Wacky cupcakes

News, Nutrition and Fitness | 4 years ago

Wacky Cake Recipe: A Folk Dessert Steeped in Legend and Taste

There are few desserts out there that can truly cater to almost any taste – but the wacky cake may be that chameleon of decadence that has shifted from a treat born of necessity to a godsend to families with food allergies, vegans and vegetarians. 

Wacky Cake, Crazy Cake, Joe Cake, Depression Cake WWII cake – this egg-free, dairy-free, vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dessert has gone by several names in the past decade. And it’s origins are also as colorful and varied as its many names – many stories describing it as the product of a time when fewer resources – namely eggs, milk and butter – were available during times of economic hardship or war.

This version of the recipe was provided by Rhonda Stewart, senior instructor, College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University's Charlotte campus. Stewart said it "originated from her grandmother, Florence Lawrence. 'Nanny' would make this cake during World War II when there was a ration on eggs and dairy products. It was 'wacky' to be able to make a cake without eggs! Now, we love it because it's vegan." What this “folk recipe” may lack in traditional ingredients, it more than makes up for in untraditional taste. Enjoy! 

Wacky Cake (chocolate cake or cupcakes)

Yield: One 9-inch cake (square or round); 12 cupcakes; or about 36 mini cupcakes


  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water

Method of Preparation

  1. Sift dry ingredients together into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients. By hand, stir wet mixture into dry ingredients, until well combined.
  3. Portion into greased glass or metal cake pan, or paper lined muffin/cupcake pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees. Depending on your oven, the baking times may vary (Cake: About 25 to 30 minutes; Cupcakes: About 15 to 20 minutes)

Notes: You can double, triple or even multiply this recipe as much as needed, it always works! Stewart also provided a scrumptious gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake recipe for Valentine's Day. Find it here.