What Makes Chocolate Wacky Cake So Unique?

There are few desserts as classic as a delicious chocolate cake. Chocolate cake tastes great on its own, paired with ice cream, or turned into tasty cake pops. While there's always the classic chocolate cake or the 2-layer chocolate cake, you can also go for variations of a chocolate cake recipe, such as a German chocolate cake or the unique wacky chocolate cake.

Like a standard chocolate cake, wacky cake contains the typical flour, sugar, oil, and cocoa powder in it. However, it's what is missing from this cake that really makes it unique: eggs. Unlike your standard chocolate cake, wacky cake contains no eggs and instead uses other leavening agents to achieve its fluffy, cake-like texture. Still, the lack of eggs isn't the only thing that sets wacky cake apart from a regular chocolate cake. Here are a few other unique ingredients that go into wacky cake and make it special, plus a bit of the distinctive history of this cake that also helps set the dessert apart.

How wacky cake is different

The biggest difference between wacky cake and classic chocolate cake lies in the ingredients. For one thing, as mentioned earlier, wacky cake doesn't contain eggs at all. Instead, this cake uses a combination of vinegar and baking soda to help this cake become fluffy. While most recipes call for white vinegar, you can also use apple cider vinegar. Either way, the vinegar is key because its reaction with the baking soda will take the place of the missing eggs. 

Another key difference between wacky cake and standard chocolate cakes is that it doesn't include butter or milk. Instead, you'll use oil for the fat and water as a liquid to add to the batter. Thanks to these key ingredient swaps and the recipe's lack of eggs, it's actually a vegan cake, too. While on the outside wacky cake might look like a classic chocolate cake recipe, it's actually quite unique thanks to these ingredients.

The backstory behind chocolate wacky cake

Looking beyond the ingredients it contains, wacky cake's history also makes it a unique dessert. Although no one seems to know the exact date that this cake was first invented, it's generally thought to have been created sometime around the Great Depression, or possibly during a period between the Great Depression and World War II. Throughout the 1930s and most of World War II, ingredients were scarce, the latter of which was partly due to rationing efforts by the government during wartime.

Either way, it was necessary for households to come up with a way to make treats without digging into scarce ingredients. Because wacky cake didn't require eggs or butter, this made it a treat that people could enjoy even when certain items were hard to come by. Plus, due to ingredients like oil tending to be cheaper than butter, this made the cake more affordable to bake as well.

Today, thanks to its unique history, wacky cake is sometimes called Depression cake. It also goes by other names, such as cockeyed cake, crazy cake, or wartime cake. Whichever name you want to call it, next time you're craving a chocolatey dessert, try whipping up this unique cake.