Enjoy!
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder*
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 cups cold water
*I use Dutch process cocoa powder because it makes a darker cake with more intense chocolate flavor, but you can use any kind you wish. Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder is available in most supermarkets, which works well here.
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and set aside. Sift all dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
Make three wells and put the oil in one, the vanilla in another and the vinegar in the last. Is this really necessary? I don’t know, I’ve never disobeyed the recipe. I like to think of it as keeping history alive. Our foremothers made Wacky Cake this way, so who am I to change it now?
Pour water over it all and mix until well blended. Look at all the bubbles as the vinegar interacts with the baking soda! This is the kind of science I can get behind.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack. Frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve. I love how dark it gets while baking–the magic of Dutch process cocoa!
You wouldn’t believe how moist and delicious a vegan cake can be! This is one of my hubby’s faves.
Now let’s frost Dennis’ piece…
Shiny Chocolate Icing
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ cup cocoa*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water or nondairy milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix sugars, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the coconut milk. Stirring constantly, heat over medium until it gets thick and starts to boil. Continue stirring and boil for 1-2 minutes or until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in oil and vanilla. Allow to cool to room temperature, then spread over the top of your cooled cake.
*Again, I used Dutch processed cocoa, but regular is fine.
Recipe source: I apologize to the originator of this recipe! I did not copy the source and since I changed it, I couldn’t locate it by entering the recipe words into Google. The original was very similar but called for water instead of milk. Both work great but I like using coconut milk.