Has the craving for a great chocolate cake hit you while you were traveling? Has it hit you in a country where there simply isn’t a great chocolate cake to be found in the stores? Has it hit you where you simply don’t want to spend the money on a top level bakery cake? Has it hit you but you don’t want to go out and buy milk and butter and eggs?
Here’s the chocolate cake solution!
It’s a perfect cake for travelers because none of the ingredients need refrigeration.
This Chocolate cake is called Crazy Cake. Many people learned this cake from grandmothers. (I learned it from my great friend Carolyn who learned it from her grandmother.) It seems to have been popular in the American 1929 depression because it uses no milk, butter, or eggs. You can also make it in just the pan that you bake it in so you don’t use lots of dishes.
I share it with all of you, with clear photos, so you can all make it. This recipe pictorial is a gift to all backpackers, and to the great folks at Los Mostros Hostel in Panama City and The Golan Heights Hostel in Odem, Israel – with a special dedication to Achihod for making the GHH cakes possible.
First you’ll need to define a “cup” so you can measure your ingredients. I use any handy coffee cup or glass, but first want to see where a US cup comes to on it. IKEA has been making this easier for travelers. Today I pulled this mug off the shelf of The Golan Heights Hostel, did a search for “IKEA 21533” which is the model number on this mug and found that it’s an 8oz mug. 1 US cup is exactly 8oz, so now I have my 1-cup measuring cup.
Smaller sized paper coffee cups or cold cups also tend to be the same 8oz/1 cup size. Thus, you will see both used here to measure out my cups.
The dry ingredients:
[This is for a “double” amount. If you want to make a smaller cake, use the numbers in these brackets.]
(I have never made this by measuring grams, but place this here in case it helps you to purchase ingredients.)
2 cups (402 grams) granulated white sugar or the courser “brown” sugar found in Europe [1 cup for smaller]
3 cups (384 grams) all-purpose flour (grams) [1½ cups for smaller]
1 ½ cup (150 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder [⅝ cup for smaller] (I know ⅝+⅝=1¼ but I love chocolate.)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I do not use any because salt hardens.)
2 teaspoons baking soda [1 teaspoon for smaller]
The wet ingredients:
2 Tablespoons Vinegar (or Cider or flavored Vinegar. I used cheap white.) [1 Tablespoon for smaller]
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, fine quality (I used cheap fake and put extra in at the end.) [½ teaspoon for smaller]
1 cup vegetable oil (any kind) [½ cup for smaller]
2 cups cold water [1 cup for smaller]
NOTE: This is a double size of the common recipe. I figure once I am baking, I might as well bake for everyone. It’s pretty hard to offer just a few people your cake when you’re staying at a hostel. I have used an oven’s roasting pan drippings catcher as a pan, or used two cake tins. The cake will double in height as it bakes.
Place oven rack in center position for best heat distribution and preheat oven to 350ºF which is 180ºC
(You will often have to guess the markings on an unmarked hostel oven and watch the cake as it bakes.)
Place the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
Mix all of the dry ingredients.
Measure and add the liquids
Bake at 350ºF or 180ºC for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, 42 of so for larger pans.
Enjoy the result!
NOTE: If you would like to convert the US measurements, here is a good page to use: