Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chocolate Crazy Cake (No Eggs, Milk, Butter or Bowls)

CRAZY CAKE, also known as Wacky Cake & Depression Cake - No Eggs, Milk, Butter, Bowls or Mixers! Super moist and delicious. Go-to recipe for egg/dairy allergies. Great activity to do with kids. Recipe dates back to the Great Depression. It's darn good cake!

More cake flavors have been added since this post. Click on the photo below to head to the recipes section for links to all the flavors. There are mug cake versions too!

Crazy Cake can be made with Gluten Free mixes! Many people have commented they have made this cake with Gluten Free mixes and it's wonderful."Yes it is yummy and very moist. It even works with GF flour mixes!" 

For years, my youngest one never had cake because of her egg allergy. I know there are worse things in life...but no cake? That just stinks. She never had REAL cake until my good friend shared her mom's Chocolate Crazy Cake recipe with me four years ago - also known as Wacky Cake. This cake has no eggs. No eggs?! Huh?! How can you make cake without eggs?! The recipe didn't even call for an electric mixer! When my girlfriend gave me the recipe, all I could think was how will it taste like real cake? It can't be possible.  

Within minutes of her sharing the recipe, I whipped up the cake while talking to her on the phone. I could not believe how easy the cake was to make. No bowls. No mess. I mixed everything in the baking pan. AWESOME.  When the cake was done, frosted, ready to eat...I could not believe how moist it was. It was crazy good!  Better than any box cake I've ever had. My daughter LOVED it! I think I shed a tear or two when she had her first bite. I was so happy she finally got to see what REAL cake tastes like.   

From that day on, it was good-bye to the same old ice cream cakes we had EVERY SINGLE YEAR for EVERY birthday....and hello yummy REAL chocolate cake...with ice cream on top.

I made this cake for my oldest daughter's Sweet 16 last week. Everyone got to eat cake, even our little one with the egg allergy. That makes my heart happy.

I did a little research on Crazy and Wacky Cake recipes. These cakes were created during the Great Depression, when eggs, milk and butter were very hard to come by. The cakes are also known as Depression Cakes. Remember my favorite childhood Depression sandwich my grandparents made? People were pretty resourceful during those hard times. It took some creativity and baking science to create a cake without eggs or butter. You don't even need a mixer. Genius!  

The LA Times has a great article on Crazy Cake: 
"Mad for crazy cake - It contains no butter or eggs, is a cinch to make and comes out rich, moist and delicious. What's not to like?" 


Chocolate Crazy Cake Recipe (No Eggs, Milk, Butter or Bowls)

  • 1 1/2 Cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 Cup sugar (All purpose sugar - Granulated Pure Cane Sugar)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract 
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
  • 1 Cup water 

Directions (picture tutorial below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a greased 8" square baking pan.  Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients - two small, one larger (see #3 in photo below). Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression. Pour water over all. Mix well until smooth.

Bake on middle rack of oven for 35 minutes. Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool. Top with your favorite frosting. Enjoy!

Note: Oven baking times may vary, be sure to check your cake to make sure you do not over bake.



  • You can double this recipe, just use a 9x13 baking pan.
  • Mix batter in a bowl for neater, easier mixing. Be sure to follow the directions the same way - mixing the dry ingredients then making the depressions for the wet ingredients. Don't forget to grease your pan. You can also make cupcakes - be sure to adjust baking time. 
  • Google Bob's Red Mill's Gluten-Free Crazy Cake
  • Many have shared that this recipe is great served warm or cold with just sprinkling powdered sugar on top.  
  • This cake is also a great activity to do with kids.  

Here are some spring cupcakes my sister made using the Vanilla Crazy Cake  recipe, for a birthday party where several kids had severe egg and dairy allergies.

Many people have asked if I have a Crazy Banana Cake recipe. I don't have one yet, but stay tuned. In the meantime, here is a CRAZY BANANA CAKE with CREAM CHEESE FROSTING recipe that's not crazy because it's dairy and egg free (this recipe contains eggs, butter and buttermilk), but crazy because of how it is made... and it's amazing!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Anonymous said...

I have always used white vinegar and it does fine. This was one of the first cakes my mother taught me to make as a child. 60 years later I am still making it. Had it for dessert the other night for my friend that is vegan. She loved it.

Anonymous said...

Can I substitute coconut oil?

Lisa said...

Awesome recipe! I'm having the cake in the oven right now, but it smells great and the dough tastes great, too!
Excited about the result!

Kathie said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. I was recently advised by a nutritionist (after doing some blood testing) to go completely dairy free and gluten free. Dairy free hasn't been that hard really, but gluten free has been for me. I'm just not a fan of the gluten free all purpose flour, but even with that said, this recipe came out pretty good. I'm betting it's fabulous using regular flour.

Unknown said...

Can you make it a bundt cake using this recipe???

Anonymous said...

My mom once made an eggless, flourless,Milkless,butterless, spice cake. How she managed to make it,without flour, is anybody's guess. I once referred to it as "the depression cake"

Joyce Stephenson said...

I have always called this chocolate wacky cake "School Cake"....the cooks at my elementary school made it very often....on the days we had this cake, my best friend & I always beat the other kids in volunteering to clean the tables off after lunch & miss recess....whover cleaned the tables got an extra piece of cake....I say always beat, sometimes we would let others do it...I am 65 now & my kids & grandkids still love it.

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely cake! I used Soy milk instead of water and it was delicious even good to eat without frosting. Thanks for sharing!!!

Megan LeBlanc said...

My nephew is allergic to eggs, and he's never been able to have a real birthday cake before. I'm so glad I've found this! I'm going to try my hand at making it a few times before his birthday coming up soon. Thanks for the share!

Bunny said...

I was came across a similar recipe over 50 years ago and it was called "Mix-in-the-pan Jiffy Cake. I found it in a Beta Sigma Phi cookbook.

The only twist on the recipe is that the chocolate version called for 1 cup of cold coffee in place of the water. Coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate and it's a good way to use up cold coffee. And no, there is no coffee flavor in the cake.

Many people think the vinegar will leave a taste, and no it doesn't. It's only purpose is as part of the leavening when it reacts with the baking soda. It's necessary as the egg replacement. I've noticed some debate whether to use cider or white distilled, but I've always used the cider, and it leaves no flavor in the cake. Either should work fine.

As a Pastrychef, I've made a lemon version of this cake with lemon extract and lemon zest for 150 people. I was working at The Thousand Islands Resort, on Wellesley Island, US, and there was not 1 egg to be found in the cooler.

Have fun with your own variations!

Bev said...

This cake is unbelievable! It's the best chocolate cake I've ever made. I did change the method a little. Instead of making wells, I just mixed all the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together and then combined them all. I was afraid all the mixing in the pan might remove the greasing (butter) from the bottom of the pan and the cake might stick. The cake rose beautifully and tasted great. It was just the right amount in an 8x8 pan for my husband and me. Made it with chocolate frosting, but next time will try cream cheese frosting. Thanks for the great recipe.

Karen said...

real good 'stuff'. I made it back in the 1950's Got the recipe from an aunt in Vermont. Her recipe was a shade different though. It was 4 T. of cocoa and 6 tablespoons of the oil. Think it was a bit more moist and richer flavor. I also added nuts once in a while.

Anonymous said...

Do we have to heat the water? Want to try this cake badly

Anonymous said...

This chocolate cake recipe is a family favorite! It is written in the inside cover of my mother's "The American Woman's Cookbook" from 1940! It is doubled...we use a 9X13 pan. It was a favorite for family reunions. My aunt always made it, but dusted it with confectioner's sugar instead of frosting. We call it "Auntie C's Wet Chocolate Cake" because it is SO moist. I've made it for 50+ years, but tweak it a bit...sprinkle semi sweet chocolate chips on the top before baking, and substitute cooled fresh brewed coffee for the water...then frost cooled cake with peanut butter frosting (which is just simple sugar syrup, cooled, mixed with peanut butter.)

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