Why use these Crazy Cake Recipes?
- Easy and Fast – 30 minutes
- Only takes one bowl just like a box cake
Today everyone is busy, but we all want choices.
These Crazy Cake recipes can give you the variety you crave and, with a bit of prep work every now and then, the convenience of a box cake.
On this site we concentrate on recipes that use “normal” ingredients. These are things that are found at your average grocery store. You won’t see what I call “fake eggs, fake milk, or fake butter”. If you are vegan or have food allergies and you keep these substitute ingredients around (like we do), then standard recipes usually come out just fine with these replacements. But what happens when Grandma wants to bake you a cake? Or you are traveling and the cruise ship says “sure we’ll make you whatever you want as long as you have a recipe”? These kind folks may not have your special ingredients on hand. With these recipes they can treat you!
Why am I doing this?
When my daughter had her first anaphylactic experience I knew our life would be different. I’ve got food allergies and I’ve learned to cook around them so I wasn’t worried about feeding her, but I want her to enjoy special celebrations like most kids. Most allergy resources either tell you to use normal recipes with special replacements for eggs, milk and butter or they end up using a variation of Crazy Cake or the variety of names like “Wacky Cake”, “Dump Cake”, etc. While researching this I found a few common variations like: Vanilla, Poppy Seed, and Coffee. These recipes were just as depressing as reading a regular cake book to me because I found myself saying “nope can’t have that because of x or y, or z ingredient and Vanilla is so boring!” So I started keeping a list of inspiring flavors that didn’t depend on ingredients in our food allergy avoidance list. The list is long, currently 5 pages typed, covered in hand written notes. And so I started baking, lots of tasty but not so pretty experiments on this journey. As soon as something looks decent and tastes great, we share. Why not? It’s so easy I can crank out a batch in 30 minutes, make the frosting while the cupcakes are baking and get everything cleaned up.
I admit, I have a sweet tooth and I crave variety. I have no culinary education besides experience, reading books, reading the internet, and asking questions. I am a mom who is a crazy mad scientist in the kitchen. When I want a certain flavor I look up other similar recipes to get a starting point for the flavor ingredients, then just keep trying until something works.
For my daughter’s first birthday we had an extremely limited set of ingredients to work with: No wheat, no corn, no milk, no eggs, and no soy. So I made and tossed 28 batches of Gluten Free cupcakes over the course of four months. They never really rose like wheat based cakes so I didn’t end up working on the different flavors as I’m doing now. I read every web post I could find on Crazy/Wacky Cake, read every library book on the subject, talked and wrote with some amazingly supportive people who tried to help me get to my goal of serving something safe and decadant for my daughter and guests at her birthday. When I offered my daughter her first cupcake I knew it would be safe and that was the best I could do.
Box Cake Convenience
Since I’m doing this so much and as a Food Allergy Momma I expect I’ll be baking a lot more as baby gets older, this must be fast and easy. The secret to doing this is pre-measuring the “dry” ingredients: Flour, Sugar, Salt and Baking Soda. Voila, the convenience of a Box Cake! Yes I know that some of these things are considered “wet” ingredients by bakers, but from a practical point of view these 4 things are physically dry and shelf stable. I measure them out into Ziploc bags every once in awhile and most of the time I just dump the bag in the mixer add the “wet” ingredients and go. Somehow this small step makes the whole process seem easy.
Understanding the Ingredients List
When reading the ingredient list for these Crazy Cake Recipes you’ll see these 4 dry ingredients are always listed at the top so if you have pre-measured you will immediately have saved a bunch of time. Then the oil, vinegar and the “flavor” ingredients are listed next. In some recipes the vinegar is replaced with acidic juices – getting this figured out has taken a lot of time and effort on my part and bakers in the know might not agree, but every recipe on this site has been tested many times. The flavor section is the extracts (generally just vanilla), spices, and food ( juice, zest or, well, just plain food). Some bakers in the know have told me it’s best to get the flavor from extracts, flavored oils, and other specialty items, but that easy path does not allow Grandma or some kind person to bake for those with food restrictions because they don’t have those special ingredients around. The more people tell me not to do it, the more my gut reminds me of how much more fun the party is when everyone can eat the food.
This is a labor of love for my daughter, may she always celebrate life with cake!