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Wacky Cake {Cooking Through My Collection}

Wacky Cake-

Today for my Cooking Through My Collection series I am sharing Wacky Cake.

If you have never had or heard of Wacky Cake, it is a cake that was popular during WWI, WWII, and the Great Depression. Butter, eggs, and milk were often hard to get during those times, making this cake a great option for dessert.

Wacky Cake

Most wacky cakes are the same basic recipe and ingredients, but the version I am sharing today comes from America’s Best Lost Recipes (Affiliate Link) by Cook’s Country.

I love Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated books and magazines. They are some of my favorite cookbooks and recipes. I love not only the recipes, but the information and science behind the recipes that they share.


According to Cook’s Country the Wacky Cake gets its name from the way it is mixed. Which is right in the pan. It also has a strange way of mixing it in that you make small holes in the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients to those holes.

This cake is also a bit wacky in the way it works without eggs. The baking soda and vinegar do the work of lifting the batter similar to how an egg would.

Most Wacky Cakes that I have seen keep it simple and leave it plain or sprinkled with powdered sugar, but if you want to take it to the next level you could easily frost it.

Wacky Cakes are a simple cake that are a bit dense compared to most cakes. They are also not as sweet as cakes often are now. But I think this is what makes a Wacky Cake great. It is a bit of a “healthy” dessert that is easy and inexpensive to make.

Have you ever made a Wacky Cake? What do you think of them? 

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures


  1. I have never heard of wacky cake! Can’t wait to ask my mom if she has. Also can’t wait to try it! 🙂

  2. this is pretty close the recipe my MIL gave me–tastes even better the second day! we usually put icing on it.

  3. This has always been my go-to cake recipe, except the 9×13 size. I just recently found a spice version and it’s just as lovely! Leave out the cocoa and add in some extra flour (or substitute) to replace the bulk, then add 2-3 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Add in some shredded carrot or zucchini to slip in some veg.

    • I have never seen the spice version, but I am going to try that! I love the idea of a carrot or zucchini one.

    • Kimberly in NC says

      Thank you for sharing this, Betsy! A dear older lady shared this wacky cake recipe with me years ago, but my husband is not a chocolate lover, so I’ll try your version!

    • You had me so curious about the spice version I decided that I had to try it this afternoon. It is so good! My husband just said that it is better than the original chocolate version. I basically adapted this recipe doing what you said and it worked great. I took photos so I could share it with my readers soon. Thank you so much for sharing that you made it that way!

      • Kimberly in NC says

        Yay! Lynn, I’m so glad you updated quickly that you had great success with the adaptations. I’ll be sure to make it very soon!

      • I’m glad you like it! When I made the spice cake with raisins and many shredded carrots, my husband, (who doesn’t like cake) and my son (who doesn’t like carrots) wolfed it down.

  4. Thanks for this recipe!!
    In the late 60’s when I was 5 my older sister and I got an Easy Bake oven for Christmas and had a ball whipping up some yummy and not so yummy creations lol
    Our friend who was a few years older used to bake with us and this is one of the recipes that she gave us for the Easy Bake (obviously scaled down) that we used over and over. We loved it, mom always had the staple ingredients, it was super easy, never failed and everyone else loved it to.
    I always thought it was a recipe our friend had invented! LOL
    This will be re added to my recipe collection and now my grandchildren will get to whip it up. For real though not in an Easy Bake 🙂

  5. I remember in the 60’s one of the cake mix companies had a box version of this cake. You just added the oil, vinegar and water then pop it in the oven. It was so easy that even my mother could do (she can burn water) but she preferred to let me make it. I came to love cooking thanks to a mother that hated it!

  6. Nia Hanna says

    Hi Lynn,
    I remember you sharing a chocolate version that your niece whipped up and shared on your site. I found several variations on this site so far there are 10 variations, including a lemon version that I thought you might like (I know how much you love lemon desserts). I’m planning to try your spice version and her lemon version soon. I think my family might be swimming in wacky cake for a while around here. With the price of eggs on the rise, I’m excited to bake something delicious without them.

    • I saw a lemon version too and I need to try it. I do love lemon! And yes I did share a recipe a long time ago that my niece did. You must be a long time reader to remember that!

      • Nia Hanna says

        We’re planning the lemon version too. I just took the chocolate cake out of the oven. On my way to mix up the spice recipe you posted, planning to add carrots, raisins and crushed pineapple. And I am a long time reader! Found you while searching strawberry yogurt recipes several years ago. I still love it here. Your recipes are my kinda cookin’!

        • Nia Hanna says

          So we tried the lemon version, adding 1 Tablespoon of lemon zest (dried and run through the processor to get it really fine), along with 1 tsp lemon extract in addition to the 1 tsp vanilla. The batter tasted perfect but after the cake baked the lemon flavor was barely noticeable. We also frosted it with lemon frosting, but still the lemon flavor wasn’t as strong as I’d like. I’m gonna try again and add 2 tsp of lemon extract (I should have followed my gut and used this amount from the get go).

          We also made the spice cake with 1 C shredded carrots, 1/4 C raisins and 1/4 C crushed pineapple. I must say that it tastes better than the traditional carrot cake that calls for eggs! Definitely my new go to carrot cake recipe.

          • Thanks for letting me know. I love lemon, so I am glad to know that it needs more lemon. I will try that when I make it. Thanks!

  7. We made the spice version last week and it was a big hit. I put frosting on it that I made with Swerve powdered sugar, and two out of three hated the frosting and picked it off! My husband will eat anything and he did. I am making the chocolate today and will try the lemon next week. This is such an easy and delicious recipe. I will also try the carrot cake version. There is no wrong way to make this cake unless you use Swerve as an icing! Today I am sprinkling it with regular powdered sugar. Thanks for posting these recipes., I have had them for a while, but it wasn’t until last week that I decided to try it. There are fancier and more complicated cakes, but for me, the ease and taste of these cakes makes them all the ones to go with.

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