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.
Crazy Wacky Cake
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.
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 remember vintage recipes such as Watergate Salad, and Ambrosia Salad always accompanying the holiday table. It makes me wonder if my dad would remember eating Wacky Cake? Or if that recipe ever made it to England where they lived?
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.
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.
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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.
I used canola oil and have not experimented with anything else. Please do let me know your results if you do!
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- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup cold water
- powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In an 8-inch square baking pan, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa.
- Use a spoon to make three wells in the dry ingredients, one large well and two smaller wells. Pour the oil into the largest well, the vinegar into one of the smaller wells, and the vanilla into the last well. Pour the cold water over the top of everything and stir it all together with a fork.
- Immediately transfer pan to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Remove cake to a wire rack to cool. When cooled, cut into squares and sift powdered sugar over the top.