When I was a little girl, a birthday party in our family meant one thing: Wacky Cake. Chocolate cake, cooked in a 13″ x 9″ pan with cornstarch-cocoa-sugar-water stovetop frosting, accompanied by two bags of chips and two bottles of orange soda. BOOM! Party time, and the cake always flew out of the pan, it was so delicious.
It was called “Wacky Cake” because it didn’t use eggs, the recipe handed down from my grandmother, who had lived through the rationing periods of both the Great Depression and World War II. Little did we know, partying our patooties off, that we were eating VEGAN cake! Fast forward 30 years, and it is not uncommon to find oneself at a party where there are vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, egg-free, corn-free attendees – so I have rewritten and quality tested* this amazing recipe. And NOW, everyone can have their cake and eat it, too – TOGETHER.
*At a client’s house, I suggested only yesterday that we toss their leftover cake from Sunday evening to make room for the week’s worth of meals I had just made for the family – and the mother looked at me as if I had six heads and all of them were sniffing glue. “Do you want to cause a riot?” she asked me, wide-eyed. “The first thing the kids will say when they get home and see it missing is ‘WHERE IS THE CAKE?!?!?!?’ “, so I transferred it to a smaller plate so the family could enjoy it for the third day in a row. That speaks of a successful recipe conversion to me.
- 3 cups gluten free & gum free all purpose flour – I prefer Bob’s Red Mill cup-for-cup or King Arthur GF all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 2 teasponns baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅔ c safflower, sunflower, or canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 Tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 2 9 – 10″ round cake pans, parchment paper, cooking spray
- 2 c palm or coconut shortening
- 4 c powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- *6 oz soy-free vegan chocolate chips (I like Guittard bittersweet, made with sunflower lecithin!) (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the first five (dry) ingredients and stir with a whisk to blend well.
- In another mixing bowl, combine the last four (wet) ingredients and whisk to blend.
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and whisk well – it will bubble and start to thicken immediately due to the reaction between the baking soda and vinegar – this is your leavener! Think of those grade-school volcanoes!
- Spray your cake pans with cooking spray (I use coconut oil), and line the bottom only with parchment paper.
- Divide the mixture between two pans and pop into the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or the top gently pressed springs back immediately.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan.
- While it is cooking, toss the shortening, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract into a food processor and process until smooth. Taste and add more sugar or vanilla if necessary, food coloring if desired. For chocolate frosting, melt the 6 oz of chocolate chips in the microwave for 1 minute or a double boiler and blend into the white frosting.
- Once the cakes are cooled, remove one and transfer to serving plate, peeling the parchment paper off the bottom first.
- Spread 1 cup of the frosting on top, and cover with next layer with parchment removed.
- Tip the remaining frosting on top and spread evenly all over the cake.
- Sing, share, and enjoy!