October 23, 2023Review Recipe
Table of Contents
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 Ingredients
For The Cake:
- 1½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of cold water
For The Frosting:
- ½ cup of butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract (clear vanilla if you have it)
- 5 cups of powdered sugar
- ¼ cup of milk or more if needed for desired consistency
Substitutions And Additions
COCOA POWDER: To transform this vanilla cake into a chocolate cake, add three tablespoons of cocoa.
LEMON: The lemon version of this cake is fresh and tasty! And it’s easy to make: add one tablespoon of lemon zest when you mix your dry ingredients and one 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.
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.
STEP FOUR: Add the vegetable oil to the center well.
STEP FIVE: Pour vinegar into one small well and the vanilla into the other small well.
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.
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.
Keep a close eye on the cake at the 30-minute mark, as you don’t want to overbake it.
STEP NINE: Ice the 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.
Mix together using an electric mixer 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.
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.
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 five to seven 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 four to six months.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
This cake freezes well. It can be stored in plastic wrap in the freezer.
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.
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Vanilla Crazy Cake
- 1½ cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup cold water
- 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.
- 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
- The recipe for both cake and frosting can be easily doubled for a 9×13 plan.
- If using an 8×8 pan, increase the cooking time by 3-6 minutes, as the cake will be thicker.
- 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!
- If there are bubbles in your wet batter, gently tap your cake pan on the counter to release the bubbles.
- Keep a close eye on the cake at the 30-minute mark, as you don’t want to overbake it.