April 18th, 2012

kjpugs Recipe: Wacky Cake

Twenty years ago (or so) my mom found a recipe in The New York Times for something called Wacky Cake. I remember many, many parties and birthdays where we’d have Wacky Cake, decorated with sprinkles, jelly beans, and whatever else we could find. Whenever we had a party planned, we’d ask for Wacky Cake. It brings back so many fond memories. Just as importantly, though, it’s easy and delicious!!!



  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups cold water


  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Dash salt

The cool part about this recipe is that for the cake, no bowls are required. All you need is a 13×9 pan (glass is best) and a fork!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9×13 pan, mix all dry ingredients.

Make three holes in the combined dry mix.

Put the vinegar, oil, and vanilla in the three holes.

Cover the whole thing with water and mix until all the lumps are gone. You are going to think I am crazy or that there was a typo, but just keep mixing, it will come together. If you are using a glass pan, hold it up and look at the bottom to make sure no clumps of dry remain.

Bake 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine only took 40 minutes.

To make the frosting, blend the butter with the sugar, adding the sugar a little at a time.

When about 1/2 cup of sugar remains to be added, add the milk. Beat, add the rest of the sugar, then beat again until smooth.

Add the vanilla and salt, and mix.

I found this made just a little less frosting than I like on the cake. I think next time I will use 6 Tbsp butter, 3 cups sugar, 4 1/2 Tbsp milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a larger dash of salt. It will make 50% more frosting.

Be sure to let the cake cool fully before frosting. Add sprinkles right away, then enjoy!

I made this last weekend to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday on Sunday. It was a huge hit, as you can see!

I love that this cake is pretty much all easy ingredients I have sitting around. And no eggs- I don’t usually keep eggs around, and always find I need them when trying to bake something on a whim. Wacky Cake is an easy cake to make on short notice, and only requires the frosting bowl and cake pan. So simple! I can’t believe it took me this long to ask my mom for the recipe… I had completely forgotten about it for a few years. Try making Wacky Cake this week and report back!

4 comments to kjpugs Recipe: Wacky Cake

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