Crazy Cake. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s also called Wacky Cake, or Cockeyed Cake. This is the chocolate cake that is made without eggs or dairy. It’s a recipe from Depression-era America when butter and eggs were hard to get and expensive. And in my case, it’s also made without gluten. It uses vinegar to help the leaveners raise the cake. It’s a great basic cake–moist, nice crumb, tasty. I discovered a recipe for this cake 20 years ago (it’s kind of scary to be throwing that many years around), adapted it to gluten-free, and have made it frequently over the years.
This cake is on my mind these days because Girlfriend just had a birthday. For school events I like to bring this so all of the kids can have a treat–in my daughter’s class we have her (peanut and soy allergic), someone who is gf, dairy-free and egg-free, and a kid who is corn-free. This means that these three kids are often left out of celebrations in the class. Not by me, though. Also, in our house, we have a policy of providing food that all guests can eat. What’s the point of socializing when people are left out? So, Crazy Cake is what I make for for many of these events. It warms my heart to provide a treat that everyone can eat.
One thing that’s great about this cake is that you can make it as a cake or as cupcakes. Both turn out terrific! And this recipe is so dang easy, you can make it often.
Before you make this cake, please keep a few things in mind. Since this is a very simple recipe, any changes can affect the resulting baked item in a major way. So, if you use a flour mix that is not my flour mix, it could change the results. If you use no xanthan gum, you will come out with a crumbly and flat result. If you don’t use all of the oil it will be dry. If you don’t add both of the leaveners, it won’t rise well. If you use Dutch process cocoa, it might not rise as well as it would with non-Dutch process cocoa. Please follow the recipe exactly the first time before commenting that it doesn’t work.
Crazy Cake, Gluten-Free
-makes 1- 8 inch square cake or 12 cupcakes
1 1/2 cups (215 g) Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened non-Dutch process cocoa, sifted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp aluminum-free double-acting baking powder
6 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil, (I use rice bran oil)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) cold water (or coffee or milk)
Optional: Chocolate Frosting, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free
1 1/2 cup (170g) confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (not the Dutch-process kind)
pinch of salt
2 heaping tablespoon non-hydrogenated margarine (I use soy-free Spectrum) or shortening
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water (or milk or coffee)–use a bit more if needed
Sift dry ingredients into a medium bowl . Mix in margarine, vanilla extract, and 1 TBL water. Beat until combined and smooth. This is enough to thinly frost an 8″x8″ cake or 12 cupcakes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To Make the Cake:
In your 8 in square baking pan, stir together all dry ingredients.
Make three depressions (“wells”) in the dry ingredients, 2 small and 1 large.
Pour your oil into the biggest well, and the vanilla and vinegar into the 2 smaller wells.
Pour 1 C cold water over all. Mix well and smooth top.
To Make Cupcakes
Mix all in a large bowl, using the same order and process of the instructions above, and spoon into greased or lined cupcake tins.
Bake 8-inch square cake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until tester comes out clean. Bake cupcakes for 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. For both, remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
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