This little recipe was something I had to search far and wide to find when I discovered Harrison had an egg allergy, so now it’s become a part of our family recipe collection as we’ve shared it on many occasions, including his first and second birthday parties.
A wacky cake is terminology from early last century when people found ways to substitute for eggs during the depression era. What’s cool about this recipe is that the cake rises due to the reaction from the baking soda and vinegar – it’s a really neat way to cook.
This is a large quantity as the original purpose was for a layer cake, so you may like to reduce it by half for a single layer cake. I skip the coffee element when making it for children and you can also leave out the cocoa if you’d like a plain cake or want to add other colours – which is what I did for Harrison’s second birthday. I split the mixture into different bowls (some with more, some with less mixture) and then added a different colour of food colouring to each bowl – mixing the colours independently. Then poured them in one at a time (starting with the biggest working through to the smallest) into the tin (see the pics to get an idea on what I’m talking about). It worked a treat – especially as the cake was for a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!
The original recipe that I used was from ‘Baking Bites’ and this site also includes a cream frosting recipe – to view please click here.
If you are after really specific instructions – I’d recommend popping by the original link because (much to my grandmothers angst) I tend to adjust and experiment with recipes so my details aren’t too great (sorry about that) but I hope you get the gist of this recipe.
3 cups of plain flour
2 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa (leave out if wanting to make non-chocolate or coloured versions of this cake)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons of vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups of cold water
1 tablespoon of instant coffee powder (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 180oC.
2. Choose your cake tin according to the size of cake you are making and grease well. The above quantity is a large mix so you’ll need two tins of equal size if you intend to make a layer cake or a large single size – just remember cooking times will vary too – so keep your eye on the cake while cooking to make that judgement.
3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a large bowl.
4. Make three wells in the mix and put the vanilla in one, the vinegar in another and the oil in the third.
5. Dissolve the coffee in the water (if you are using the coffee – if not just use the water).
6. Add the water to the mixture and mix in well. (At this point you can separate for rainbow colours if making a rainbow cake).
7. Pour into the cake tins and cook for approximately 30-35 minutes (if using two tins).
For a double batch large birthday cake in one tin, like the rainbow cake, I cooked at a lower temperature (about 150oC for about 40 minutes then checked in 15 minute increments to see if it was cooked.)