Wacky Cake is an easy cake recipe made without any eggs or dairy – making it “wacky”! This cake has been around since the Depression Era when ingredients were scarce. And there’s a reason that it has stood the test of time – it’s a tasty, moist cake that is super simple to make!
What is Wacky Cake?
I’ve actually been hearing about Wacky Cake from my mom for years now. It’s one that she made as a kid and always remembered. I personally had never tried it, but with the times as they are right now and ingredients being harder to get (and in our case you’re only allowed to buy a certain amount), it seemed like a good time to try it out!
So what makes Wacky Cake unique?
- It uses no eggs or dairy
- You don’t need a mixer – and you actually mix it right in the pan it’s baked it
- No need to grease the cake pan
It seems wacky, but it totally works! And it actually makes a great cake. You’d never know that it’s missing several of the traditional cake ingredients. The cake was created during a time when ingredients were scarce during the Great Depression, but it’s also a great cake if you have an egg or diary allergy.
How to Make Wacky Cake
To make a Wacky Cake, you’ll combine your flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a 9×13 baking pan. And there’s no need to grease it.
Make three little wells in the dry ingredients – one larger and 2 smaller. You’ll add the oil to the large well and the vanilla extract and vinegar to the smaller wells.
Then pour the cup of water evenly over the entire pan and use a fork or whisk to mix it all together.
Now, it’s time to bake it! Super simple!
What Kind of Frosting Goes with Wacky Cake?
You’ll find all kinds of frosting used on Wacky Cakes and you really can’t go wrong. I added a quick chocolate frosting that is actually cooked on the stove to mine. It has kind of an old-school vibe in my opinion, which seemed to fit well with this cake. It’s not a traditional buttercream and ends up kind of fudgy, which I love. But you could even go super simple and dust the cake with powdered sugar or check out one of these options:
- Classic Chocolate Buttercream
- Fudgy Chocolate Buttercream
- Easy Vanilla Buttercream
- Chocolate Ganache
- Or even this Non-diary Chocolate Frosting
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 12-15 slices
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American
Wacky Cake is made without any eggs or dairy – making it “wacky”! It’s a cake that’s been around since the Depression Era when ingredients were scarce. And there’s a reason that it has stood the test of time – it’s a tasty, moist cake that is super easy to make!
- 3 cups (390g) all purpose flour
- 2 cups (414g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (57g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp vinegar
- 3/4 cup (180ml) vegetable oil
- 2 cups (480ml) water
- 11 tbsp (154g) unsalted butter
- 6 tbsp (90ml) milk
- 5 tbsp (35g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 4 cups (460g) powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt to an ungreased 9×13 inch baking pan and gently whisk together to combine. Spread mixture evenly in pan.
3. Make three wells in the dry ingredients – one larger and two smaller. Add the oil to the larger well and the vanilla extract and vinegar to the other two wells..
4. Pour the water evenly over the entire pan of ingredients, then use a whisk or fork to gently combine everything together.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Allow cake to cool, then make the frosting.
7. For the frosting, add the butter, milk and cocoa powder to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a simmer.
8. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk until everything is nice and smooth, then immediately pour the frosting over the cake and spread into an even layer. The frosting starts to set quickly, so you want to work fast. If adding sprinkles on top, have them handy and ready to go, or they won’t stick to the frosting well once it begins to firm up.
9. Allow frosting to cool, then serve.
- Serving Size: 1 slice
- Calories: 503
- Sugar: 58.5 g
- Sodium: 485.3 mg
- Fat: 20.2 g
- Carbohydrates: 80.8 g
- Protein: 3.7 g
- Cholesterol: 22.5 mg
Keywords: wacky cake recipe, chocolate wacky cake, cake without eggs, cake without dairy, can you make cake without eggs
Frosting recipe modified from Southern Living.
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When do you add the 2 cups of sugar as called for in the ingredient list? Or Am I missing something.
Sorry,visiting did miss it. It is a great recipe.
Oh, whoops. Glad you saw it!
The sugar is added in step two, along with the flour, cocoa, etc.
I’ve just used the basis of this recipe and made wacky carrot cupcakes. Peal and grate 1 lb of carrots, add a handful of raisins, and the sugar. Add all the liquids, and mix gently. In a separate bowl add the flour + 57g extra (instead of the cocoa), salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger and .25 tsp ground cloves. Stir a whisk through this so all mixed together. Add all the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients, and stir to incorporate (quite a wet mix). Carefully spoon cupcake cases to about two thirds full. Put in the oven (350/Gas 4) for about 20 minutes, turn the tray around for another 4-5 minutes (probably don’t need to turn if you have a fan oven). The tops will look a golden brown, and a toothpick will come out clean. This recipe makes about 36 medium sized cupcakes. Yum, Yum, Yum
Awesome! They sound delicious! Thank you for sharing.
Great recipe and tastes really good. I haven’t got a 9×13 inch pan, so settled for a 9×12 inch pan – it took an extra 20-ish minutes to cook. Still great though, and will make again.
So glad you enjoyed it!
This is literally THE only recipe I use for chocolate cake because it is friggin bomb. AWESOME recipe.
So glad you enjoy it!
Made this with my son for his birthday, he love that it was “Wacky” he decorated it too. It really surprised me, so moist. I could had had it without the icing. I did have to bake slightly longer than the recipe called for. I will be making it again for sure!
So glad you enjoyed it!
dear lindsay i love this recipe it looks so good cant wait to try it!
but qq what do you mean by making “3 wells”? Im not a very good baker but this seems easy enough thanx so much
You’re basically making 3 little holes in the dry ingredients to add the wet ingredients to individually. I hope that helps!
I’ve used normal flour and gluten free flour it makes no difference – still tastes amazing 😊
This is now my new favourite cake recipe because it’s super moist and delicious and also because I’m always out of eggs because of my nephew and breakfast.
Thank you. I’m now trying out a vanilla version.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Love this recipe! I am curious can you substitute the type of flour My nephew can’t have white flour due to allergies. Because this has no eggs and no milk and no butter in the cake part of it I could switch out the flour and he can have it. Let me know and thank you for all your wonderful recipes.
I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure. Sorry!