This crazy cake is made without butter, eggs or a mixing bowl. All you need are some pantry staples, which are mixed directly in your baking pan. The result is a deliciously moist and tender made-from-scratch chocolate sheet cake. This is such an easy and quick cake to make.
I recently stumbled upon the concept of crazy cakes and of course I was intrigued and had to try it out for myself. This recipe seems particularly fitting now, since this cake can be made with just a few pantry staples.
What is Crazy Cake?
Crazy cake, sometimes referred to as wacky cake is a cake that was created during World War II rationing, when ingredients like eggs and milk were scarce. I’ve also made an Italian water cake, which is the same concept – no eggs, butter or milk required.
All the ingredients are added directly to the baking pan and mixed before going into the oven to bake. The cake bakes up much like a traditional cake, with a tender and moist crumb.
Crazy Cake Taste and Texture
The cake tastes very much like a traditional chocolate sheet cake, though a little bit less rich. The cake reminded me a lot of my chocolate cake mix mug cake, which is not a huge surprise since that is also a cake made without eggs or dairy.
How to Make Crazy Cake
The process for making crazy cake reminds me of the dump cake recipes I’ve shared.
- First, you add all the dry ingredients directly into your pan and whisk them together.
- Then you make a few wells in your dry batter to pour in the wet ingredients.
- Everything is then whisked together until your batter is smooth and evenly combined. The cake is then ready to go in the oven.
More Easy Cake Recipes
Crazy Chocolate Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp table salt
- 1 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup olive, vegetable, or canola oil
- 1 cup water
Chocolate Ganache Frosting (optional, not dairy-free)
- 4 oz heavy cream
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 inch x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt directly into baking pan. Whisk together until evenly combined.
- Make two small wells and 1 large well in the dry ingredients. Add vanilla to one small well and vinegar to the other small well. Add oil to the large well. Pour the water over the top and whisk everything until batter becomes smooth and evenly combined.
- Place cake into oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting. You can top with your favorite chocolate frosting, powdered sugar, or chocolate ganache.
- To make chocolate ganache: Add chopped chocolate to a medium bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer on the stove. Pour heated heavy cream over chopped chocolate and immediately start to mix until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Let chocolate ganache cool at room temperature or in the fridge until it becomes firm enough for frosting the cake.
- Recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen.
- If your cocoa powder has clumped up due to moisture, break up the clumps before adding it to the baking pan.
- Do not leave out the vinegar. It is used to activate the baking soda.
- The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Baking time should be about the same and should not be doubled.
- Estimated nutrition does not include frosting.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
My dear friend has restrictions due to health, she must be Gluten Free, Nightshade restricted, eggs, shellfish and Lactose free, so you can imagine the challenges she and I have when I want to treat her. I am wondering if Gluten Free flour maybe substituted in this recipe?
Thank you for the super recipes.
We haven’t tried it but you can try using cup for cup gluten-free flour. Hope that helps!
Can you give me the receipt of making lemmingtons I love to make some thnks
Sorry, but not sure what you mean by “lemmingtons”? Did you mean our Lemon Crazy Cake?
Amazing Ive been have not seen this before ??
We hope you try it!
Thank you. I have eggs may I go ahead and add it to this recipe because I don’t have these substitutes here.
Sorry, but we haven’t tested the recipe with eggs. This style of cake is meant to be made without eggs – maybe you’d like to try our 2 Ingredient Chocolate Cake that has eggs.
Can I use coffee instead of water?
We haven’t tried it, but it should work fine!
I’ve been making this cake since I was in college in the early ’70s (found it in Peg Bracken’s “I hate to cook” book).
One time I was out of cocoa powder but had a box of instant cocoa mix, the kind that you make with just hot water. So I used that in place of the unsweetened cocoa, doing a bit of math to figure out how much of each packet was sugar (look at the nutrition info on the cocoa mix label, every 12.5 grams of of added sugar is a tablespoon of sugar) and how much was cocoa so I’d know how many packets to use and to figure out if I needed to add more sugar. I worried that the dry milk powder in the mix would change the flavor, it did, but it made it even better, like a sour cream chocolate cake.
Thanks for sharing your tips!
How long does this cake keep for if stored in a cake tin please?
It will keep for a few days at room temperature or you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few days longer. Be sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap.
This was really helpful for me
We’re glad you enjoyed it!
Can you substitute applesauce instead of using
Oil in the recipe,
Sorry, we haven’t tried that.
i would like to try your crazy cake but i am diabetic do you have a no sugar version that could work for me please and thanks
We have a Keto Chocolate Mug Cake that uses a sugar substitute.
I’ve made ganache using a can of coconut milk removed from the fridge and only using the cream part on top, not the clear fat on the bottom of the can. Add the chocolate and whip after melting then let cool. I’m so happy to have found this recipe. Your site is awesome. Can’t wait to make it!
Thanks for those tips!
“Crazy Cake” is an old recipe, known as “Whacky Cake”, and is in many cookbooks.
Great cake I make it often and everyone loves it!!
Would this recipe work ok in a round tin?
A 9″ round cake pan should work fine!
Very difficult to make wells with lined parchment paper in a 8×8 baking pan.
We don’t have a problem with it – works fine!
This sounds great. I am raising a child who is allergic to cow’smilk, peanut, wheat, egg and soy. This post gives me hope that there could be something out there i could whip up for him. Is there anything i could use to substitute wheat flour?
For this recipe, we’ve only tried wheat flour. We have a single-serving chocolate cake that is flourless and keto-friendly that might work better for you.
I made Crazy Cake for many years, but totally forgot about it as I don’t bake much anymore. It is the most delicious chocolate cake ever. I would frost with creamy white frosting, but any frosting or none at all works. I now look forward, once again, in surprising my husband with this great dessert. Serve with ice cream too.
So glad you’ve rediscovered it! We hope you love the cake.
I’m going to try making the recipe sometime soon. Your advice please; ok to add (say) chopped walnuts or chopped dates?
I hope you dont mind – its not my intention to bastardise your beautiful recipes; on the contrary, I find them very inspirational!
We haven’t tried adding mix-ins to the batter, but if you do it’s probably a good idea to finely chop them since the cake is delicate.
I made the crazy chocolate cake and forgot the oil! No problem as it turned out, husband stated best chocolate cake he’d ever tasted. I also thought it was delicious. Bit high in calories, half portion eaten.
Thanks for letting us know! So glad it worked without the oil.
Thank you for sharing your recipe. So easy to make and so delicious too!
We’re happy you love it!
Mt Grandmother made “wacky cake”fewer ingredients,no chocolate but did have vinegar and mixed in the pan, pretty good ,will try yours soon,trip down memory lane.ty for the recipe.
We hope you give it a try!
Very interesting, will try
We hope you like it!
Do you have any mocha cake recipes?
We don’t have a full-size cake, but we do have a salted caramel mocha mug cake.
i haven’t tried it yet; but, will during the next holiday and will let you know then. i am extremely excited about it though. Can’t wait to do it and experience it!
We hope you love it!
I’ve done made 2 of the crazy chocolate cakes. This week. I let my family try it, they liked it and loved it. Thanks for all your suggestions
We’re happy your family loved the cake!
I made the crazy chocolate cake. It was pretty good.
Can l please have some microwave recipes
You can see all of our microwave cakes under “Mug Cakes” and “Microwave Recipes” – Go to the top of the page and hover over Recipes and you will find these categories in our recipe index.
You know this recipe is basically a knockoff recipe from a recipe called “STIR CRAZY CAKE” which appeared in the marlboro cookbook from years ago.
Yes, the concept has been around a long time as we mention in the post! This is our version – we hope you give it a try.
Can’t wait to make this cake
We hope you love it!
Is there a substitute for white flour? I just don’t eat wht flour. It’s a long shot, but let me know…thanks.
You can try using cup for cup gluten-free flour. Hope that helps!
I don t know what is well or wells in the recipe I can t understand the recipe of chocolate cake. From Carmen
After you whisk the dry ingredients in the pan you need to make a few holes (or wells) and then pour the wet ingredients into them. Doing it this way makes it easy to mix the batter. Hope that helps!
I have a question about the vinegar and baking soda does that make the cake rise ?
The vinegar is added to activate the baking soda, which helps the cake rise as it bakes. Hope that helps!
Could u use this on o box cake leaving eggs out ect
We haven’t tried using a cake mix for this recipe, so we can’t say for sure how that would work.
Can’t wait to try the chocolate cake. Love your recipes.
We hope you enjoyed it!
Could this be baked in a microwave?
Could plain Greek yogurt be substituted for heavy cream in the frosting?
We haven’t tried cooking it in the microwave. As far as the frosting, Greek yogurt is thicker than cream so keep that in mind if you try it.
Can you substitute whole wheat flour (or half) and erythritol in this recipe?
I think so but I have not tried
Cheap and great recipe, I’m definitely trying this out. Thanks a lot!!!!
Hope you enjoy it!
Hi granulated white or golden monkfruit is better for replacing white granulated sugar and it tastes better than stevia! 🙂
I will try it with monkfruit I believe it will be just as yummy as granulated white sugar. Thank you for a quick chocolate cake recipe! 🙂
Let us know how it works!
Unbelievable easy moist tastes great
I’m so glad you liked it!
I did enjoyed my chocolate cake. Very delicious.
I also made a carrot cake using same recipe. I added a tsp of ginger juice. Love it also.
I’m so glad you enjoyed!
My mom made this during 50’s – 80’s; She learned it from a lady in Holland, MI (great cook).
MUCH better than any other chocolate cake I’ve had in last 30 years.
I’m going to have to try it myself – never could find her recipe!?
hope you enjoy!
Hi, is it ok to use cocount flour for keto? And which liquid should I increase? Lovely recipe, thanks.
unfortunately it will not work with coconut flour
Can I use an equal amount of unsweetened apple sauce in place of the oil? I have done that with corn muffins and they came out great. Also can bake it in my air fryer? Also done with my corn muffins.
I think yes to both questions but I haven’t tried.
Hi I want to try this but can I use whole wheat flour instead of white?
yes that should work. it will be drier with whole wheat flour. You may want to do half white and half whole wheat
We baked this today. My 10 years old girl loves it . Never noticed there is no egg or dairy in it. Will bake this for her birthday. BTW it is so easy to make, no mess.
I’m so glad your little girl loved it!
Wow! This cake is absolutely delicious and super easy to make with little clean up. I’m not vegan, but like to try new recipes and this is as good or better than most nonvegan cakes and far superior to box cake mixes in my opinion. I’m looking forward to trying the snickerdoodle crazy cake recipe! Thanks!
I’m so glad you liked it!
I can’t wait to try this! I’m Jamaican, so it’s nice to find recipes online that call for generic ingredients rather hard-to-get or expensive ones. Thanks, Kirbie!
I hope you enjoy!
Hiya, do you know how long this cake will last for? Wanting to make it in advance with my son for his dad’s birthday:)
It can last about 3 days at room temp.
Easy to use recipe! Would recommend!
I’m glad you liked it!
Nice chocolate flavor and so moist! My whole family loves this recipe.
I’m so happy your family enjoyed!
I just made this cake today! It’s so tasty ?
I used apple cider vinegar instead. But my cake didn’t rise up high. Is it because I didn’t use white vinegar?
Make sure your baking soda is still fresh. That would be the most likely cause of the cake not rising high.
Can I use milk instead of cream for the frosting?
milk will not work if you want to make a ganache frosting
How can I make it keto friendly. Thanks
Unfortunately I don’t have a keto friendly version of this recipe yet
Nice chocolate flavor and so moist. Such an easy cake to make, this recipe is a keeper!
I’m so glad you liked it!
I’m 77. I made this cake all the time for my three kids, then grands. They liked it better than store bought or boxed!!
I’m glad they enjoy the cake. I think it tastes better than the boxed ones too!
Can you use brown vinegar instead of white?
you can use apple cider vinegar
Is parchment paper used only on bottom of dish?
I lined the entire pan with parchment paper using two sheets.
I baked this cake last night. It is really good-even better after being refrigerated. So easy to mix up and one bowl clean up. I actually had to wash more measuring cups than any other utensils. I wanted to know that there’s a tasty dessert I can make when there are no eggs or milk in the house. I already had a bowl of cream cheese frosting waiting in the refrigerator.
I admire the cooks, grandparents, moms and dads who lived and thrived during the Depression Era. They made miracles happen with nearly nothing. Thank you for an easy chocolate fix!
I’m so glad you like the cake! it’s been on repeat at my house. We all really like it!
Can non-white vinager be used? Thank you.
You can try with apple cider vinegar. I have not tested it though
Thank you! Can I use stevia – granulated Stevia – in place of sugar to make it sugar free?
I haven’t tested it with granulated stevia but I think it should work
I just made this with my 5 year old. Comes together really easily. It is currently baking but looks wonderful. Thank you.
hope you both enjoy!