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Wacky Cake | Easy Cake Recipe for Kids

I did not set out to share this as a blog post. However, once we got going, I realized that this was definitely a recipe that other parents should know about! If you’re looking for a quick, easy recipe that yields a cake appropriate for a family or small group, try out the “wacky cake.”

By: Kimberly

We had planned to celebrate my husband’s birthday a few Sundays ago with a family party including over-sized lasagnas and a large order of cupcakes. Unfortunately, something came up at work and it turned out that the hubby would have to work most of the day. The party was cancelled, much to the disappointment of 4-year old Robin. In an attempt to salvage the day and make it fun for her, I did a quick Google search to see if I could find a recipe that would be easy for us to make together and that wouldn’t be too big since it was just going to be the four of us eating dinner. (I also needed to kill more time than it would take to walk to the bakery for cupcakes).  I stumbled across a blog where someone had asked for the same type of recipe that I was looking for, and there were many comments that referred to “wacky cake,” also known as “crazy cake.” I did a bit of research and it turns out that this spongey, cocoa-based recipe has been around forever, with many people saying that they remember their grandmothers making it. Which makes sense because, according to Wikipedia, it may have been created as the result of when milk and eggs were scarce during WWII.

It’s a one-bowl, one-pan recipe that can be topped with icing sugar, icing or served plain. I might go for a chocolate fudge frosting next time. Yum!

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There are variations of the recipe – I went with this one from the well-trusted Food Network.


1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Preheat 350 degrees F. Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. Make 3 small holes in the mixture. Pour the vanilla in one hole, the vinegar in another and vegetable oil in another. Pour water over the top and mix. Pour into a lightly greased 8 by 8 inch pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

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We then decided to make some vanilla icing so we could decorate the cake with smarties. This also called for a wardrobe change.

Vanilla Icing

  • 1 3/4 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat butter in mixer. Slowly add sugar, milk and vanilla.

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tastes good

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We topped things off by making a giant birthday card.

Not as fun as having a party with everyone, but a pretty decent substitute on a cold January afternoon!

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