Vintage Recipe: Wacky Cake

Here's a vintage recipe for wacky cake, or crazy cake, no eggs or butter!

Wacky Cake, also known as Crazy Cake, or even Crazy Wacky Cake, was coined as such because the recipe does not use eggs nor butter. Rationing was a very real and serious thing during wartime, and many ingredients we find common today, such as eggs, butter, sugar and milk were all in pretty short supply. That left home bakers with the dilemma of creating desserts with limited, and often crucial ingredients. I find vintage recipes are often fascinating, and the stories behind their creation are wonderful! The secret to this cake is the last minute combination of vinegar and baking soda, which together are used as leavening, much like that volcano you made in science class when you were a kid.

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Vintage Recipe: Wacky Cake - @amandaformaro Amanda's Cookin'

Knowing that this cake was born out of necessity, I often wonder if my grandmother made things like this. My father was born in the 1940’s, which of course was the height of wartime. I wonder if my dad would remember eating Wacky Cake? Or if that recipe ever made it to England where they lived?

Vintage recipe for wacky cake or crazy cake, no eggs and no butter!

If you decide to try this, be sure to follow the instructions, which include making little wells in the dry ingredients and placing certain liquids in each one.

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make 3 wells in the dry ingredients

The scientific combination of the baking soda and vinegar will cause the cake to rise. Deviating from the recipe instructions may not yield the results you want. Aside from being a fun experiment, this is a great recipe for those with egg sensitivities, and using oil instead of butter for the fat allows you the opportunity to use your favorite oil, or even something like coconut oil as an alternative.

Crazy Cake, also known as Wacky Cake, is a vintage recipe without eggs or butter!

I used canola oil and have not experimented with anything else. Please do let me know your results if you do!

You can find my recipe for Crazy Wacky Cake here on Recipe Lion.


  1. sue buresh says

    I can remember my mom making this cake when I was a child. This would of been back in the late ’40s

  2. Allen Vergakis says

    Since I’m wacky, this will go nicely with me. I love the image of your father and grandmother, thank you.

  3. R Ward says

    This cake has been around longer than the 40’s – I got it from someone who clipped it from a Winnipeg Manitoba newspaper in the mid 30’s…a depression era cake. She always made it with a brown sugar fudge frosting (sometimes called penuche) and I still make it, and when I do everyone loves it. My brother-in-laws Mother used to make it too, got the recipe from her mother when she married in the early 40s. – also lived in Manitoba at the time, so I have always thought of it as a “Prairie” recipe. The prairies were hard-hit in the depression so this would have been a cheap meal. Also doesn’t require a lot of beating, as with a butter cake, and in the days of no mixers this was a godsend.
    I doubt it was made much in England in the 40’s – everything was rationed, sugar and cocoa were hard to get. Don’t think they made many sweets at all. (Sugar reserved for their tea!)
    This has always been a “first lesson in cooking” for any child who ventures into my kitchen since it is all done in one pan, just a fork for mixing, and an easy way to teach a child to stir. Even pre-schoolers can manage it.
    Incidentally, I never find I have to make the separate indentations for the vinegar etc.. Just add the vinegar last.

    • says

      Awesome information thanks so much for sharing it R Ward! Everything I had found only dated back to the 40s. Maybe it was popularized in the 40s? :) Adding the vinegar last makes total sense too as it’s the vinegar and baking soda combo that really matters. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience of this recipe!

  4. Kate Riker says

    We used to ice this recipe with peanut butter icing on this with crunchy peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar and a little milk.

  5. says

    With the war going on ,We were so hungry for cake we would have eaten any cake. But this was good,, I think after reading about this cake it made me want to enjoy to again.I remember traveling by bus with my sister many time to see if we could get to the store before it they sold out of sugar and many times they were.. So, after having this cake that needed no sugar. it became one of our favorites.

  6. Beverly says

    This is a family favorite. I make it all the time and we have always called it the Farm Cake and frost it with peanut butter frosting. I have even doubled the recipe and put it in a 13×9 pan. It comes put perfect every time. It is always requested for our family reunion.

  7. Shannon Kruger says

    My daughter recently make this cake in home economics class. She said all the mixing was done in the baking pan. Less clean up!!! Very tasty cake! I still prefer the old baking powder and egg recipes, but I think it’s a great lesson about how people did things in the old days!!

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