Last updated on
Vanilla Crazy Cake
Table of Contents
Vanilla Crazy Cake hails from the Depression-era. Sometimes called vanilla wacky cake, it’s an easy yet delicious recipe that uses no eggs or milk. This white cake is simple to whip up and great for any occasion.
Crazy Cakes get their name from history. In the Great Depression, it could be difficult to get dairy products, so the crazy cake was born: a cake made without butter, milk, or eggs. This recipe does include directions for a vanilla buttercream frosting, but the cake itself is true to dairy-free form.
Whether you are intentionally not using dairy products, or you simply ran out of eggs, this is a great recipe to know. Next time you’re in a pinch and need to whip up a dessert, honor those who came before and made it through more difficult rationing with this historic Vanilla Depression Cake.
Vanilla Crazy Cake Ingredients
- Baking soda
- Vegetable oil
- White vinegar
- Cold water
- Powdered sugar
Baking soda and vinegar create the rising action in this cake. In most traditional recipes, eggs act as the rising agent. Those in the Depression Era used creativity to invent this alternative method and create a delicious cake without the traditional ingredients.
Crazy cakes have many variations. Go with this classic vanilla crazy cake, or try lemon, spice, coffee, or chocolate. All crazy cakes use real flavors and no dairy.
How to Make Vanilla Crazy Cake
FIRST STEP: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
SECOND STEP: In an UNGREASED 9x9 pan (can use an 8x8 pan with increased cooking time by 3-6 minutes as the cake will be thicker) add the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Using a whisk stir together the ingredients right in the pan to kind of sift it all together.
THIRD STEP: Next using your fingers or a spoon make a good-sized well in the middle and two smaller wells one on each side of the center well.
FOURTH STEP: Place the vegetable oil in the center well.
FIFTH STEP: Place the vinegar in a small well and the vanilla in the other small well.
SIXTH STEP: Pour the cold water over all of the ingredients.
SEVENTH STEP: Using the whisk stir until combined. You can also use a spoon to get into the corners and further mix until smooth.
EIGHTH STEP: If there are bubbles in your batter, gently tap the pan on the countertop to release the bubbles.
NINTH STEP: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
TENTH STEP: Remove from oven to cool completely before serving.
ELEVENTH STEP: Ice with frosting or powdered sugar or plain.
If you want to make a larger cake for a 9x13 inch pan, just double the recipe!
If you want to make a chocolate cake, just add about ⅓ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder when you're whisking together the dry ingredients!
Storing this Recipe
ON THE COUNTER: Cover leftover cake and leave on counter up to 3 days. Since there are no perishable ingredients in this cake, it doesn't need to be stored in the fridge.
IN THE FRIDGE: Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
IN THE FREEZER: Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on counter before serving.
Vanilla Crazy Cake
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 5 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup water cold
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In an UNGREASED 9X9 pan add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using a whisk stir together the ingredients right in the pan to kind of sift it all together.
- Next using your fingers or a spoon make a good sized well in the middle and two smaller wells one on each side of the center well.
- Place the vegetable oil in the center well.
- Place the vinegar in a small well and the vanilla in the other small well.
- Pour the cold water over all of the ingredients.
- Using the whisk, stir until combined. You can also use a spoon to get into the corners and further mix until smooth. If there are bubbles in your batter, gently tap the pan on the countertop to release the bubbles.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven to cool completely before serving.
- Ice with frosting or powdered sugar or plain.
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla (clear vanilla, if you have it)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup milk or more if needed for desired consistency
lynn mckenna says
Can I use whole wheat flour instead of regular flour?
Layne Henderson says
Hi, Lynn - we haven't tested that so I'm not sure how it would turn out in a cake. Please let me know if you try it. Enjoy!
Nice and easy. Need somemore recepies
Nice and easy. Need someone recepies