Crazy Cake – no butter, no eggs, no milk… no problem! This wartime vinegar cake, also known as Wacky Cake or Depression Cake is super easy to make, even if you have never baked before.
You will also love my Vegan Banana Bread
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Crazy times call for a Crazy Cake am I right? This wacky cake contains no butter, milk or eggs… yet it magically turns out moist and delicious. In fact one of the main ingredients is WATER, can you believe it?
Wacky Cake History
The crazy cake recipe has been passed from cook to cook for decades. No one seems to know exactly when it originated, but it is likely to date back to Word War II.
A cake with no dairy or eggs was probably created by necessity in a time when ingredients were scarce and I have a feeling it is about to become very popular again!
The cake is vegan (depending on frosting), dairy free, egg free and suitable for those with allergies. It is also crazy affordable, and so simple a child could make it. An excellent baking project for getting your little helpers onboard.
The list of crazy cake ingredients is very short! You will simply need
- All purpose flour (plain flour)
- Sugar – granulated or caster sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed) – try to use good quality dark cocoa powder it will make all the difference!
- Vegetable oil or melted margarine
- Vanilla extract
- Cider vinegar – vinegar here reacts with the baking soda to help the cake rise. I usually add vinegar to most of my vegan cake recipes
- Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and salt – I added a little cinnamon as well for an extra flavor boost… you could add a little espresso powder if you like!
- Water (no, really, water!)
- Icing sugar to dust or your choice of frosting (see below), sprinkles to decorate
HOW TO MAKE CHOCOLATE CRAZY CAKE
You don’t need a mixer to make this cake, in fact you might not even need a bowl! Traditional method calls for the dry ingredients to be mixed directly in the baking pan and you can do that if you like.
STEP 1 Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a greased 8 inch square cake tin. Make three depressions, one each for the oil, vinegar and vanilla.
STEP 2 Pour the water over everything and then beat together until you have a smooth, fairly thin batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
STEP 1 Put the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
STEP 2 Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt over the bowl then mix together using a balloon whisk until the batter is smooth and lump free.
STEP 3 Pour the batter into a greased and lined 8 inch pan and bake for 35 minutes until the cake is risen and springy to the touch. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean and dry.
You can serve your wacky cake simply dusted with powdered sugar, warm with some vanilla ice cream or you can add your choice of frosting, such as buttercream or ganache.
I have made a very simple frosting using chocolate and condensed milk (actually vegan condensed milk which is made with coconut).
Simply put the condensed milk in a bowl and add chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until the chocolate melts and frosting is smooth.
Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides.
Add sprinkles or any decorations you can think of. How about some mini eggs seeing as Easter is around the corner?
What does chocolate crazy cake taste like? It’s an unpretentious cake but very moist and delicious. The flavour will depend on the quality of your cocoa powder – try adding a teaspoon of espresso powder to intensify the chocolate taste.
The cake will keep well at room temperature for a few days but it is best eaten on the day you bake it, soon as it has cooled down.
Store the cake in the fridge if you add cream cheese frosting or any frosting containing fresh cream.
Chocolate Crazy Cake
- 1 cup (240ml) water
- ⅓ cup ( 80ml) vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups (175g) all purpose flour (plain flour)
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon or instant coffee
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup (90g) dark chocolate chips or any chocolate bar, chopped small
- ½ cup (150g) condensed milk or vegan coconut condensed milk
- chocolate buttons, mini eggs, M&Ms whatever you have to hand
- Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Spray an 8inch cake tin with cake release (or grease with butter) and line the base with greaseproof paper.
- Put the water, vegetable oil, vinegar, vanilla in a mixing bowl.
- Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt over bowl.
- Use a balloon whisk to mix together until you have a smooth batter.
- Pour the batter to your prepared tin.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake is risen, springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Leave the cake in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out to a wire rack to cool, right side up.
- Put the condensed milk and chocolate chips in a small bowl. Microwave for 30-40 seconds and stir until the chocoalte melts and glaze is smooth.
- Drizzle the chocolate glaze over the cake letting it drip down the sides. Decorate with sprinkles or whatever decorations you like!
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