Wacky cake, or Depression Cake, is the perfect allergy-friendly dessert because it’s made without eggs, butter, or milk. This simplistic treat was popular during WWII when a lot of your traditional baking ingredients were inaccessible due to rationing. Its popularity heightened once again in the ’60s when the children of the Great Depression, now adults, introduced this simple recipe to the dessert table for their families to enjoy. The orange and coconut bakery emulsions in this recipe add a completely irresistible and deliciously tropical flavor.
This recipe is dairy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free, making it a safe treat for everyone to enjoy!
For the cake:
1 ½ cups (222g) gluten-free flour blend
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup (80ml) canola or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon LorAnn Organic Madagascar Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon LorAnn Orange Bakery Emulsion, Natural
½ cup orange juice
½ cup water
Piping tips and piping bags
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. Transfer into an ungreased 8” square baking pan.
- Use the back of a large spoon to create three wells in the dry mixture. Pour the oil in one well, the vinegar in the second well, and the vanilla extract and orange emulsion in the third well.
- Pour the orange juice and water on top of the entire mixture and use a fork to mix well to combine. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan completely before frosting.
For the frosting:
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the powdered sugar and beat to combine. Add the non-dairy milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the frosting reaches the desired consistency. Add the coconut emulsion and beat briefly to incorporate.
- Divide frosting into three bowls. Tint one bowl a dark shade (3-4 drops), the second bowl a pastel shade (2 drops), and leave the last bowl white.
- Transfer each frosting into separate piping bags fitted with a tip.
- With one color, begin piping on cooled cake, leaving gaps to fill in with the other two colors.
- With the remaining piping bags, and alternating colors, pipe large flowers in the gaps.
- Fill any remaining empty spaces with smaller flowers.