The wacky cake and the instant ganache

“Usually the wacky people have the breakthroughs. The ‘smart’ people don’t.” – Burt Rutan

The other day I saw a video of this cake on my Facebook feed called Wacky cake and I realised that this was similar to a cake I have made many times. I went back to the tattered pages of my trusty black diary ( hidden between whose sheets are everything from long disconnected phone numbers to pressed flowers to bookmarked recipes) and dug it out.

Turns out the recipe l had was in fact a Wacky (also called crazy) cake or rather a new and improved Wacky cake by the baking science guru herself Shirley Corriher.

Why is it Wacky ? Because it has no eggs and no butter . And because it is made directly in the baking pan. Rumor has it that it was first made during the wars when eggs needed to be rationed . Makes total sense to me because I usually make this cake when I am out of eggs at home and don’t feel like a grocery run.

Originally , this cake is made by measuring out all the dry ingredients in the baking pan itself. Three wells are made into this pile , into each are poured , oil, vanilla and vinegar. Cold water is poured over it all, batter is mixed , cake baked and served right out of the pan.

I prefer to use a bowl to do the mixing because I just find it easier mixing in a bowl than a shallow pan. And also , I would rather prepare my pan and pop the cake out and serve. But I tried the in pan version once before and just before I made this post. It works well but doesn’t come out of the pan absolutely cleanly .

Wacky or not , cake making doesn’t get easier than this. When you are short of time or energy, this makes a moist delicious chocolaty cake . Sticking to the theme, I made a tiny batch of instant ganache to top off the cake. It doesn’t need the ganache. But the ganache rounds it off nicely. You can use any frosting u like ! Or none .

The Wacky cake !

Recipe courtesy : Shirley Corriher

You’ll need :

  • 190 grams or 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 28 grams or ⅓ cup cocoa powder ( not Dutch processed )
  • 200 grams or 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 7 grams or 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 120 ml or ½ cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 240 ml or 1 cup cold water
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Makes : 8 inch square or round cake
Time : 5-10 mins prep + 30 mins baking time

Let’s get started :

Preheat oven to 180 c or 350 F. Butter and dust a square 8 inch pan with flour. Line the bottom with parchment. Alternatively you can do all the mixing in the pan itself without any preparation.

In a large mixing bowl , measure out flour , cocoa , salt , sugar and baking powder well

Add the vanilla , oil and vinegar. Pour cold water . Mix well until smooth.

Pour into the prepared pan ( or smoothen top if you prepared d batter in pan ) and bake for 28 to 30 minutes.A toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 5 mins , invert and cool completely on a wire rack.

The Instant ganache!
You’ ll need:

  • 85 grams dark chocolate
  • 2 tbsp cream ( I used 35% Amul cream)

Makes : ½ cup ganache , enough to thinly coat an 8 or 9 inch cake
Time : 5 minutes
Let’s get started :

Chop up and melt the chocolate in microwave or double boiler.

Add the cream and mix until smooth.

Your ganache is ready. If you want it lighter , whip for a few minutes . If you want to pour it on, just microwave or heat for a minute.
Spread on cake !

Also :

  • Cake can be stored at room temperature for four to five days in an airtight container.
  • Final cake in this pan is around 2.5 inches tall.. It’s slightly taller in an 8 inch round pan



This cake is a great option for a quick cake or an eggless chocolate cake , particularly if you want to stay away from dairy as well. As its an oil cake , it stays moist even after refrigeration.  And the ganache is a quick fix when you don’t want to wait for it to set overnight. You know what s my favourite thing about this cake is ( apart from the taste!) … you don’t need to get anything to room temperature! So when you feel like cake, there s no waiting !

Oh. If you want to see an almost as easy vanilla cake , check out this yoghurt cake recipe and if you want to know more about ganache , you may want to read this !

6 thoughts on “The wacky cake and the instant ganache”

    1. Hey Radhika… the 9 inch round will be a better fit. Bake as instructions. Check if its done around 25 mins by putting a toothpick in . Bake for 5 more mins if not. Let me know how it turns out!!!

  1. Hey Radhika… the 9 inch round will be a better fit. Bake as instructions. Check if its done around 25 mins by putting a toothpick in . Bake for 5 more mins if not. Let me know how it turns out!!!

    1. Hi Padma… I have never tried using curd instead of vinegar here so I wouldn’t know how to go about it. Do let me know if you try the substitute !

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