CRAZY CAKE

May 6, 2013

I did not develop this recipe, and I’m pretty sure no one alive did because it has been around since The Great Depression! In modern times it has come to be known as “Crazy Cake” or “Wacky Cake,” largely because the baking process is pretty out-of-the ordinary.

This dessert was made during war-time and The Great Depression because it doesn’t require milk, eggs, or butter – ingredients that were scarce and expensive. Plus, you don’t even need a bowl to make it; the ingredients are combined in the pan it is baked in!

For all this craziness, you might expect the cake to turn out decent, but it surpassed my expectations by a long shot! Even with the missing ingredients, it is super moist & rich.

Update: Andddd, it’s vegan too!

Crazy Cake from Rachel Schultz

CRAZY CAKE
Serves 9

1 and 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water
1 batch thick chocolate frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 baking dish. (Double recipe to use a 9×13 pan). Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in pan and stir. Create 2 small and 1 large depression in the surface of dry ingredients. Pour vanilla and vinegar into a small depression and vegetable oil into the large. Pour water over surface and stir until batter forms. Bake for 35 minutes.

Crazy Cake from Rachel Schultz

5.0 from 1 reviews
crazy cake
 
Author:
Serves: 9
Ingredients
  • 1 and ½ cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Thick chocolate frosting (link above)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8x8 baking dish. (Double recipe to use a 9x13 pan).
  3. Combine flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt in pan and stir.
  4. Create 2 small and 1 large depression in the surface of dry ingredients.
  5. Pour vanilla and vinegar into a small depression and vegetable oil into the large. Pour water over surface and stir until batter forms.
  6. Bake for 35 minutes.

 

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Comments

  • Debbie

    how long does the crazy cake bake for and at what temp :)
    thanks

  • I just found you on pinterest. Baked this recipe, and then featured you on my blog. Hope thats okay!!!! Because i freaking loved this. http://meanttobeamama.wordpress.com

  • Donna

    My previous post disappeared…let me try again. In the early 1970s a friend of mine made this yummy cake, and she put a custard-type topping on the cake. It was deeeeelicious! I have made the cake several times, but have never been able to find the recipe for the topping. Have you ever seen that kind of topping with this cake? Thank you!

    • Donna

      AH… now I see my first posting. Sorry to be a pest, but honest! It wasn’t there when I put up the second posting.

  • Donna

    One of my friends made this cake back in the early 1970’s. She used a yellow custard type topping over the whole cake. Does anyone know about the recipe for the custard topping?

  • LINDA MAE

    A GENTLEMAN FRIEND REMEMBERED THAT I MADE A CRAZY CAKE FOR HIM BACK IN THE 1960s WHEN WE USED TO DATE. HE SAID IT HAD VINEGAR IN IT. HE ASKED ME FOR THE RECIPE AND MADE IT SEVERAL TIMES FOR HIMSELF BACK THEN. LAST YEAR, AFTER MANY YEARS BETWEEN, WE HAVE STARTED GOING OUT TOGETHER AGAIN. MY MOTHER PASSED AWAY AND I HAVE NOT LOOKED IN THE RECIPE DRAWER YET FOR GREAT-GRANDMOTHER’S RECIPE. THIS WEEK HE FOUND THIS BLOG ONLINE AND SENT IT TO ME. THE CAKE IS IN THE OVEN THIS MINUTE AS IT SOUNDS JUST LIKE THE RECIPE THAT WE BOTH REMEMBER.

    • Anonymous

      Thats so cute i cant even .. Loved the history!

    • Thats so cute i cant even .. Loved the history!

  • sue

    Live in Spain and cannot buy white vinegar. Have some malt vinegar or I can get hold of wine vinegar — would either of these be okay?

    • Rachel Schultz

      Although I have not tried it, I would think so!

  • Merry

    My family used to enjoy a depression cake made almost the same as the crazy cake, using water,vinegar and oil, but it wasn’t a chocolate cake. The batter baked up to a dark brown and it had raisins and walnuts. The other recipes I ‘ve seen with raisins and walnuts had a light batter like a yellow cake. Can you help me figure out this recipe, my relatives that knew it have passed. Thank you for your time ! Merry.

  • Annette

    I read somewhere that you need the depressions to keep the baking soda and vinegar separate because they react very quickly. I couldn’t find an explanation for having the vanilla and oil separate. I’ve made 2 of these. One where I made the 3 depressions for the vanilla, oil and vinegar and the other where I just put in the vanilla and oil as usual and added the vinegar to the water. They turned out exactly the same. I brought some over to a neighbour and she said it was the best chocolate cake she had ever had. I’ve also made it using 1 Tbsp of pumpkin pie spice instead of the
    cocoa to get a nice spice cake.

    I don’t usually frost my cakes but if I want frosting, I whip together 1 package of instant pudding, 1 envelope of Dream Whip and 1/2 cup of water until it’s light and fluffy.

  • […] recipe that’s quickly becoming a signature of mine. It’s a recipe I adapted from a “crazy cake” recipe that was allegedly created during the Great Depression. I’ve changed it enough that […]

  • SHERRY PRITCHETT

    This brings back memories of a grandma I dearly miss. Back then I wasn’t into cooking and didn’t get to ask her the recipe and so I have been searching for one that looks close to hers. Your picture looks like hers and I really want to make it but I would like a recipe that has the chocolate icing with it . If you have one that looks like the picture I would like to get it and if not then if you have any info where to get one it would be greatly appreciated . thank you for the memories
    Sherry Pritchett

  • Rachel, I just found your blog this past week and I just LOVE it here. Can I move in? This cake looks divine, and I cannot wait to make it this weekend. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Kelly! Absolutely :)

  • Sarah

    Can you bake this in a bundt?

  • […] made during the depression when eggs, milk, and butter were harder to come by. Here's the recipe: chocolate cake Reply With […]

  • E.Conley

    This is perfect im cutting back on dairy, and using truvia in place of sugar. Going to a gluten free flour when i run out of the regular stuff. And it just enough cake for me, the boys dont like chocolate cake. Go figure. Got it in
    oven now :)

    • Rachel Schultz

      Good tip! Hope it’s great :)

  • Mary

    I make this ‘Wacky cake’ recipe all the time. Turns out great, regardless of whether I use regular flour or gluten-free. Most times it’s eaten before I get around to icing it LOL. Also make it into cupcakes for grandkids’ lunches. Have no problem with it sticking to the baking pan, but it will stick to the cupcake liners if I try to remove it when they are still warm. Definitely cheaper than using fancy cake mixes.

  • jenn Smith

    If you don’t add the cocoa will it just be vanilla cake? Not sure if you would have to add something else to the mix.

  • Anonymous

    I have been eating Whacky Cake for 15 years , living in Nebraska is well known.

  • Laura

    My mom makes this cake often. She calls it “Chocolate Eggless Cake”. It’s yummy even without frosting/icing.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Really? Cool, great to know.

  • Sandy

    I usually shortening/flour the bottom of my pans. My cake is currently in the oven. I found it frustrating making sure the batter was all combined and possibly lifted some of my grease from the bottom. I hope it doesn’t stick :/

  • Chris

    This has to be WAYYYYYY healthier than plain old chocolate cake, don’t you think? Either way, I say it is…just so I can make it and eat an entire row! Thanks Rachel!

    • Rachel Schultz

      You’re welcome. I agree!

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