This cake is so good that I made it twice in less than a month! First to bring it to a dinner with friends, then for a potluck that actually featured most of the same people, but I didn't hear any complaints. The recipe is from the Ben and Birdy blog, and it's one I've been intrigued with for years and am so glad I finally made it. You know it's good if I make it twice in such a short time period! The first time I topped it with sweetened whipped cream and sprinkles like in the pictures over on that blog. It was really, really good that way, but I decided to try a double batch of this frosting this time. Either way is delightful.
This recipe apparently has its roots in the Great Depression because it was a reliable way to get a fantastic cake without eggs or butter. It's often called Crazy Cake or Wacky Cake. Whatever you call it, it's awesome! The first time I used all whole wheat flour (just wanted to try it out) and Hershey's Special Dark cocoa. The cake was basically black from the cocoa and everyone loved it. The second time, I tried white flour and normal cocoa. Also fantastic!
Note that this cake is vegan if you serve it with a vegan icing, vegan iced cream, sprinkle it with powdered sugar, or just serve it plain.
2 1/4 C flour (white, whole wheat, or a mixture)
2 C white sugar
1 C cocoa powder (regular or dark)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp vinegar
2/3 C canola oil
2 C cold water
Preheat an oven to 350 and grease a 9 by 13 baking dish. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Make 3 wells in the dry ingredients and pour the vanilla extract into one well, vinegar into another, and oil into the third. Pour the cold water over top and whisk thoroughly until the batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cake cool completely before frosting, or you can just let it cool for half an hour or so and serve warm cake topped with ice cream or sweetened whipped cream and sprinkles.
To make sweetened whipped cream, just beat 2 C cream until soft peaks form, then beat in vanilla extract and powdered sugar to taste. Continue beating it until stiff peaks form, then stop immediately because you don't want to accidentally start turning your whipped cream into butter!