I’ve come across this recipe a few times, they call it Crazy Cake, Crazy Wacky Cake, Wacky Cake, or Depression Cake. I think they call it “crazy or wacky” now because it doesn’t have eggs or milk in it, but originally during the Great Depression and during war-time they had little to work with and had to be creative with what they had. Pretty impressive. It’s similar to War Cake, where they made cake with no egg, milk, and virtually no fat, and they used raisins to add sweetness if they did not have enough sugar.
I found the recipe for Crazy Cake in The Gasparilla Cookbook.
I’ve read that the recipe can be modified to gluten-free, using 1 cup brown rice flour, 1 cup white rice flour, 1/3 cup tapioca starch, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1 tsp. xanthan gum.
To make this cake vegan, use vegetable oil instead of butter.
6 tablespoons butter (if you don’t have butter or you want to make this vegan, you can use vegetable oil)
1 1/2 cups flour (sift before measuring)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt (you could probably reduce this to 1/2 a teaspoon)
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Melt butter in a 10″ un-greased pan. Sift dry ingredients into the pan. Pour water with vanilla added over the top. Swirl in the pan with a fork until blended. Pour 1 tablespoon vinegar over top. Swirl with fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
I put together the ingredients into larger baking pan, because the one I had looked overwhelmed by the amount of dry ingredients, I didn’t want it to go over the sides in the oven, it is probably an 8″ which might be why it looked too full.
I made three wells in the dry ingredients to add the vinegar, oil, and vanilla, and then poured water over it. And then mixed it with a fork for a good while to get all the dry spots mixed in well.
I didn’t have cocoa powder, but checked the pantry and found Ghiradelli chocolate chips. I put a small amount into a pyrex cup with a few drops of vegetable oil and microwaved for 30 secs. took it out, stirred well, and microwaved it again for 20 more seconds. Everything was melted. I added it to the cake mix, and stirred it in well.
I tasted the mixture (since it has no eggs), and it tasted okay, I thought the vinegar would be more noticeable, and it wasn’t.
The cake was incredibly moist. It cooked in exactly 30 minutes. I let it cool, then covered it with foil and put it in the fridge for a few hours. We cut it and added some ice cream and cool whip.
It tasted really good to me, but, my husband said he could smell/taste some vinegar when he sampled the cake by itself. He ate a second piece, and he said it wasn’t that bad, but it had a peculiar taste to it. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being no strange taste, and 10 being really weird, he said it was about a 3. I guess it you absolutely hate the smell or taste of vinegar then you might have some issues with it. I might want to try an apple cider vinegar instead, that usually isn’t as bad tasting as the plain white vinegar.
Overall, I was truly amazed that you can make a decent cake without eggs or milk, and the consistency was fantastic. I will definitely use this recipe again, but try another type of vinegar next time. Everyone should try this recipe at least once to see how they like it.