My new favourite cake recipe happens to be one of the cheapest I've ever made. It also happens to be accidently vegan. No eggs, no butter, no milk. How I wish I'd known about it when Katie was little and couldn't tolerate eggs, it would have made the perfect birthday cake. It's an old American recipe dating from the depression era. Sometimes called wacky cake or crazy cake, or just depression cake. I promise it isn't depressing at all, it's very, very cheerful. It's a piece of cake to make as well.
Many versions of this cake instruct you to mix all the ingredients directly in the cake tin. I found it easier to mix them together in a roomy bowl rather than trying not to splash cake batter over the sides of the tin. Also if you stir in the tin you disturb the layer of butter or oil you have used to grease it.
The original recipe is measured in American cups. I like my American cup measures but I've weighed the ingredients for you in both imperial and metric.
Cheap and Cheerful Cake
Makes about 16 pieces depending how big you cut them.
Grease an 8'' (20cm) square or a 9''(22cm) square cake tin with butter, marge or oil.
Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c fan oven)
Mix together in a bowl
1½ cups/9oz/250g plain flour
1 cup/9oz/250g granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ cup/ 1oz/30g/4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup/8fl oz/240ml water
⅓ cup/3fl oz/90ml/ 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of vinegar (any will do)
Mix well and pour into the prepared tin.
Bake for 30-35 mins.
Leave to cool before turning out. Ice if liked once it is completely cool.
|Wet ingredients ready to be mixed with dry ingredients|
|The batter is quite runny|
This cake is incredibly moist and is delicious without any icing, but I like to smother it with buttercream. Of course this makes it not vegan but you could ice it with a simple water icing made with icing sugar and water, or you could make a chocolate icing using dairy-free chocolate.
|Liberally iced with buttercream made with 3oz of butter, 6oz of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk and a dash of vanilla extract|
To make a plain cake omit the cocoa powder but increase the amount of flour by ¼cup/1oz/30g
Add chopped nuts or a handful of desiccated coconut. Glacé cherries, chocolate chips or dried fruit are other possibilities. Instant espresso powder added to the batter and the icing makes a lovely coffee cake.