Mary Carole Battle’s Mother’s Wacky Cake with Seven Minute Frosting

by cakeduchess on October 8, 2012 · 29 comments

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I occasionally get invited to an impromptu dinner party. I often wonder if I get the invite mostly because it’s a fact that almost always I will volunteer to bake something.

This past weekend there was one of those last minute dinner/birthday get togethers and I mentioned I could bake something. I’ve been meaning to try this wacky cake recipe that I found in the book: All Cakes Considered. I actually have wanted to try many of the cakes in the book. This was the quickest one that I could pull together and still make people happy. It’s chocolate with a fluffy white icing. I used my own white icing recipe. 
According to the author, Melissa Gray, she interviewed Mary Carole Battle on NPR about this cake. It was a cake her mother used to make for her as a child. It’s considered wacky for the fact that there are no eggs, butter or milk in the recipe. People wrote e-mails to NPR about their wacky cakes. They were also called crazy cakes. It was explained that it was crazy as they were made during World War II and this was the home baker’s attempt to deal with the wartime shortages. Apparently there are many other stories that explain the origin of this cake.
Do you have a story to tell about this cake?mary-carol-battles-wacky-cake-with-seven-minute-icing-1

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I let my little baker assist with the prepping. It is literally a one bowl cake. 
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The instructions include making three holes in the dry ingredients to fill it in with the wet ingredients; a completely irresistible baking project for a kid. This is a really fun cake to make with kids. The frosting part is definitely for an adult to make as it involves really hot sugar syrup. But watch out when the frosting is ready! You will have to hide the bowl before you frost the cake. I used my recipe that is on the blog and it is a keeper recipe. Everyone at the party loved the cake. It’s a cinch to put together and moist. I thought maybe next time I would add chocolate chips to it so it could have a little more rich chocolate flavor. Nobody else seemed to mind it as it was and it was devoured in minutes. I think this is a lovely and quick cake to put together and impress your friends when they invite you over to a last minute party. 

Mary Carole Battle’s Mother’s Wacky Cake with Seven-Minute Frosting

cake from: All Cakes Considered

1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white vinegar
6 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan (you could also use a 9-inch square cake pan).

In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Make three holes in the dry ingredients; pour the vanilla in the first, vinegar in the second, and oil in the third.
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Pour the cold water over the mixture. Stir the mixture together until it is no longer lumpy. 
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Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer cake to a cooling rack.

While cake is baking, prepare the frosting.
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Fluffy White Icing-Marshmallow Frosting
mom’s recipe

1 cup of granulated  white sugar (not powdered sugar)
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup of water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

In a medium saucepan, bring the 1/3 cup of water, sugar, cream of tartar to a boil. Do not stir the sugar mixture as it will cause it to crystallize. Boil until you have thick clear bubbles ( should only take about 5 minutes and reads a temperature of 245 F). Be careful not to boil even 1 second longer. *(If a mistake happens and you do boil the sugar too long and end up with an amber colored sugar mixture, don’t throw it away. Add some heavy cream and you have an amazing caramel sauce.  soon as it comes to a rapid bubble, because it will turn amber, and than you would have to quickly make a different recipe, and add heavy cream, which would be “caramel sauce”). 

In a metal bowl, add all the egg whites, and beat the egg whites until starts to get a little thick and forms soft peaks. Set your timer for 7 minutes. Now slowly (take care and do not let this boiling hot sugar syrup burn you) add the sugar syrup only a little at a time and beat on high speed for 7 minutes. 

On the last minute, beat in the vanilla extract. The frosting will be fluffy and light. My mom recommends adding a drop of food coloring if you want to be daring. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Paula @ Vintage Kitchen October 8, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I used to make this cake all the time when I was in HS. It was a friend´s recipe and we called it Salad Cake because it had oil, vinegar and salt!

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Brian @ A Thought For Food October 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Look at that frosting!!! I’m not even sure you need the cake! :-)

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Jennifurla October 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm

looks so tasty, love your lil helper too

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Tina @ MorePleaseRecipes October 8, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Wow, what an interesting recipe! Could definitely work well for vegans too- although might have to get clever with the icing.

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) October 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

What a fun cake, and that frosting looks incredible!

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Lizzy Do October 8, 2012 at 9:50 pm

The wacky cake I remember was made with a can of fruit cocktail :/ Yours has a lot more appeal!!! And 7 minute frosting reminds me of my mom…it was one of her favorites! Have a wonderful week, Lora!

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Pretend Chef October 8, 2012 at 10:31 pm

The frosting looks so delicious… like clouds. I’d love to be your helper too!

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Jen Laceda | Tartine and Apron Strings October 9, 2012 at 1:26 am

Seems like a perfect cake for last-minute parties! It’s good to have one fast, easy cake in the backpocket for emergencies, hehe! I bet all your baked goods get wiped out at a party! How can they not be? You bake the most delicious stuff.

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Maureen | Orgasmic Chef October 9, 2012 at 3:21 am

this is the icing I wanted on every birthday cake when I was growing up. I don’t think I’d made it for years but now I want some. Off to the kitchen! I can’t wait to have a frosting moustache! (tmi?)

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Helene Dsouza October 9, 2012 at 11:40 am

The icing looks spectacular. I like to try out new icing recipes, I am still looking for an exceptional recipe, your looks like it might be the one.

Wacky cake… =D

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Monet October 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I have never heard of wacky cakes before…what a fun post! Thank you for sharing! I’m eating breakfast…but I’m already hungry for dessert, Lora! I hope you have a great Tuesday!

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Asmita October 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Yummy!

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Deborah October 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

I love the name of the cake! And it sounds delicious, as well. Yum!

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Matt mmWine Horbund October 10, 2012 at 12:31 am

A delicious looking cake. And I love how you get the whole family involved!

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Paula October 10, 2012 at 12:41 am

Your wacky cake looks wonderful! My mom baked a similar cake called *war-time cake* as it had no butter nor eggs which had to be rationed during the 2nd world war. Pretty sure my mom got the recipe from her mom.
I think you get invited to impromptu dinner parties because you are the sweetest thing to have at any gathering, not the desserts you bring :)

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats October 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

I love love love Elisabeth’s 7 minute frosting recipe. That is a winner. I wonder will I be able to get my niece involve with me in the kitchen next time :). Have a great week ahead! xoxo, Jo

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats October 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

I love love love Elisabeth’s 7 minute frosting recipe. That is a winner. I wonder will I be able to get my niece involve with me in the kitchen next time :). Have a great week ahead! xoxo, Jo

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats October 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

I love love love Elisabeth’s 7 minute frosting recipe. That is a winner. I wonder will I be able to get my niece involve with me in the kitchen next time :). Have a great week ahead! xoxo, Jo

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Chic & Gorgeous Treats October 10, 2012 at 12:43 am

I love love love Elisabeth’s 7 minute frosting recipe. That is a winner. I wonder will I be able to get my niece involve with me in the kitchen next time :). Have a great week ahead! xoxo, Jo

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Lisa October 10, 2012 at 2:30 am

I love this cake and the story behind it! Amazing how a little canola oil and cocoa can give you a moist, chocolate cake minus eggs, butter and milk. Well..the eggs,,or egg whites, rather, make an appearance in the frosting. I could eat a whole bowl of 7 minute frosting..easily! :) It looks fantastic, Lora!

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Baker Street October 10, 2012 at 10:19 am

Oh god! Look at that frosting! I don’t think it would even make it to that cake! Lol.

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Julia from Dozen Flours October 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I just love saying the title of this blog post, not to mention it looks super yummy too!

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Joann from The Italian Next Door October 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm

This looks yummy! Love that icing!

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Angie's Recipes October 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

It looks so pretty and the icing is perfect.

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Lemons and Anchovies October 11, 2012 at 3:48 pm

That frosting looks so, so good! And yes, the cake, too. :) I bet every party you get invited too is just that much sweeter because of your presence and your awesome baked treats!

Hope you’re having a great week, Lora! :)

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The KitchenMaid October 12, 2012 at 1:44 am

I’m with the person who suggested that you don’t need cake when you’ve got a bowl of that icing!
I make a reasonably similar cake to that, only with more cocoa (and less flour) and coffee instead of water. It’s brilliant.
Hope you have a lovely weekend x

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts October 12, 2012 at 3:48 am

Love and easy cake, and this one looks perfect. The frosting looks so light and fluffy!

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Jamie October 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

yes, one finds this Wacky Cake recipe in newspapers of the era and I’ve always wondered what it would come out like. Looks really great and I love one-bowl cakes. I also love seeing your kids bake.

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Anonymous October 18, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Andrea

I learned to make this cake in the baking pan. It was so quick to mix with the 3 holes in the pan. We didn’t butter the pan and it came out well.

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