Wacky Cake
Yield: 8-9 servings
This clever cake mixes up in a single bowl with no need for eggs, butter or milk. It's ideal when ingredients are low or you're working around dietary requirements. Of course, it tastes great, too!


1½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour (or gluten-free baking blend)
1 cup (192 grams) sugar
¼ cup (20 grams) cocoa powder (I use regular, not Dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white or apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup (75 mL) safflower oil (or mild-tasting oil of choice)
1 cup (227 mL) freshly brewed coffee (may use decaf or water*)
For serving: Easy Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows) or frosting of choice, whipped cream, or confectioner’s sugar for dusting


  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Lightly grease an 8-inch square or 9-inch round cake pan.
    2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
    3. Stir in the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and coffee, taking care not to over-mix. There is no need to beat.
    4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. (When using a gluten-free flour blend, I like to let the batter rest in the pan for about 10 minutes. This is particularly helpful when white rice flour is a primary ingredient in the blend.)
    5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center is just cooked through. (For those who have trouble determining doneness of baked goods, you can also take the temperature with a quick read thermometer. The reading should be between 200 and 205℉.)
    6. Cool the cake completely. Frost as desired and enjoy!


*We think the chocolate flavor of this cake is enhanced when coffee is used in place of water, but water may absolutely be used. The coffee can be your favorite light to medium roast, or a bolder brew if you prefer. My grandmother’s original Depression-era recipe called for water, less cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. When using water instead of coffee, I recommend using the full tablespoon of vinegar to achieve the proper acidity and resulting rise.

A few more things:
You can double the recipe and bake it in two 9-inch round pans to create a layer cake.
Some people mix the ingredients right in the baking pan, but I think it’s easier to thoroughly incorporate the ingredients in a mixing bowl-and less messy, too!
One friend with whom I shared this recipe likes to sprinkle about ⅓ cup of chocolate chips over the top before baking. She has also added the chips upon removing the cake from the oven, allowing them to soften for several minutes before spreading the melted chips over the surface of the cake like icing.

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com