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Vanilla Crazy Cake (Dairy and Egg-Free!)  

The Vanilla Crazy Cake. You might have heard it called the Wacky Cake or Depression Cake. And trust me, it’s as fun and intriguing as its names suggest. 

depression cake recipe vanilla

So, what’s the story behind this cake? Well, it dates back to the Great Depression era, a time when pantry staples were hard to come by, and things like eggs and dairy were a luxury.

But hey, that didn’t stop people from whipping up something sweet and delicious! They got creative and made this amazing cake without eggs, milk, or butter. Talk about a clever way to satisfy a sweet tooth, right?

This Vanilla Crazy Cake is a testament to how resourceful those times were. It’s made with simple ingredients right from your pantry – naturally egg and dairy free with no fancy stuff needed. 

But wait, there’s more! This cake is not just a plain Jane; it’s super moist and fluffy. And if you’re feeling extra festive, why not throw in some rainbow sprinkles or top it with your favorite frosting? It’s perfect as a birthday cake or just a treat for those days when you need a little pick-me-up.

vanilla crazy cake recipe
  • It’s an easy recipe that brings back the simplicity and ingenuity of the Great Depression era.
  • Made with no eggs, this cake is a dream come true for anyone on a dairy-free or vegan diet. 
  • It’s perfect for adding your personal touch, like almond extract or strawberry flavors.
  • This cooled cake can be stored in the fridge or even frozen for later enjoyment. It’s as good the next day as it is fresh.
  • Enjoy a slice of history with this Depression-era recipe, made with ingredients that were easy to find even during hard times.
  • From a casual get-together to a birthday bash, this cake fits right in. You can even bake it in round cake pans for a more traditional look.
  • Top with your favorite frosting, be it chocolate, vanilla, or something more adventurous. The cake’s fluffy texture pairs well with any frosting.
vanilla crazy cake cupcakes

Serves: 9 squares (8-inch square baking pan)| Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 35 minutes | Assembly Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes

Cake:

  • 2 1/4 cup/270g all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup+ 2 tbsp/175g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp/8g baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp/2g baking soda
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp/93ml neutral oil (I use grapeseed oil)
  • 1 cup/235ml oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)*
  • 2 tsp/10ml vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup/165g vegan butter or margarine, softened
  • 3 cups/360g powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tsp/5-10ml vanilla extract (depending on desired intensity of flavour)

vanilla wacky cake recipe

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175 C. Grease or line an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm square baking pan with parchment. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to evenly distribute everything.

2. Create a well in the center and pour in oat milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.

3. Pour into prepared baking tin and shake to level.

4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing and allow to cool completely.

depression cake vanilla

1. Combine all the vegan butter, vanilla extract, and 1/3 -1/2 the powdered sugar in a bowl.

2. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed, slowly incorporating all the powdered sugar.

3. Add the remaining powdered sugar, incorporating slowly to prevent a cloud of powdered sugar. Increase the speed and beat until very fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

4. Dollop frosting on top and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with any desired toppings (sprinkles, chocolate flakes, candied citrus peel).

Notes:

  • * Serve immediately or can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Individual slices can be stored in the freezer (wrapped individually in plastic before being placed in an airtight container) for up to 1 month.
  • * Flavour variations:
  • For funfetti or chocolate chip cake, add 1/2 cup sprinkles or mini chocolate chips to the batter before pouring into the baking pan.
  • ** For a layer cake, divide batter into two greased 6-8”/15-20cm round pans. Bake for 18-25 minutes. Make 1.5x the frosting for a completely coated cake.
vanilla wacky cake cupcakes

🍰 Chocolate crazy cake version – For a chocolate version, swap out some flour for cocoa powder. Add the vanilla as usual, and you’ve got yourself a chocolate crazy cake!

🍰 Soy milk or almond milk – While the recipe uses oat milk, feel free to substitute with any dairy-free milk like soy milk or almond milk to keep the cake vegan.

🍰 Instant coffee granules – To enhance the flavor, add a tablespoon of instant coffee granules to the cake batter. This will give a subtle mocha twist to your vanilla cake.

🍰 Cinnamon or nutmeg – For a spiced version, add a teaspoon of cinnamon or a pinch of nutmeg to the dry ingredients. This adds a warm, aromatic flavor that pairs beautifully with the vanilla.

🍰 Strawberries, blueberries, or kiwi – After frosting, decorate the top of the cake with fresh fruit slices like strawberries, blueberries, or kiwi for a refreshing and beautiful finish.

🍰 Almond extract or lemon extract – Experiment with different extracts like almond extract or lemon extract to create your own unique version of this vanilla cake.

🍰 Chopped nuts – Sprinkle the top of the batter with chopped nuts like almonds or walnuts before baking for added texture and nutty flavor.

🍰 Frosting options – Top with your favorite frosting. You can go classic with vanilla or chocolate, or get creative with peanut butter or fruit-flavored frostings.

🍰 Cupcake variation – Pour the batter into a lined muffin tin to make cupcakes – a perfect portion-controlled treat that’s great for sharing.

crazy cake recipe vanilla
  • Refrigerating the Cake: For longer storage, place the cake in the refrigerator. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you’ve already added frosting, especially if it’s a dairy-free or vegan frosting, refrigeration is recommended. Use an airtight container to prevent the cake from absorbing any fridge odors.
  • Freezing for Longer Storage: This cake freezes beautifully. Wrap the cake or individual slices in plastic wrap and then place them in a freezer-safe bag or container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
  • Storing the Batter: If you’ve prepared extra batter, it can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days. Make sure to store it in a sealed container. When ready to bake, let the batter come to room temperature, give it a quick stir with a whisk, and then bake as directed.
  • Reviving a Cooled Cake: If your cake has been refrigerated and you prefer it at room temperature, simply let it sit out for about an hour before serving. This will allow the cake to soften and the flavors to become more pronounced.
  • Decorating After Storage: If you plan to add sprinkles or other decorations, it’s best to do so after the cake has been thawed or brought to room temperature.
  • Tips for Best Results:
    • If you’ve used apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in your cake, these ingredients help preserve the cake’s moisture and freshness.
    • For a chocolate version of this cake, the storage method remains the same. Just ensure that any chocolate frosting or decorations are also stored appropriately.
    • If you’ve made a vanilla version with sprinkles or lemon extract, ensure that the sprinkles don’t get soggy by storing the cake in a cool, dry place.

Remember, the Vanilla Crazy Cake is not just the easiest vanilla cake to make, but it’s also incredibly versatile in how you can store and enjoy it later. Whether you’re baking for a special occasion or just whipping up a quick treat for the little ones, this cake is sure to be a hit every time!

OTHER CAKE RECIPES

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vanilla wacky cake
vanilla wacky cake cupcakes

Vanilla Wacky Cake

Vanilla Crazy Cake is the coolest vanilla cake from the Depression era. The best part? It's made without eggs! Perfect for vegans or anyone who's out of eggs and still craving a delicious cake.
5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 9 square
Calories: 473kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

For the cake:

For the frosting:

  • ¾ cup vegan butter softened
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

MAKE VANILLA CRAZY CAKE

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175 C. Grease or line an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm square baking pan with parchment. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to evenly distribute everything.
  • 2. Create a well in the center and pour in oat milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.
  • 3. Pour into prepared baking tin and shake to level.
  • 4. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing and allow to cool completely.

MAKE THE FROSTING AND ASSEMBLE THE CAKE

  • 1. Combine all the vegan butter, vanilla extract, and 1/3 -1/2 the powdered sugar in a bowl.
  • 2. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed, slowly incorporating all the powdered sugar.
  • 3. Add the remaining powdered sugar, incorporating slowly to prevent a cloud of powdered sugar. Increase the speed and beat until very fluffy, 3-5 minutes.
  • 4. Dollop frosting on top and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with any desired toppings (sprinkles, chocolate flakes, candied citrus peel).

Notes

* Serve immediately or can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Individual slices can be stored in the freezer (wrapped individually in plastic before being placed in an airtight container) for up to 1 month.
* Flavour variations:
– For funfetti or chocolate chip cake, add 1/2 cup sprinkles or mini chocolate chips to the batter before pouring into the baking pan.
** For a layer cake, divide batter into two greased 6-8”/15-20cm round pans. Bake for 18-25 minutes. Make 1.5x the frosting for a completely coated cake.

Nutrition

Serving: 1square | Calories: 473kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 291mg | Potassium: 55mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 774IU | Calcium: 96mg | Iron: 2mg | Net Carbohydrates: 66g

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