I have a firstborn son. His name is Jackson. He’s always been a pal in the kitchen but lately he’s been asking for permission to do specific things. “Mom, can you teach me how to make bread?” or “Mom, can I make the biscuits?” or “Mom, how ’bout you let me tackle the cornbread.”
So I’ve been letting him (sometimes cringing and crying as flour is slung from floor to ceiling, but letting him nonetheless). He’s conquered cornbread and cookies and last week, he hit a homerun with his wacky cake.
This cake has been around for years and years. Lots of little variations out there but the same basic recipe. An egg-free cake put together and mixed entirely in the baking pan.
Weird, I know. But it works. Not only in moist, delicious, chocolatey taste, but in the fact that a 7-year old can make it start to finish himself.
Every night at dinner, Jackson begs me to take a picture of his dinner plate to post on my cooking blog. I usually take a picture to humor him but little does he know his plate of slop never makes the cut from there to here.
So when I told him I was going to post his wacky cake on this here blog, you should have seen his face. He was grinning from ear to ear and told all of the neighbor kids after school with hardly concealed excitement that “my wacky cake is going on the blog” which basically is the same as saying “blah blah blah blah” to a bunch of other 4-7 year old boys.
They looked at him like he was, well, wacky, and ran off to hop on the trampoline. Their cool response didn’t phase him. Oh no! He is proud as can be and even though I told him he was the star of this blog post, I have to admit, this is one tasty little chocolate cake. Make it today! Or better yet, have some 7-year old you know make it for you!
Jackson’s Wacky Cake
Yield: 6-8 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup water
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 8-inch-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in pan. Make 1 large and 2 small craters in dry ingredients. Add oil to large crater and vinegar and vanilla separately to remaining small craters. Pour water into pan and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter evenly in the pan if it isn’t level after mixing. Immediately put pan in oven.
Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 23-25 minutes. Don’t overbake or the cake will be dry! Cool the cake in pan, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. The cooled cake can be stored tightly covered in plastic wrap for 2-3 days. As a sidenote, this cake is made completely otherworldly by serving it with a scoop of ice cream or a hefty dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
For cupcakes, I use the following amounts (after a lot of trial and error): 3 cups flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, 1/2 cup cocoa, 2 teaspoons soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup oil, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2 cups cold water. Follow the mixing directions, using a bowl instead of a baking pan. Spoon the batter into lined cupcake pans about 1/2 to 2/3 full and bake at 350 degrees for 16-19 minutes.
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