Wacky Cake

This cake is based on one that 2 special friends have given me over the years (Hi Elena and Mary!). One of them lived in India, the other in Nepal, and at times, both struggled to get ‘normal’ cake ingredients, like butter and eggs, so it is made from super simple pantry staples.

There are a lot of versions around. I’ve seen them called Wacky cake, 3 Hole Cake or Depression Cake (as in, from the era of the Great Depression …. eating it will not make you feel sad!). This is my version.

See below the recipe for cupcake details and also a vanilla version.

  • 1 1/3 cups plain GF flour (250g)
  • 1 tsp psyllium OR 1 heaped tbsp almond/seed meal (20g)
  • 1/2-1 cup coconut sugar (depending on your sweet tooth – I do 1/2)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 5 tbsp rice bran oil (or tasteless coconut oil/vegan butter melted, works too)
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 275ml cool water

(if you want to use regular wheat flour or spelt, omit the GF flour and psyllium/almond meal and replace with 1 1/2 cups plain wheat flour)

In a large baking dish, place all of the dry ingredients and use a whisk to combine evenly. (or speed 4, 6 seconds – then pour into a greased baking dish/tin)

Then make 3 holes in the mix and into each hole, add 1 of the following; vinegar, oil & vanilla. (Add in all wet ingredients together, including water, then, speed 4 for 15 seconds)

Pour water over the top and mix well (you skip this step if you are using a Thermal cooker, since you have already added the water above)

Cook in a pre-heated, moderate oven for about 30-35 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.


Rich Chocolate Icing

  • 1 tbsp Nuttelex
  • 1/2 cup dark choc chip of choice
  • 3 tbsp milk of choice
  • approx 1 cup GF icing sugar (more if required)

In a saucepan, gently melt the Nuttelex, choc chips and milk. (Speed 2, 100C, approx 2 mins)

Add the icing sugar and whisk until well combined and smooth. (Speed 4, 15 seconds at a time, scraping down in between)

Allow the cake to cool before icing.


We also make this cake into cup cakes  – makes about 12 and they take about 17-20 minutes to bake.


We also make a vanilla version of this cake by omitting the cocoa, then adding 2 extra tbsp of flour and 1 tbsp more of almond meal, plus 1 more tsp of vanilla bean paste. If you want them to be whiter cupcakes, use white sugar instead of the coconut sugar, as it gives a caramel colour.


I have even seen recipes for this kind of cake made without cocoa and some oil removed, added mashed banana and half of the water replaced with coffee, but I’m yet to give that one a go!

Maybe it could even be turned into carrot cake with lemon icing?! Let me know if you come up with any other varieties 😀




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