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Crazy Cake

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Recipe adopted from Cuisine at Home magazine.  [Recipe makes (2) 8-inch rounds, or (28) standard-sized cupcakes].

Although this recipe goes by many odd names and variations (wacky cake, crazy cake, dump cake, and cockeyed cake to name a few), they are all different from your typical chocolate cake recipe due to the fact that no eggs or butter are used.  After doing a little research, I found out that these recipes were popular during the Great Depression, which explains the lack of these ingredients.

Now I've never been a huge fan of cake (with the obvious exception of carrot cake), but when I hear that crazy cake is on the menu at a family gathering, I make sure to save room.  It's that different from your standard yellow or chocolate cake.  In addition to being insanely easy to whip up (no KitchenAid needed), this cake stands out above others due to its moistness.  The worst thing in the world is a slice of cake that crumbles all over the place when you cut into it, and I assure you, this will not be a problem.  With ease and texture aside, yet another reason why this recipe takes the cake (sorry, guys) is the flavor.  By using a small amount of coffee, the cocoa balances out nicely, without being a coffee-flavored cake.  Combine this recipe with my recent go-to chocolate icing, and you have all you need to whip together the world's best chocolate cake.


14 1/4 ounces (~3 cups) all-purpose flour
14 ounces (~2 cup) sugar
1 1/2 ounces (~1/2 cups) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

2 cups water, warm
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Glossy chocolate icing, or an icing of your choice


Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease the bottoms and sides of two 8-inch round cake pans, place an 8-inch diameter piece of parchment paper in the bottom of each pan, and spray the tops of the papers.

Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl and combine with a whisk.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients, and add the water, oil, vinegar, coffee, and vanilla.  Whisk just until combined.

Divide the batter equally between the two pans.  [Side note:  If using a food scale, it will be roughly 1 lb 10 1/2 ounces in each pan].  Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center of each cake is firm to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes, and then invert them onto a wire cooling rack.  Cool completely before icing.  [Side note:  If you wish to make these ahead of time and ice later, let the cakes cool as directed, and then wrap them in plastic wrap followed by aluminum foil, and freeze.  Let them thaw slightly before icing].

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  1. looks like the perfect chocolate cake!

    1. Thank you Dina! It's been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember :)

  2. Awesome! This reminds me of a vegan cake I made once. I can't wait to try your recipe!
    (I'm here via foodgawker)

  3. Replies
    1. Good news Ashley - the new chocolate icing recipe I had mentioned was a success! I've updated the recipe to include the icing now. Best of luck!

  4. I have had this recipe since the 70's from my Home Economics teacher. Easy and delicious!

    1. That's awesome! My grandma had her own (very similar) variation of this recipe that's worked its way through the generations. I guess it's stood the test of time :)

  5. I have been making this cake for years for my grand son who has allergies and now that has outgrown some of them, he still requests it as it is the favorite.

  6. Can the icing be whipped up to fluff a little?

    1. Paula, I haven't tried it before, but I think it would work fine. I'd let it come down to room temperature first though (or cooler), before whipping.