Vanilla crazy cake is an easy recipe that uses pantry staples to create a soft and delicious dessert. Just a few minutes of prep and your cake is ready for the oven, no mixer required!
Another pantry ingredient dessert coming at you today! Vanilla crazy cake!
It’s a vanilla-fied (that’s totally a word) version of my grandma’s chocolate dump cake. And it’s ridiculously easy to make! I’m guessing you’re as in need of cake right now as I am. . .and you just might need a recipe that doesn’t use butter or eggs.
Normally I’d serve my cake with ice cream or whipped cream but I’m out of both right now and don’t feel like venturing out in search of either one. As such, I served my cake with powdered sugar and raspberries and it was still yummy.
But if you didn’t stress-eat all your ice cream three weeks ago than I strongly suggest making this cake and topping it with a scoop of whatever might be in your freezer. You won’t regret it :).
Why you’ll love this vanilla crazy cake:
- This recipe is really easy to make and requires just a few minutes of active time. You don’t need a mixer or any fancy equipment—just a bowl and a spoon!
- All of the ingredients in this cake are pantry staples that you most likely have on hand right now. There are no eggs, butter, milk, or other dairy in this recipe (the cake is actually vegan!).
- Because of the addition of vegetable oil, you’re ensured a light and moist cake that’s just about irresistible.
What is crazy cake?
Crazy cake (also known as wacky cake and depression cake) is a cake made without eggs, milk, or butter. They were popular during the depression because they were made with pantry staples because other ingredients were hard to come by.
And they’re delicious—crazy cakes are proof that you don’t need to use eggs or milk to make a soft and flavorful cake!
They have the added bonus of being incredibly easy to make.
Is crazy cake vegan?
Typically, yes it is because of the lack of eggs, butter, or any dairy! This vanilla version is vegan and you’ll never miss the butter or eggs.
What can I substitute for vegetable oil?
Coconut oil, either refined or unrefined, is a good substitute. Just remember that unrefined coconut oil sometimes has a coconut flavor to it that could alter the flavor of your cake.
How to make crazy cake
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.
- Make a well (a deep indentation) in the middle and pour in water, vegetable oil, vanilla, and vinegar
- Stir until smooth
- Pour into an 8-inch round cake pan and bake for about 35 minutes
When your cake is done, it should look like the photo below!
Once the cake has cooled, dust the top with powdered sugar and serve. (Or dust the cake while it’s warm and the sugar will sort of melt into it. It’s your call!)
- You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar; this is what activates the baking soda so you cannot omit it.
- As with other cake batters, you don’t want to over-mix this one. Stop stirring once you no longer see big streaks or lumps of the dry ingredients.
- You can also bake your cake in an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking dish; see the recipe card for baking times.
- A sifter is helpful for dusting the cake evenly with powdered sugar but you can just sprinkle it on with a spoon.
How to store your cake
Uneaten cake can be stored at room temperature, covered, for 3 days. Cool your cake completely before covering it or the cake might sweat.
You can also freeze slices, tightly wrapped, for about a month. I like to wrap mine with layers of plastic wrap and aluminum foil.
Either defrost slices of cake at room temp or pop them in the microwave until they’re warm (I highly recommend the latter if you plan on serving your cake with ice cream—which I also highly recommend.)
If you want to jazz up your cake with more than powdered sugar here are a few ideas:
- Mix a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder in with the powdered sugar topping to give your cake a hint of chocolate
- Use the coconut glaze from this vegan coconut cake
- Or top with chocolate ganache
- You could also make vanilla buttercream—just don’t frost your cake until it’s fully cooled or the frosting will melt
What to serve with your cake
- It’s delicious served with whipped cream; to keep the cake vegan you could use whipped coconut cream rather than whipped heavy cream
- Ice cream and chocolate sauce are always good choices (I’m pretty sure I recommend ice cream and chocolate sauce with everything)
- Fresh fruit! I obviously chose raspberries but literally any fruit goes well with vanilla cake
Did you make this vanilla crazy cake? That’s great! Let me know what you think with a comment and a rating below. Then post a pic on IG–tag @theitsybitsykitchen so I can see your delicious creations!
Vanilla crazy cake is an easy recipe that uses pantry staple ingredients--no eggs, butter, or milk! And you don't need a mixer to make it!
- 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 5 tablespoons vegetable oil*
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar**
- 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Make a well (a deep indentation) in the middle of the dry mixture and pour the water, oil, vanilla, and vinegar into the well.
- Stir with a rubber spatula until batter until the batter is smooth; don’t over-mix, you can stop stirring once you don’t see big streaks or lumps of flour in the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake 34 to 40 minutes, until the cake is golden around the edges and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack, then dust with powdered sugar and serve. (You can also dust the cake while it’s warm and the sugar will sort of melt into it.)
- Uneaten cake can be stored at room temperature, covered, for 3 days. You can also freeze slices, tightly wrapped, for about a month.
- *You can substitute refined coconut oil (or unrefined if you don’t mind the coconut flavor).
- **You can substitute fresh lemon juice.
- You can also use an 8-inch square baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or a 9-inch square pan and bake for 24 to 30 minutes.
- Serve your cake warm or cold; it’s especially good warm with ice cream or whipped cream and fresh fruit