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Vanilla Crazy Cake

A close up of a piece of cake on a plate, with Vanilla and Fork
Vanilla Crazy Cake is a depression era white cake without eggs or milk that’s still moist and delicious! 
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Table of Contents
  1. VANILLA CRAZY CAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS VANILLA CRAZY CAKE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. FAQ
  6. MORE DESSERTS YOU'LL LOVE
  7. JUMP TO RECIPE

This easy recipe for vanilla crazy cake is made with only pantry staples. It’s also known as wacky cake or depression cake. This recipe originated in the depression era and is a white cake without eggs or milk that’s still moist and delicious! 

Vanilla crazy cake is a twist on the original Crazy Cake, which is chocolate flavored. Along with Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, all of these desserts can be made with ingredients that you already have on hand. Our Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake is another vintage recipe you’ll love.

A piece of cake on a plate, with Vanilla and Milk

MORE CAKE RECIPES
Chocolate Pudding Cake | Strawberry Angel Food Cake


VANILLA CRAZY CAKE INGREDIENTS

Cake and Vanilla

You will need: 

For the Cake

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water

For the Frosting

  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (clear vanilla if you have it)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk or more if needed for desired consistency

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

COCOA POWDER: To transform this vanilla cake into a chocolate cake, add 3 tablespoons of cocoa. Click here to see the chocolate version of Crazy Cake. 

LEMON: The lemon version of this cake is fresh and tasty! And it’s easy to make: add 1 tablespoon lemon zest when you mix your dry ingredients and 1 teaspoon lemon extract at the same time you add your vanilla. 

FROSTING: Instead of frosting you can simply add sprinkles (rainbow sprinkles are the best) or powdered sugar to the top of the cake. 

CUPCAKES: You can also use this exact same recipe to make cupcakes. Fill your muffin liners ¾ of the way full and bake them at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a cupcake comes out clean. 

HOW TO MAKE THIS VANILLA CRAZY CAKE RECIPE

STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

STEP TWO: In an UNGREASED 9 x 9-inch pan add the flour, white sugar, baking soda and salt. Whisk the ingredients together in the pan. 

PRO TIP: You can also use an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan and increase your cooking time by 3-6 minutes. 

STEP THREE: Use your fingers or a spoon to make a well in the middle of your pan and two smaller wells on each side of the center well. 

A close up of food, with Cake and Vanilla

STEP FOUR: Add the vegetable oil to the center well. 

STEP FIVE: Pour vinegar into a small well and the vanilla into the other small well. 

PRO TIP: The vinegar is a must in this recipe, it reacts with the baking soda to give the cake the desired texture, doing the work eggs would do in other recipes. The cake does not come out tasting like vinegar!

STEP SIX: Pour cold water over all of the ingredients. 

STEP SEVEN: Whisk together until combined. You can also use a spoon to help stir in the corners of the pan and mix until smooth. 

PRO TIP: If there are bubbles in your wet batter, gently tap your cake pan on the counter to release the bubbles.

STEP EIGHT: Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven and cool completely before serving.

PRO TIP: Keep a close eye on the cake at the 30-minute mark as you don’t want to overbake it.

A close up of a sign

STEP NINE: Ice cooled cake with frosting or powdered sugar or plain. To make the frosting: place the melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk. Using a mixer mix together until smooth. You may need to add additional milk to reach buttercream consistency. Beat for 2-3 minutes scraping down the sides intermittently.

HOW TO SERVE

Serve this amazing vanilla cake for any occasion. Add a scoop of our vanilla ice cream on the side and whipped cream and hot fudge sauce on top to make this cake extra fancy. I guarantee this cake will get great reviews from all cake lovers.

Serve this cake with our iced tea, raspberry iced tea, sweet peach iced tea, or our southern strawberry sweet tea on the side. 

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: If your cake is unfrosted, you can store it in the fridge covered in plastic wrap. If you frost your cake, allow it to chill in your fridge for 15 minutes and then cover it with plastic wrap. The cake will stay good in the fridge for up to 5-7 days. 

IN THE FREEZER: To freeze your vanilla crazy cake, wrap it in plastic wrap or an airtight container. If your cake is frosted let it freeze fully first, uncovered, and then apply the plastic wrap. You can freeze your cake in slices or whole. It will stay good in the freezer for 4-6 months.

A close up of a piece of cake on a plate, with Vanilla and Chocolate

This vanilla crazy cake (also known as Wacky Cake or Depression Cake) is an easy dessert to make when you want to skip a trip to the store. It’s a delicious cake without eggs or milk that’s still a decadent treat. 

FAQ

What is Depression Cake?

Depression Cake originated out of a need to find replacements for hard-to-find or expensive ingredients during the Great Depression, such as eggs and butter. They were substituted for pantry standards, making this recipe easy to make even when you run out of typical baking essentials.

Can you freeze this vanilla depression-era cake?

This cake freezes well. It can be stored in plastic wrap in the freezer.

Is this wacky cake recipe vegan?

Since this recipe does not have any eggs or milk, if you leave off the frosting because it has butter in it, this cake is a great vegan cake option.

MORE DESSERTS YOU’LL LOVE

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A close up of a piece of cake on a plate, with Vanilla and Fork

Vanilla Crazy Cake

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Vanilla Crazy Cake is a depression era white cake without eggs or milk that’s still moist and delicious! 
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 9

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup water cold

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • In an UNGREASED 9×9-inch pan add the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using a whisk stir together the ingredients right in the pan to kind of sift it all together.
  • Next using your fingers or a spoon make a good sized well in the middle and two smaller wells one on each side of the center well.
  • Place the vegetable oil in the center well.
  • Place the vinegar in a small well and the vanilla in the other small well.
  • Pour the cold water over all of the ingredients.
  • Using the whisk, stir until combined. You can also use a spoon to get into the corners and further mix until smooth. If there are bubbles in your batter, gently tap the pan on the countertop to release the bubbles.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven to cool completely before serving.
  • Ice with frosting or powdered sugar or plain.

Video

Notes

TO MAKE VANILLA FROSTING:
You will need
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (clear vanilla, if you have it)
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup milk or more if needed for desired consistency
Place the melted butter in a medium mixing bowl. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk. Using a mixer, mix together until smooth. May need additional milk to reach desired consistency. Beat for 2-3 minutes scraping down the sides intermittently.
Recipe for both cake and frosting can be easily doubled for a 9×13 plan.
TIP: If using an 8×8 pan, increase cooking time by 3-6 minutes as the cake will be thicker.
TIP: The vinegar is a must in this recipe, it reacts with the baking soda to give the cake the desired texture, doing the work eggs would do in other recipes. The cake does not come out tasting like vinegar!
TIP: If there are bubbles in your wet batter, gently tap your cake pan on the counter to release the bubbles.
TIP:Keep a close eye on the cake at the 30-minute mark as you don’t want to overbake it.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 22mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 22g | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 1mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

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  1. Melissa says

    Hi! I love crazy cake recipes and have made a chocolate version a bunch. I’d like to try out a vanilla version but as a round cake. Would it work with 2 or 3 8” round cake pans? Thanks!

    • Aimee B. says

      Ann, not sure if you’ll see this, I but wanted to let you know that I’ve been making various crazy cakes for years and have often made them into cupcakes. Just mix your ingredients in a bowl. I do my wet and dry separately because I find it easier. I add my wet to the dry and mix just until combined. I usually get about 10-12 cupcakes out of it. I bake in my toaster oven, so it only takes around 15 minutes or so, but your oven may be different, just bake accordingly. 🙂

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