Welcome to Vegan MOFO 2017! Yey! This year I’ve got this! lol nope, I don’t. I am crazy to think I can balance a baby and a blog post each day. But I love Vegan MOFO, so whatever. I’m going to try and make it work.

This year I decided to try and do a theme. Way back in March I wanted to try and bake cakes from my cookbook American Cakes. I thought I would do a cake a month or so… and I got only one done. In my defense I tried several different cakes, but haven’t found the perfect veganized version. Since it has taken me so long, I decided to make it be my theme for Vegan MOFO- Historical Vegnaized American Cakes! If you want to read more about my mission, check out the original post.

KIND-OF working with the weekly themes, this week is Changing Vegan Perceptions. So I thought I would pick recipes that are vegan to begin with or near vegan. Yes, vegan baking is historical. Who knew? There are actually quite a few recipes that needed little to no modifications in the book- enter the Wacky Cake.

There are lots of stories surrounding this cake. Some people say it came about from the depression since butter and eggs were so readily available. But it seems more likely it would of been made during World War II because of rations. But author Anne Byrn focuses on the popularity of this cake as an “emergency dessert.” 

This concept cracks me up, but is a very real social requirement of the 50s. You must be prepared to feed a guest at any moment! My boss talks about how guests would show up, and there was routine that the dinner portion would shave down just a little for everyone to make up for the extra table setting. Then his Mom would cook up some potatoes to make up for plate space. Since this recipe didn’t have any perishable items, it made it easy to whip up. Heck I made the whole cake and topping in one nap time (aka less than an hour)

The original recipe is suppose to be made in just the cake pan. You sift the flour, create little holes in the flour, and fill them with the liquids. Mix all together and bake. I found this to be a pain in the butt, and it didn’t mix all the way. So I just mixed it all together in my kitchen-aid mixer and got much better results.

At first I felt a little odd making this cake without making any modifications, but after a quick search- I found that this cake is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Heck, even when reading the recipe I thought “this looks like the recipe my Mother in Law made..” Yup- it was. She used the recipe from Mayim Bialik’s cookbook, she even makes it on Rachael Ray. So I felt a lot less weird about posting this recipe. I did try and keep the caramel topping in the book. I personally love it. I even tried to make it a little more “shelf stable” by using coconut oil instead of margarine. But you can use whatever frosting you want- or just some powder sugar.

And if you are wondering why it took me so long to post a recipe that I didn’t really alter? Well, it is because I kept not getting very good photos. First time making it, I didn’t bother with photos, for whatever the reason. Then the second time I made it for a party and someone cut tiny little squares and they just weren’t very photogenic. Then I made it again, which annoyed my husband (this isn’t his favorite cake) and I kind-of over cooked the caramel. *sigh* but I HAD to get the photos this time. So there you have it. Three cakes in total. Yikes.

The Wacky Cake - Chocolate Caramel Cake
Serves 6
a classic American cake that has a chocolate cake topped with a salted caramel icing
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 1 tsp baking soda
  5. a pinch of salt
  6. 3 oz or 3/8 of a cup or 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp canola oil
  7. 1 tbsp vinegar (white or apple cider)
  8. 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 1 cup of warm water
  10. 3/4 cup brown sugar
  11. 3 tbsp coconut oil
  12. 3 tbsp plant milk
  13. flaked salt
Instructions
  1. 1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Use a 8x8 cake/brownie pan.
  2. 2 In a bowl sift together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir together, creating a well in the flour.
  3. 3 In the well add the oil, vinegar, vanilla extract, and water. Mix well.
  4. 4 Pour the batter into the cake pan and cook for 25-30 minutes. You will want the cake to spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
  5. 5 When the cake is finished start making the icing. Prep a large bowl filled with ice. Keep to the side with a whisk.
  6. 6 In a small pot place brown sugar, coconut oil, and plant milk. Turn burner on medium heat, and bring to a boil. Cook for one minute, then remove from heat. Place in the bowl of ice, and whisk until the icing begins to thicken.
  7. 7 Pour the icing on the cakes, making sure it covers the top. Take some flaked salt and sprinkle lightly on top to make a salted caramel flavor.
Notes
  1. COFFEE CARAMEL CAKE Sub warm water with brewed coffee, and use brewed coffee instead of plant milk for the caramel frosting.
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