There have been versions of this cake passing hands since about the 1930’s when ingredients like eggs and milk were carefully rationed. Needing a way to create a delicious cake, housewives kept improvising until they came up with this fantastic alternative, also known as Wacky Cake.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 F (or 175 C).
2. Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a 9 x 13 inch ungreased cake pan. (Due to the need for lightness (as there are no eggs to act as a leavener), it is important to actually sift the ingredients. Do not skip this step.)
3. Make three wells in the flour mixture. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and whisk gently with fork.
4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
Note: It is easy to do this recipe straight in the pan as it doesn’t have any eggs and margarine to be creamed together. If making cupcakes, you can mix it together in a bowl and spoon from there. However, it is important to make sure that you whisk it really well to remove any and all lumps. If you do not, you will have little white lumps inside your cupcakes when you bite into them.
Note: The usual rule of thumb in specialty baking is ‘The Smaller The Better’. When using unusual ingredients, your baked goods will often be more dense and not rise as well. The smaller portion (cupcake vs cake) allows the batter to rise better, as the sheer volume doesn’t weigh it down as much. I’ve had this recipe as a cake and as cupcakes and the taste is infinitely better in a cupcake.