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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What frosting is included in the picture for this cake? I made the boiled frosting you included in the recipe but it looks nothing like this, so now I am thinking you actually used a buttercream in the photo. Great cake, but sad about the boiled frosting, it wasn’t what I was going for…
The frosting in the photos is the one given in the recipe, not a buttercream. I’m sorry to hear you had trouble with it.
Hello Lindsay, I am a huge fan of your work…. this recipe turned out amazing for me. I topped it with a decadent dark chocolate ganache but I swear it needed no frosting, it was that moist. Do you have a recipe like this in Vanilla as well.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I don’t have a vanilla version right now though.
Finally a cake recipe i can prepare without adding eggs
Do you think melted and cooled coconut oil would work for this cake? I am out of vegetable oil and have coconut oil and olive oil. The stay at home policy is playing havoc on my baking supplies since Easter! Thank you.
It might give you a little different texture, since the coconut oil is thicker at room temperature than veggie oil, but it should be ok.
I am so glad you posted this recipe. I used to make it with my Grandmom, so this brought back great memories! It even prompted me to search & find the recipe she wrote down for me. ❤️
Oh my goodness! We used to have this at school lunches for dessert many, many years ago. That was the name then, too. I’ve made this so may times! Great when you don’t have any eggs or not enough!
This cake looks delicious!! Can I use coconut milk in the frosting mix?
I haven’t tried it, but would think that should be fine.
This is so cool, Lindsey! I especially love the look of that fudgy frosting…yum!
Hi! Do you have to mix it in the baking pan or can you use a bowl?
You can certainly use a bowl, if you prefer.
What kind of vinegar can you use? I’m out of white distilled vinegar but I have several other kinds of vinegar.
I used white distilled vinegar, but apple cider vinegar is also a popular choice.
Hello! Can you share the recipe for the frosting that you made on the stove top for this recipe.
The frosting recipe is included with the cake. The ingredients are below the cake ingredients and the instructions begin at number 7.