Guess what this cake is missing? Can’t do it? Then read on …
My husband was listening to the radio a few days ago and the reporter was discussing money saving recipes. One recipe was from the Great Depression called Wacky Cake.
In an effort to save money, and because food items such as eggs, butter and milk were selling for a premium, home cooks had to use what was on hand. Wacky Cake is one such ‘make do’ recipe. It contains no butter, eggs or milk making the total cost of the cake under $2.00 in today’s dollars. Imagine how cheap it must have been for frugal homemakers and cooks in during the depression.
Considering the economic situation across the globe, this recipe has discovered renewed popularity and I thought I would give it a try. The flavor of the cake is just ok. I did not hate it, but I would not say I would select it if I had my choice. However, it does stay very moist for a few days so it has a good shelf life.
The cake is mixed in the pan because you want to go from mixing to oven as quickly as possible. The cake gets it lift from vinegars reaction with the baking soda. I baked my cake in a non-stick pan because there was no cooking spray added to the pan. The cake does not stick as much as I thought it would. I would not try to turn it out of the pan for a fancy frosting job, but you will not struggle to release the slices from the pan.
There are a ton of variations of Wacky Cake on the internet. I selected a recipe from AllRecipes.com, but I did take a few tips from Americas Test Kitchen into consideration. They suggest using only natural cocoa powder. The reaction with the vinegar works better with natural cocoa powder according to ATK so that is what I used despite my almost fanatical devotion to Dutch Processed Cocoa. I really do love that stuff. They also suggest you reduce the baking soda from 1 teaspoon to 3/4 of a teaspoon to reduce any soapy taste the baking soda might add.
So, here is the recipe as adapted from AllRecipes.com. If it is not the best chocolate cake ever, at least it is fun, fast, and tasty. It also stays very moist for a few days. If you have a mind to, try it out!
Wacky Cake Serves 6
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vinegar
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
Heat the oven to 350F.
In a bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Sift, or whisk, until mixed very well. Pour into the ungreased 8”x8” baking pan.
Make three wells in the dry ingredients, one fairly large and two small.
In the large well pour the vegetable oil, in the smaller wells add the vanilla in one and the vinegar in the other.
Mix the wet ingredients, including the water, into the dry until mixed well, but not completely smooth. Remember, after the vinegar begins to react with the baking soda, time is of the essence.
Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.
Allow to cool in the pan. While the cake cools make the fudge sauce (seen here).
Serve it, the way I had it, with hot fudge sauce and vanilla ice cream.
Go ahead, give it a whirl!
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