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Wacky Cake

This recipe was reportedly created in the Great Depression and has NO eggs and butter! This was because eggs and butter were expensive and rationed thus this cake was born. Despite the lack of these ingredients, this cake is super moist, light but rich in flavour, and very fluffy! The original recipe I found was for cupcakes, but the blogger did convert to cake as well:


  • * 3 cups all purpose flour * 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder * 2 cups granulated sugar * 2 teaspoon baking soda * 1 teaspoon salt * 2 cup brewed coffee (or 2 cups of warm water mixed with 2.5 teaspoons of espresso powder or instant coffee granules) * 2 Tbsp white vinegar (this activates the baking soda for the cake to rise) * 4 teaspoons vanilla extract * 12 Tbsp (1/2 cup plus 4 Tbsp) olive oil


1 Preheat oven to 350°F / 179°C with a rack in the middle position. Prepare two cake tins with wax liner on the base & non-stick spray. 2 In a large bowl, vigorously whisk together the sifted flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt until there are no visible clumps (cocoa tends to clump up). (sift all powders) 3 In a separate bowl, mix together the coffee (or water plus coffee granules), vinegar, vanilla extract, and olive oil. 4 Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until they just come together. The mixture should be thin and rather lumpy. 5 Pour the batter into the cake tins, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a bamboo skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. 6 Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool on a rack. Once cool, you can eat plain, or decorate and serve.

Comments (16)

PS I used the All American Buttercream recipe from this site, with added coffee for a mocha taste :) That part will have butter of course.
What size tins did you use? When you say wax lining do you mean wax paper?
two 8" pans, and wax paper yup :) (i dont know why my posts come out as My2princesses, this is Tails writing this :/)
I am assuming that by using coffee it gives it a coffee flavor - can coffee be substituted by milk? Thanks~
I remember making this cake as a kid. Probably one of the first cake recipes I used :-) It's actually pretty good if memory serves me correctly.
@NJCakery: the coffee doesnt give it a coffee taste at all. It actually enhances the chocolate flavour, but just substitute for water if you want but I highly recommend the coffee :) - Tails
Hi can i use vegetable oil to replace olive oil?
@Butterscotch1: Yup, cant see why not :) - Tails
Hi, I tried and just loved this recipe. Do you have eggless recipe for venilla cake? I have been looking for sponge, what we get in stop& Shop and Bigy.
Sounds great..I have saved recipe and will try it asap! :o) If I substitute cocoa for coffee powder will it be coffee flavoured throughout and still work?!! :P Many thanks..can't wait to have a whirl at this one!! :O)
@deepa1321: no sorry, no vanilla eggless recipe :( @BestCherryonTop: I dont think coffee powder will work the same as cocoa. You'd need a LOT of coffee and then it'd be bitter. But if you try it, let me know yea!
Does this recipe work if i need to cover it with fondant?
Tinascottparashar I have used it under fondant yes :)
@deepa1321: I use this same recipe to make lemon and pineapple cake. I saw it somewhere else where they replaced the coffee with just water so you can probably do that and get a good vanilla cake. I replace one cup with lemon or pineapple juice and keep one water and folks love it. I use this for my clients needing dairy free.
I tried this recipe over the weekend, I changed the olive oil for canola though as I didn't want the strong olive oil flavour, it turned out to be fabulous, it covered well with butter icing and would be great with fondant too.  I'm sure it will be one of those go to recipes. Thanks a mill.
how would you convert this to vanilla? has anyone tried?
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