I had never heard of Wacky Cake until I met my husband. I honestly thought it was decorated funny or something. It’s a family favorite and over the years I’ve learned that it is actually a common recipe that is very easy to make.

The original recipe is from the 1940’s, when ingredients such as eggs were rationed. Also, remember that many people still did not have refrigerators and could not store dairy items for long. Wacky Cake made a delicious dessert using items one had on hand.

I made this cake for the first time a few weeks ago for my husband’s grandmother’s birthday. I was excited to make the cake for her, but a little leery of trying a new recipe for such an occasion. I knew it was a no-fuss recipe and I was very pleased with the results. It is a dense cake that is not only simple to make, but also very delicious! Another great aspect of the cake is that it does not use eggs. So many out there nowadays have egg allergies so here is a tasty alternative!

The Mocha Buttercream, on the other hand, uses lots of eggs so steer clear! Since the celebration was being held at camp I knew not to temp the fates with a Swiss Buttercream, but I wanted something decadent and creamy. This buttercream was everything and more. If you love mocha, or want to try it, this is the buttercream for you! You seriously can’t go wrong. If I hadn’t made it the morning of the party, I probably would have eaten quite a bit from the standmixer bowl!

Chocolate Wacky Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted shortening
  • 1 cup cold water

Pre-oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and cocoa powder.  Make three wells in the flour mixture. In a small well, add vanilla. In another small well, add vinegar. In a large well, add the oil or shortening. Pour cold water into bowl and mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.

Pour into an ungreased 8 x 8 pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Mocha Buttercream


  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temp
  • 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 lb (2 cups or 4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped, melted and cooled to room temp
  • 2 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp water

In a small sauce pan fitted with a candy thermometer, bring the 1 1/4 cups sugar, water, and cream of tartar to a boil over medium-high heat. If any of the sugar crystals get onto the side of the pan, be sure to wipe them down with a wet clean pastry bush. The sugar needs to cook until it hits 242 F on the thermometer. This takes several minutes.

While that is boiling, place the eggs, egg yolks, and 1/4 cup sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer and whip on medium speed until they are thick, pale in color, and hold a ribbon when the beater is lifted. Once the sugar syrup has reached its temperature of 242 F, then slowly pour it into the bowl of whipped egg yolks while the beater is going on slow. Be sure to pour it along the bowl so that the hot syrup doesn’t hit the beater and splatter! Allow the eggs and sugar mixture to beat on medium high-speed until the eggs have cooled, about 8 minutes.

Add the butter 2 Tbsp at a time. The buttercream will go through a stage that looks soupy and curdled, but continue to add all of the butter and it will come together. The finished buttercream will be smooth and silky

Add a Tbsp of water to the espresso powder and allow to dissolve. Add it to the butter mixture.
Add the melted and cooled chocolate to the buttercream. Mix to combine.

Source: The Essential Baker by Carole Bloom, Violet Gumdrop Flowers

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