Yesterday, a friend requested recipes for egg-free cakes. I suggested crazy cake. You’ve probably seen a crazy cake recipe before, perhaps under its alias of “wacky cake”. Or maybe you’ve seen its cousin, the non-chocolate version called Depression Cake. Crazy, Wacky, Depressed – the perfect cake recipe for the moody baker.
I can’t recall exactly when I last made a crazy cake, but I do remember having good results. I’ve always made my crazy cakes with plain old white vinegar, but this time I decided to try it with raspberry vinegar. Given my affinity for fruit/chocolate combos, I was very curious to see if a cake made with raspberry vinegar would actually taste like chocolate raspberries.
The recipe we used this morning was designed for an 8×8 inch square pan. Fuzzy enjoyed the process of digging and filling 3 holes and I appreciated not having so many dishes to wash. It was also fun to see how the baking soda reacted with the vinegar in the pan. It bubbled up as we stirred and had a light, frothy texture. It settled down a bit before we put it in the oven.
The time and money we saved making this quick little cake allowed us to be more creative with the frosting, so below is a streamlined version of a Cook’s Illustrated chocolate frosting recipe. It’s a very light, almost truffle-like icing that is very easy to make and open to many flavoring options.
This cake was so good. It’s one I’ll be making more often and one I’ll be experimenting with. The raspberry vinegar added a good deal of raspberry flavor (more than I expected) so the next time I make it I might actually kick up the raspberry theme and put raspberries on top or somewhere in the icing. Or maybe add a layer of preserves. And if I can get my hands on some cherry vinegar, imagine the possibilities in the Black Forest department!
Chocolate (Raspberry) Crazy Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar (or raspberry vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cold water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready (don’t grease) an 8×8 inch pan.
Stir together flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together in an 8×8 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Cook’s Illustrated Chocolate Frosting
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate — or semisweet
1/8 cup corn syrup, dark — or light
4 tablespoons butter — unsalted, cut into chunks, soft
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup confectioners sugar — might need more sugar
Place cream in a heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat. Add chocolate and stir until smooth. Transfer to bowl mixer. Let cool to room temperature (about an hour).
Add corn syrup and butter to bowl. Beat on low to mix. Add sugar and continue beating until fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla.
Frosts an 8 inch cake.