Chocolate Wacky Cake with Mocha Buttercream

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

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Back when I lived in South Carolina I went to this sushi place that had this wonderful cucumber salad as an appetizer. I could never find it at any other Japanese restaurants, but I’ve learned to make it at home. This is such a light salad that really goes with most any meal. I often will slice up a cucumber and have it as a snack. So, put down the salt and hold the mayo and try this the next time you have a few cucumbers lying around.

Serves 4

Japanese Cucumber Salad


  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Peel the cucumbers, but leave alternating green stripes. Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds out with a spoon. Slice the cucumber into very thin slices and place into a kitchen towel or double layered paper towel and gently squeeze the excess moisture out.

Combine the vinegar, salt and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Add the sesame seeds and cucumbers and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Information

Per serving, 1 cup

46 calories, 2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 1 g fiber, 147 mg sodium, 137 mg potassium.

Source: Eating Well


Mini Caprese Bites

I love nothing more than using fresh ingredients from my garden and making a Caprese salad. I honestly wont eat one unless it is in the summer. I’m a bit of a snob that way, but the whole point is that every ingredients is at it’s freshest. The salad is simple, but uses amazing ingredients.

These delicious little bites are perfect when you want to serve a pretty little appetizer that is easy for everyone to grab. Or, when you want a little snack that looks pretty while your house is quiet! I am all for elaborate appetizers, but sometimes you need something last minute or don’t have to time for prep. Why not serve these? Everyone will be impressed and you barely did any work! It’s all about the pretty factor!

Mini Caprese Bites


  • grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • fresh mozzarella cheese, either cut into small squares or balls cut in half
  • fresh basil leaves
  • olive oil or balsamic vinegar

Take pretty little skewers and place a piece of basil, some tomatoes, and a chunk of mozzarella. You can arrange them however you want. As I have pictured, or use both halves of the tomato, or you can cut the tomato at a diagonal and arrange them on the skewer to make cute little hearts. Place on a serving plate and drizzle with olive oil or vinegar and serve!


Sauteed Shredded Zucchini

If you still find yourself using up a lot of end of season zucchini like I am, here is a great way to use a lot and serve a new, tasty side dish. I really enjoy this recipe and will even cook it up by itself for a light lunch. I also like that it is a different “form” of how I typically serve zucchini. Usually, it is in slices, strips, or cubed. Since it looks different it is “new” and “interesting” to my two year old daughter. As we all know, new can be good when introducing vegetables. The more they like with their eyes, the more they will eat! Plus, she usually sees me grate zucchini and yells, “Cookies!” So, she was even more excited to see what I had cooked up for her.

Serves 4

Sauteed Shredded Zucchini


  • 5 medium zucchini (about 8 oz. each), ends trimmed
  • 1 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 2 shallots, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Shred the zucchini, using a box grater or food processor. Toss the zucchini with the salt in a colander set over a medium bowl and allow to drain for 10 minutes. Wrap the shredded zucchini in a kitchen towel, in batches if necessary, and wring out the excess moisture.

Add the zucchini to a medium bowl and toss to break up any clumps. Add the minced shallots and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and toss to thoroughly combine.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the zucchini to the pan and distribute in an even layer. Cook without stirring until the bottom layer browns, about 2 minutes. Stir well, breaking up any clumps, and cook once more until the “new” bottom layer brown, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Source: The Way the Cookie Crumbles