“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 !
- 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 !