You all have to deal with groan-inducing titles like this one because I have a case of the sniffles and can’t think clearly enough to come up with something awesome. Weeks of unpacking, cleaning, dusting and rolling around on not-quite-clean carpets in fits of delirium (this has not been an easy move) have finally taken their toll on my body. I would very much like to assume the fetal position and take a season-long nap on the couch, but I fear this will be frowned upon. Instead, I must soldier on, baking cookies and cakes to keep loved ones happy. Lord, am I brave.
I’m ill. Indulge me.
So, a couple years ago I found a recipe for something called a wacky cake. I felt a strange pull toward this cake, and can only assume its name and I have something in common. I’m not really sure why it’s called a wacky cake (it’s also known as a dump cake, but sometimes my brain is five years old and finds that name disgusting) but hey, let’s just go with it, man.
I decided to go with this particular cake as one of three desserts (and that’s me holding back, kids) that would be featured at our housewarming shindig for two reasons: 1. it’s easy and I needed something easy because I was pulling my hair out and slowly rocking back and forth while trying to figure out if I should roll clockwise or counterclockwise along the carpets, and 2. it’s vegan, and I know some awesome vegans. I also know some awesome non-vegans who had no idea that this sweet treat was animal byproduct-free. Ha! How you like me now?
Oh, this cake is also very kid-friendly, as it contains both baking soda and vinegar, which, if you’ve ever done that 6th grade science project involving creating your own volcano (mine never worked!!! WHY?!), you know will fizz up and create some serious joy for very little money. And I am all about the cheap thrill. Wait…
Wacky Cake (makes one 9-inch round cake)
1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vinegar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
5 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil
1 cup of cold water
3/4 cup of non-dairy semisweet chocolate chips, optional (I used the Trader Joe’s brand)
Oh, the other great thing about this cake is that it’s made it one bowl. Easy clean-up! Yay! Anyway, preheat your oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Then, dig two small wells and one larger well in the dry mixture. Pour vinegar in the first, vanilla in the second, and your oil in the third.
Then, pour cold water over the mixture, stir, and watch it fizz! Mix together until all ingredients are completely combined, then add in about 1/4 cup of your chocolate chips, if you plan on using them, and stir.
Send this into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with some crumbs stuck to it and the cake springs back a little when you touch it. Let it cool in the pan for ten minutes, then flip onto a separate plate and let it cool completely.
If you decide to make the chocolate topping (DO IT!), set the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl over a pan of very hot water. Stir until totally melted, then pour evenly over the top of your cake. It should take about 45 minutes to cool and completely harden. Oh, I also tried to get fancy with it and make a little powdered sugar elephant stencil on top. You can see for yourself how that worked out below. Spoiler alert: it looks dumb…