Introduction: Grandma's Crazy Cake

This recipe is for a unique chocolate cake based on a recipe from my grandmother. With roots in the great depression, this recipe has been described as a cross between a lava cake and a traditional chocolate cake and uses vinegar as a substitute for eggs. This instructable will take you step-by-step through the process of making the cake and icing, as well as listing the necessary tools and giving some tips along the way to make your cake as delicious as possible!

This recipe is very accessible and fairly simple. It primarily involves mixing the various ingredients and a little bit of patience.

Prep time: 20 minutes for cake, 5 minutes for icing

Cook time: 35+ minutes for cake, 5-10 for icing

Cooling time: 1 hour for cake, 25 after frosting

Total: About 2 hours

Ingredients You’ll Need:

· All-Purpose Flour (2 cups)

· Baking Soda (2 teaspoons)

· Granulated Sugar (2 cups for the cake, 2 cups for the icing)

· Cocoa Powder (1/2 cup for the cake, 4 tablespoons for the icing)

· Kosher salt (1 teaspoon)

· Unsalted Butter (1 stick)

· Milk (2% or whole)

· Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon)

· Vegetable or Canola Oil (3/4 cup)

· Water (2 cups)

· Apple Cider Vinegar (2 tablespoons)

Kitchen Utensils You’ll Need:

· 9x13 inch Metal Cake Pan

· Fork

· Saucepan able to hold at least 3 cups worth of ingredients

· Hot Pads or Oven Mitts

· Wooden Spoon

· Measuring Cups (1 cup and ¼ cup)

· Tablespoon

· Teaspoon

· Medium Mixing Bowl

· Whisk

· Toothpick

· Paper towel

· (Optional) Flour Sifter

Step 1: Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees (Fahrenheit)

By preheating now, the oven will be ready by the time the batter is ready.

Step 2: Lightly Grease the 9x13 Pan With Canola Oil

Put a quarter size drop of oil in the bottom of the pan and, using a paper towel, evenly coat the bottom and sides of the pan.

Step 3: Combine Dry Ingredients in the Greased Pan

Measure out and put 2 cups of sifted all-purpose flour, 2 cups of granulated sugar, ½ cup of cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt directly into the greased pan.

NOTE: Sifting flour into the pan may make evenly mixing the mixture easier in the next step, but it is not necessary.

Step 4: Mix Dry Ingredients With the Fork or Whisk

In this step, be sure to mix until ingredients are relatively uniform. Give special attention to the corners and the bottom of the pan.

Step 5: Combine Liquid Ingredients in a Medium Sized Mixing Bowl

Add 2 cups of water, ¾ cup of canola oil and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to the bowl. Use the fork or whisk to combine.

Step 6: Pour Liquid Mix Into the 13x9 Pan

Pour slowly to avoid spilling.

Step 7: Mix the Contents of the 13x9 Pan Well With the Fork or Whisk Until a Uniform Color Is Achieved

Again, pay special attention to the corners and bottom of the pan to avoid having pockets of unmixed dry ingredients. Bubbles are perfectly normal and are a sign of the vinegar and baking soda reacting to create a leavening effect!

Step 8: Place the Pan Into the 350-degree Oven and Bake for 35 Minutes on a Middle or High Rack

After 35 minutes, poke the cake vertically with a toothpick (about an inch and a half deep). If the toothpick comes back relatively clean (a few crumbs, but no batter), then remove the cake from the oven (see above). If not, wait 5 more minutes and check again with a fresh toothpick.

WARNING: Use hot pads to take the pan out of the oven.

Step 9: Let the Cake Cool for an Hour (Leave the Cake in the Pan)

Safe places to set the hot pan include the stovetop, a cooling rack or other heat resistant surfaces.

Step 10: (Optional) Perforate Cake With a Fork (About 1-1.5 Inches Deep)

This allows for the icing to seep into the cake, making for a fudgier/lava cake-esque final product. However, this step is totally optional!

Step 11: After the Cake Has Cooled, Prepare the Ingredients for the Icing in the Saucepan

Pour in two cups of sugar, 4 tablespoons of cocoa, ½ cup of milk and 1 stick of butter.

Again, wait until after the cake has cooled. Adding frosting too early results in a final product that doesn’t hold its shape.

Step 12: Heat the Ingredients in the Saucepan Over Medium Heat on the Stove, Gently and Consistently Stirring the Mixture Until Combined

The mixture will liquify and create a rich, brown mixture.

Step 13: Allow the Mixture to Simmer for 1 Minute

As a rule of thumb, I consider simmering to have a similar look to a freshly opened and poured soda (i.e. a steady, but not overwhelming flow of bubbles).

Step 14: After the Minute of Simmering, Remove the Frosting From the Heat

Step 15: Mix 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract Into the Icing

While the icing is still hot, but off the heat, gently stir in the vanilla extract.

Step 16: Pour the Icing Directly Onto the Cake (still in the Pan)

Try to distribute the icing evenly, but it doesn’t need to be perfect. Gravity will sort it all out. If you perforated the cake in the optional step, the icing will seep into the holes.

WARNING: Be mindful of where the pan is set after pouring.

Step 17: Cool for 25 Minutes and Enjoy!

The cooling time allows for the icing to seep in. This cake goes great with ice cream! Enjoy!