Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake is a classic egg and dairy free chocolate cake. NO mixer needed for this cake recipe, because it’s mixed right in the 9×13 pan that it’s baked in. You get a soft, chocolatey cake that you can top with any frosting you like!

Looking for a traditional chocolate cake recipe? Make sure to try my Chocolate Layer Cake!

Frosted Wacky Cake in a pan.

Wacky Cake Is The Easiest Chocolate Cake You’ll Ever Make!

No mixer, only a few simple ingredients, and a 9×13 pan and you’ll have a chocolate cake. It seems too good to be true, I know it does, but trust me on this! No eggs, dairy free…and did I mention you mix it right in the 9×13 pan you bake it in? I’ll explain it all, I promise!

What IS Wacky Cake?

This recipe is a major throw back. I found a version of this in my mom’s recipe box, and then after a quick google search, apparently everyone’s mom probably made this one too.

And here’s your history lesson for the day…

  • It’s also known as Depression Cake and was created back in the Depression Era where ingredients were scarce and expensive.
  • This cake is made without eggs or any dairy, which makes it lighter on the wallet, but also great for anyone who suffers from an egg or dairy allergy!

Of course I frosted it…and the frosting isn’t dairy free…but the cake itself absolutely is!

A slice of frosted Wacky Cake

That’s Right, NO Mixer Needed!

Crazy, right? A cake without having to use a mixer? Or at least another bowl? It’s true. Pinky swear! A TRUE one-bowl cake!

When following my moms recipe I was a little skeptical about this…because not only do you use your cake pan as the mixing bowl, you don’t grease the pan. I certainly envisioned a huge cake fail…but alas, it worked.

Let me show you…

Wacky Cake chocolate batter being mixed in a 9x13 pan.

You Don’t Have To Grease The Pan!

I know it’s hard to believe. And yes, if you’re not convinced you can absolutely mix the ingredients in a separate bowl and coat the pan with nonstick spray. But the point is, you don’t HAVE to.

There is a tiny amount of sticking, but it’s a sheet cake and it really doesn’t matte, in my opinion!

Here are the simple steps:

  1. Sift the ingredients right into the ungreased pan. Sifting the ingredients together is the easiest way to combine them. I also whisked them together too.
  2. Make 3 “wells” in the dry mix. You pore vinegar in one, vanilla in another and oil in the last.
  3. Then pour water over everything and whisk it together to combine. I found online that using a fork here works well too.
  4. Once it’s all mixed, go ahead and bake!
A slice of chocolate Wacky Cake being served.

What Kind Of Frosting Should You Use On Wacky Cake?

Wacky Cake is a chocolate cake, so there are TONS of frostings that work well here.

If you are trying to keep this dairy free, my buttercream frostings might not be the best option, but you can sub the butter out for a non-dairy butter substitute!

Print

Wacky Cake

  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield Yield: 24 1x
  • Category Category: Cake
  • Method Method: Oven
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

Wacky Cake is a classic egg and dairy free chocolate cake. NO mixer needed for this cake recipe, because it’s mixed right in the 9×13 pan that it’s baked in. You get a soft, chocolatey cake that you can top with any frosting you like!


Ingredients:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In an un-greased 9×13 baking pan sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the ingredients together gently to combine.
  3. Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients. Pour the vanilla in one, the vinegar in another, and the oil in the last. Pour the water all over the top. Using a whisk or a fork, stir the batter until smooth and combined.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted int he center comes out clean.
  5. Allow the cake to cool and dust with powdered sugar or frost.

Notes:

I like using my Perfect Party Frosting or the poured icing from my Sunday Chocolate Cake.

Keywords:: wacky cake recipe, chocolate cake no eggs, chocolate cake no dairy, dairy free cake recipe, easy cake

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Mary
October 28, 2020 3:58 am

Can I use gluten free flour with this recipe?

Michelle
July 5, 2020 8:39 pm

Hershey’s chocolate syrup makes a great topping for this cake.

Stephanie H
March 9, 2020 3:15 am

I misplaced my copy and was happy to find this recipe. The recipe was the same except before baking: mix 2 tsp cinnamon with 2 Tbsp sugar and sprinkle over cake. It gives it a crisp top and nice flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

Anita Saxton
November 26, 2018 12:06 am

I love this recipe my mom got the recipe from Mike Roy over radio in 1964 we have been making it since and have found different variations white, spice, carrot cake, lemon and chocolate .

Ashley Lowe
August 4, 2017 11:51 pm

Hi! Where did you find those adorable sprinkles in the video?!

Lara
July 21, 2017 2:25 pm

Should I use cake flour or just Ap flour ?

Traci
June 10, 2017 10:56 am

My daughter has wheat and egg allergies. Has anyone tried this with gluten free flour?

Pam
July 3, 2020 9:51 pm
Reply to  Traci

Yes. Works best with cupcakes. The middle tends to not rise as well with gluten free. A 9×13 will cave in at the middle. Use 2 pans for cake

Julia
June 9, 2017 4:38 pm

Use cold coffee and not water and this reaches a whole other level!!!

This is my go to vegan recipe. Been using it years. No idea it was “wacky”!!

Cindy
June 9, 2017 9:11 am

Can this be made into cupcakes?

hidden dsi
March 9, 2017 7:19 am

this is very nice and looks too good

Brenda Bowers
February 23, 2017 4:37 pm

We have made this for many years in our family. I believe my grandmother got it from a radio show. I use cold coffee instead of water and sometimes for a change of pace, add cinnamon. Delicious!

Robin
February 20, 2017 7:05 pm

How does this work with no eggs and dairy and can you leave the cocoa out and make it a vanilla “wacky cake”?? lol

scottica
December 14, 2017 12:53 pm
Reply to  Robin

i might try that one next!!! great idea

Pam
July 3, 2020 9:52 pm
Reply to  Robin

Yes. Add a little more vanilla

Kim
February 19, 2017 10:59 am

This cake has been made over 70 years in my family! Slightly different measurements and we use regular vinegar. You can also mix it in a bowl and pour into pan. Comes out perfect every time!

February 17, 2017 7:23 pm

I’ve never heard of this but it does sound incredibly cool! Thanks for sharing 🙂

Marla
February 17, 2017 1:50 pm

My mom was never a baker; still isn’t, but we were raised on this cake!! I still love it to this day & make it on occasion. She would do a margarine (yuck, I know!), coconut, pecan topping on it that was really tasty & still made it dairy free!

Del.S.
February 21, 2017 12:40 pm
Reply to  Marla

The cake topping your mother used sounds just like the one used for German Sweet Chocolate Cake. I remember it well. Add that fact to my making the Wacky Cake years ago from a children’s cookbook from the 50s and I feel like I just took a trip down Memory Lane!

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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