Announcements, Recipes

chocolate olive oil cake + more book tour!

Two weeks from today, my second cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant & Unfussy New Favorites will be leaving warehouses* to reach bookstores or perhaps your front door (if you’ve preordered the book) and I cannot believe it’s so close now. Last month, I shared the trailer for the book and told you all about the book tour that begins the day the book comes out and I promised additional cities would be added. Today is the day! The book tour page — see it in full right here, or click on the image below — now includes Minneapolis, Atlanta, Montreal, Kansas City, Denver, Boulder, Tulsa, Maplewood NJ and an additional book signing in New York City, in addition to the events already planned in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Los Angeles.


The book launch will be right here in New York City two weeks from tonight at Barnes & Noble Union Square. Amanda Hesser of Food52, New York Times, and James Beard Award-winning fame and I will chat, and a book signing will follow. Prepare to spot all sorts of Smitten Kitchen Family Members, eager to share stories about what a terrible cook I was as a kid.

Will you come say hi? I hope you do. I hope we get to hang out.

Is the book tour not coming to your town? I have you covered. No, I have not figured out how to clone myself (we all know I’d just make the clone do the dishes anyway) but even better, you can pre-order a signed cookbook inscribed any way you wish through The Strand, a beloved bookstore in my neighborhood. I am inscribing these books next week, so if you’d like yours to go out with the other preorders, with the goal of arriving when the book is released, please please please order before 10/16? I will still be delighted to sign all other orders that come in, but it will be when I can stop by between book tour stops.

Pre-Order A Custom Inscribed Cookbook

Finally, just a tiny update: The 92Y event with David Lebovitz had been listed as sold out but they moved it to a bigger room and now it is not. (Yay.)

* If you follow @smittenkitchen Instagram Stories, you might know I flew down to Maryland to personally visit them in their temporary home a week and a half ago.

Now, about that Chocolate Olive Oil Cake.

chocolate olive oil cake

A year or so ago, I got really obsessed with the idea of making a chocolate olive oil cake for fall. Why is it a fall and not a spring or summer cake? I cannot answer this. I can only tell you that I made one I’d read a lot about but ended up underwhelmed. I’ve been asked before what I do when I bake something that comes out all wrong and I think it’s important that I eradicate any thread of an esteemed opinion you might have left for me with this: I have a tantrum. I stomp out of the kitchen in a huff, or at least the mental equivalent of it, and I’m crabby and cranky and resent the recipe that should have been better and the loss of time I could have been doing anything else. (Like cleaning out my closet!) (Let’s pretend I wouldn’t make 100 other cakes before getting around to it.) When I get past that, I rarely take another stab at it again the next day; we need some space. It’s usually “later,” i.e. whenever the craving strikes again or I think I have a fresh way to go about it. This time it took a year and it was a little of both.

more cocoa than is traditionalalmost one-bowlchocolate olive oil cakepoof!

The craving arrived because it was fall, which again, I cannot explain but it might have something to do with the subtle, earthier quality olive oil imparts in chocolate, especially when flecked with sea salt. It feels fall-ish, even if the weather outside is defiantly summer-ish. Separately, someone told me about his family’s go-to chocolate cake that’s made for every birthday that’s plush and perfect and never fails. The recipe had the title Wacky Cake on it. I had never heard of a wacky cake. It turns out I’m among the few.

tall, plush, vegan chocolate cakeready to meltpouring the glaze onchocolate olive oil glaze

Wacky Cake — a.k.a. “Cockeyed Cake,” if you’re a Peg Bracken fan, which really, who is not, or Depression Cake — is a single-layer chocolate cake that’s has 7 ingredients, all of which are in your kitchen right now, and takes 5 minutes to put together. Some versions are even mixed in the baking pan. I am completely burying the lede here, but it’s also vegan, as in, butter and milk-free and — this is the crazy part — egg-free as well, no flax eggs or canned bean liquid required. The chocolate glaze here is not traditional, but I couldn’t resist; it too is vegan if you use dairy-free chocolate chips.

Typically, it’s fairly thin and the proportion of cocoa powder to flour is relatively low; it yields a brown cake, but not one chocolaty enough to please the likes of me. I increased the proportions of the cake to make it taller and tweaked the cocoa to be more dominant and ended up with a nearly pitch-black cake. Typically, any oil is used but I found in this cake the perfect chance to realize my chocolate olive oil cake dreams in a cake I think we should all stop what we are doing and make right now. Because if there are people out there whose Tuesdays are not improved by a thick slice of perfect chocolate cake, well, I haven’t met any.

chocolate olive oil cake


Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

  • Servings: 8 to 12
  • Print

The cake base is vegan and makes for an excellent layer cake. The glaze is vegan if you use dairy-free chocolate chips. I made it with water, not coffee, and can promise you it’s still full of flavor. With coffee, I’d probably be in heaven.

    Cake
  • 1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa, any variety, sifted if lumpy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) water or coffee
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • Glaze
  • 3/4 cup (135 grams) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons (10 grams) cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon (20 grams) light corn syrup (for shine)
  • A pinch or two of flaky sea salt

Make cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with a fitted round of parchment paper and coat the bottoms and sides with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and olive oil, and whisk to combine. Add water and vinegar and whisk until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the top is springy and a tester inserted in the center comes out with just a few sticky crumbs (but not wet or loose batter). Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then cut around it with a knife to ensure it is loosened and flip it out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

Make glaze: Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, olive oil, corn syrup, and salt in a medium bowl and microwave to melt, in 15 to 30 second increments, stirring between each until just melted. Whisk until smooth. Pour over completely cooled cake and use spatula to gently nudge it down the sides.

Cake keeps: At room temperature for 2 to 3 days and up to a week in the fridge. On day 4 in the fridge, ours was as moist as day one, basically a miracle.

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317 comments on chocolate olive oil cake + more book tour!

  1. Lisa C

    You are going to be in Houston (where I live) on my birthday! I told my husband that I want to come see you as a part of my birthday-date with him! Deb, a new cook book, and then a yummy dinner someone else cooks for me?! Happy Birthday to ME! :)

    1. Maggie

      Deb is the birthday queen! I will see her in Austin the day after my birthday! Happy birthday Lisa, fellow Scorpio and Smitten Kitchen lover! :)

  2. This cake is super simple and delicious! There is somthing about the olive oil that makes this recipe stand out. I am definitely going to start using olive oil in more of my recipes. This is a keeper! Can’t wait to get your latest book :)

  3. Oh this is going straight to the top of my to-cook queue! I do wonder, but can’t imagine you haven’t heard tons about it…have you ever made the Maialino olive oil cake recipe? A different structure and direction with orange and milk and eggs, but this makes me want to fiddle and swap in some cocoa powder there to get all of the above.

  4. karen

    Thank you so much for admitting that even you have recipe difficulties and your reaction is not always mature. I moved recently and my oven and I do not get along at all. Burnt on the outside and raw on the inside pumpkin bread is not edible. So I had a 15 minute rant about how I hate my oven and basically acted like a two year old. Your blog made me laugh and brightened up my mood. So I hope you have a wonderful day and remember you made someone else’s attitude much improved.

    1. Abesha1

      I have recently stated to my husband that if I’d learned to cook on the stove I’m using right now, I’d think I was a terrible cook!
      I have a whole new level of respect for people cooking on less than *perfect* stoves… otherwise known to most of the world as, a typical day.

  5. Margaret

    Cake looks amazing. Can we please talk about those cookies on the book tour dates — are they really the kind that they sell in packages with jelly in the middle and is it as much of a messy project as I am imagining?

    1. deb

      I actually *only want to talk about those cookies.* 1. They’re the kind they sell. 2. They are bonkers easy to make at home and taste 1000x better. 3. They’re one of the recipes I’m the most excited about. 4. It’s not that much of a mess, promise. 5. I’m not actually sure why I’m numbering this. ;)

  6. Nancy

    Wow, thought baking with olive oil was always a no because of it’s flavor! But question, would this work with swapping flour for gluten free blend? Thank you for all your recipes. Your recipes have often been my go-to.

      1. Helen Cave

        I have made a wacky cake recipe numerous times using gluten free flours and the results have been fine. I would imagine using GF flours in this recipe would also work well.

    1. Hillary

      Please let us all know the results if using gluten free flour blend! I am curious. I have a son who is allergic to eggs and wheat – so would be wonderful to swap out the flour. Wonderful this cake has no eggs!

      1. tbschlaf

        Same here! I am searching for a dairy-free, wheat-free, egg-free cake for my allergic son’s first birthday. Fingers crossed that this one works – it looks amazing!

    2. Happy to report I made this with gluten free four (Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1) and it was perfect! I also used 1 cup of coffee, a half cup of water, rather than 1/5 cups of water, and that, too, worked beautifully. Thanks, Deb, for sharing this, and congratulations on birthing your new book :-)

        1. tbschlaf

          I made this with Bob’s GF flour too. I had to add about 10 minutes of baking time and even then it seemed a bit underdone, or maybe the texture was just off. Bria, was the batter quite runny when you made yours? And did you use the GF flour with the blue label? I’m pretty new to GF baking so I don’t know all of the tricks. Thank you!

  7. Looks fantastic and easy! Is the corn syrup in the glaze a must? I have everything but, and would love to make this to surprise my kids…kind of a “Yay it’s Tuesday and not Monday” kinda cake. Thanks!

  8. Oh yeah, team Wacky Cake here. My mom has been making it my whole life – always iced with butter frosting. In fact, I’ve been having a major cake craving for the last week or so (I think I’m eating my political emotions) and this is just the thing to take the edge off. I’ll try your recipe this time with the amped up baking cocoa, and maybe a tablespoon of espresso powder to give it that extra oomph… But still butter frosting – always butter frosting. And sprinkles.

    1. apronstringstoo

      Team butter frosting here too. I’ve been making this cake since I was old enough to reach the countertop. Sometimes we just dust it with powdered sugar, but the butter frosting is the best. My sibling and I used to “fight” over who got to have the goo that was always left at the bottom of the cake pan.

  9. Em

    I have a very similar chocolate cake recipe from my mom – her family called it “Lake cake” for reasons unknown. I’ve never made it with olive oil before but next time I might try it!

    1. Country Kate

      That just made me realize how perfect a cake this would be to bake on a family vacation to, say, a *lake* cabin…thanks for prompting that connection!

      1. JP

        Chocolate is such a strong flavor that it covers almost anything, so any olive oil should be fine, except, of course, flavored olive oils like rosemary, etc. I remember being told once that chocolate is added to leftover plain ice cream base because the flavor covers up others. That way the large ice cream makers don’t waste other base flavors. Chocolate is magic like that!

          1. Nicole R

            I’m glad I’m not the only one. Rosemary and olive oil are a great combo – I made shortbread cookies once that were wonderful. I’m less sure about adding chocolate to the combo, but I’d be willing to give it a try.

            1. deb

              (I am trying to resist talking about the book nonstop but FWIW, there’s an olive oil — vegan too! — shortbread in the book with rosemary and chocolate chunks and sea salt and it’s not pretty at all, or it’s not when I make it, but we love them.)

  10. MF

    Wacky cake….hooray! It’s the cake I’ve made for 30+ years and now make with my grandsons! They love the name of it! Grammy and her wacky cake! I look forward to baking your version and seeing you in Portland, OR. Yippee!

  11. Susan

    Your black bottom cupcakes from many years ago are actually a riff on the wacky cake recipe. It was that recipe that sent me down the delicious rabbit hole of the what and why of the “depression cake”!

  12. yes! I grew up on Wacky Cake and now my kids make it too! We’re mix-in-the-pan people and it’s so easy to get one made that we do it often.
    Very interested in trying the olive oil here.
    Also have always wondered how on earth this cake WORKS. What is that chemistry!?

  13. Karen

    I’ve been making Cockeyed Cake (we called it “Crazy Chocolate Cake”) since I was taught the recipe in eighth grade, which was probably over 30 years ago. I even won a 4-H ribbon with that recipe! (I added 1 t of cinnamon and called it “Mexican Chocolate Cake”). My kids love helping make it because they can lick the bowls (no raw eggs). Can’t wait to try this variation!

  14. Laura

    So excited to see KC as one of your stops! Can’t wait! My husband and I are heading to NYC for a little get-away and I was bummed to see your launch event was the day before we get there. Now I no longer feel like I’m missing out. :) My grandmother’s recipe for “Wacky Cake” was the first cake I ever learned how to make when I was a kid. Fun to see your version posted here.

  15. Nima

    Hi Deb,

    Long time fan – I’m so excited about your second book! I hope to see you in NYC at the launch :-) I’m really thrilled to see an eggless chocolate cake recipe on your site!
    Quick Q – should I use natural or Dutch cocoa powder here? Thanks!

  16. hicjacetmelilla

    Just wanted to sympathize with you re: behavior after disappointing recipes. I use Blue Apron (for a lot of reasons) but I overheard a friend tell another friend, “It’s a good option if you can’t cook,” and that really hurt my feelings. I’ve dedicated myself to learning every kind of technique and sourcing the best recipes since I was 20. But then I thought about it and realized, I can’t cook. Not in that shoot from the hip kind of way. I’ve tried and if I come away even mildly unhappy with the results the day feels ruined. Waste of time, waste of ingredients, waste of money. And now I’m ordering takeout on top of it.

    What I love most about you and this site is that I can see your similar culinary stretches and taking chances, but instead of walking away in a huff forever, you’ll come back a month or year or five years later and keep tweaking. And then your readers get to benefit. Thanks for putting yourself out there and for not giving up. So many happy congratulations on publishing your second book.

    1. deb

      Thank you and I totally disagree that Blue Apron isn’t for people who can’t cook! I know a ton of friends who use it or other similar meal services because they take some of the work out of the shopping and recipe selection and let you focus on the more fun part: cooking, pretty important when you’ve got a busy life and don’t want to defrost chicken tenders every night. Anyway, not a sponsored (lol, of course) opinion but I’m thrilled you’re enjoying the site.

  17. Okay, I’m not really a fan of cake- I’ve always preferred tarts over cakes- so much so that I actually got rid of my cake pans last year because I never used them. Of course now I’m kicking myself for it because you make this sound so appealing that I. Need. It. Today. Have you any idea how this might bake up in a loaf pan? Or perhaps a square baking pan is the way to go here… with coconut oil instead of olive oil?! Now we’re talking. Or, well, I am.

    1. I was just going to ask about coconut oil instead of olive. Maybe I’ll just have to bake 2 of these, one with olive, one with coconut and see for meself, eh? ..and I’ll try coconut nectar instead of corn syrup on the glaze with the coconut oil cake; and maybe honey? in the glaze on the olive oil cake.. well, if it turns out less shiny, I hope it’s at least quite yummy in me tummy!

      1. Rebecca

        I’m a huge fan of Avocado oil in baking too. Although it wasn’t a great swap in challah dough, it’s my fat secret weapon in just about every cake or brownie.

  18. Cy

    I have a chocolate cake “war time” recipe that I found years ago that makes a lovely moist cake without eggs. Vinegar and oil definitely. Can’t wait to try out yours. I’m making your brown butter coconut cookies foe my cousin at her request ( people are nuts about those cookies) now I need a excuse to make this! So excited about the book, hoping to catch you in SF in November!

  19. Brittany W.

    Slightly off topic, but your comment about Dutched cocoa powder reminded me of this. I’m going to Greece in November and since I’ve never been to Europe, I am wondering if there are any special cooking products/foods that I should bring home because they are either cheaper, or specialty? Greece will be the only country we go to. Thanks!

    1. Cheese! Whenever I go to Spain to see family, I buy a whole Manchego. It travels well on the 24-hour (or more) journey home. Then I cut it into quarters, wrap it in foil, and freeze it in a Ziplock bag. It keeps very well that way.

      A whole aged Manchego bought in Spain is ¼ of the Costco price in the US!

      The caveat is, I make sure that the customs rules haven’t changed before I go.

      1. Filiz

        You do know Spain is definitely not Greece, right? I don’t presume Manchego to be easily found in Greece. Europe is, as you might know, a collection of very diverse countries. In Greece you will find Greek food: feta, zaziki, gyros and the lovely alcoholic beverage called ouzo. That one you can take home, the rest should be consumed fresh. Oh, and olive oil. Find a nice one and take it home.

        1. As a European, yes, I’m very aware of its culinary diversity. The Manchego was just an example of the kind of thing (cheese, you know, the first word of my reply) that you can bring back to the US. Sorry you missed that!

    2. Asquared

      Mahlab and mastic, if you like Greek baked goods (not sure if they’re cheaper to buy there, but they are specialty); wine, if you drink (and/or ouzo, but unless you like the taste of anise/licorice, you might not like it); and of course, olive oil.

    3. Greek here

      OLIVE OIL!!! By November you may already be able to get the really sharp fresh oil from this year’s produce. You have to taste this thing before you die. Seriously. It will be thick and possibly murky and vividly green and amazingly peppery (warning: it will get milder with time). And cheese! And a large jar of wholemeal tahini (check the production date so you enjoy it fresh for longer). And a bottle of ouzo as suggested below:D Have fun!

      1. Susanna

        Is the freshness why I had a bottle of (Italian) olive oil that literally made me blush when I ate it? I’ve never found a satisfactory answer for why that happened!

  20. Kathleen Colton

    Yes, this is my variation on the wacky cake too! No eggs is primary (severe egg allergy) and I too upped the cocoa, I use strong Italian roast coffee as the liquid, and extra virgin olive oil, I use balsimic vinegar….this has been our go to cake for the past 15 years of birthdays….or any time!!….I have used both glaze and butter cream frosting! Try it everyone…you will like it! (Ps….I really like SO many recipes on your site!)

  21. Juliet

    This cake looks amazing and a great solution to take to a gathering where you don’t know everyone, and where someone is always egg/dairy free. I’d sub in my favourite GF blend (rice, potato and tapioca) for the win!
    Deb, come to New Zealand on your tour and escape the horrible winter weather in December and January! I’m sure there are plenty of SK-followers from australasia who’d love to host you!

      1. M

        Thanks for the answer! The kind of chocolate cake I like! Most chocolate cakes recipes I’ve made tend to be heavier than I would like or fall short in chocolatey flavor. I admit I like boxed chocolate cake mixes, because they tend to be lighter and chocolatey. This recipe is now on my to-do list.

    1. Laura

      I am almost sure it is a taste preference. The “wacky cakes” I’ve made don’t even call for brown sugar, but I like that idea!

  22. Miriam

    Excited to make this very soon. Would coconut oil work as a substitute for the olive oil and corn syrup in glaze and still give a shiny finish? Also can’t wait to read your new book; although looks like you have a very busy pre Christmas travel schedule😳

    1. Francoise

      Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature (unless of course you’re in NJ in october😳), it will make a hard shell for the glaze. Like the chocolate magic shell dip you used to be able to get at ice cream parlors.

      1. Miriam

        Thank you for the tip! Don’t think chocolate magic shells ever reached Northern Ireland, but I don’t imagine that’s the glaze I’m after!

    2. deb

      Coconut oil will work for olive oil; won’t work for corn syrup but the corn syrup is more of an extra. You can make it without it, it’s just less glossy.

  23. Luisa

    Will you come to the UK at some point?!
    Your recipes never fail to inspire me, but this reminds me a lot of an Italian classic cake from the Ada Boni book, called Bilbolbul. I make it all the time, it has even less ingredients than this one, but no olive oil. It can be easily tweaked to be vegan, too, and it could certainly be made with coffee. Just wondering if you had come across it before?
    I’m gonna try this version, though!!

  24. reseelee

    I’m still nursing my six-week-old who has possible food allergies so I’m currently off both dairy and eggs. I just said to my husband that I really want chocolate cake or brownies and, once again, you come through for me! Thanks, Deb. Congratulations on the cookbook – I can’t wait for it to arrive on my doorstep!

  25. Gerley

    Just when I thought I couldn’t love you more..you post an Egg. Free. Chocolate. Cake.
    P.S. Actually, if you came to Germany on your book tour I would love you a teensy bit more …I mean I can dream, right?

      1. Afshan

        And India? You have lots of fans here as well. I would be thrilled to host you in Bangalore! Congratulations on the book. I have high expectations for it! 😊

  26. Kristie

    For the Montreal event, will you be talking or just parked at a table signing books? I’d love to go, but it’s hard to justify a 2 hour drive each way on a work day if only to buy the book.

  27. Sarah

    I got so happy you are making it to Minneapolis I actually teared up a little. On my calendar. Already pre-ordered…like, on the first day possible. See you there!

    Your site and cookbook are my first stop for anything I plan to make. You are an intimate friend in my kitchen and food is a big deal for me. Can’t wait to come fan-girl-out; I do not plan to maintain my dignity. Let’s be friends :)

  28. NJ cook

    Just forwarded the chocolate cake recipe to an old friend who suddenly developed lactose intolerance. As a longtime vegetarian she had always adored cheese and other dairy products and partly relied on them for protein, and of course baking became difficult. This should cheer her up.

  29. JoanieB

    1. Those 2 munchkins are so darn cute, I don’t know how y’all stand it!💙
    2. Awwww, love Peg Bracken. Now I’ll have to dig out my lil paperbacks and giggle.
    3. Big fan of wacky cakes, KAF has several variations. Made many for us and vegan friends. Love your ramped up version and will get to it very soon. As soon as the humidity here in central NC drops below 743%.
    4. NC has bookstores, ma’m! Several independent ones in the Chapel Hill area. Just sayin’!

    1. Margy

      I also was so happy you mentioned Peg Bracken, Deb. Like you, someone to read for the attitude (in a good sense), not just the recipes.

  30. We call this “cowboy cake” in my family and my dad always requests it for his birthday. Instead of frosting, we usually do a cinnamon-sugar combo sprinkled all over the top. So many happy memories of eating this cake!

  31. Sarah P

    You’re coming to Vancouver, BC !? THANK YOU! I had to check myself for a second and say “calm down, it’s probably Vancouver, WA because who comes to Canada?” but you are :)

    If you haven’t been here before know that we are now considered to have been better Chinese food than Hong Kong, so if you like Dim Sum and dumplings plan a few stops. See you on Nov 12th!

  32. Julie Steinhauer

    Can I substitute balsamic vinegar for the other vinegar? Thinking black cherry balsamic or fig…
    Want to make ASAP. I own an olive oil specialty foods store and this recipe is perfect for our customers!

    1. Wow, that sounds good! Let us know how that goes. Do you have a link to your olive oil store? and maybe you can post the recipe there if it turns out, please?

    2. deb

      Perhaps but it’s not about the taste of the vinegar (you won’t taste it) but activating the baking soda. It also darkens the cake (mine is almost black). I’d add some if you want the flavor, but would be nervous to use a less acidic vinegar.

        1. deb

          It will probably work fine; it can be slightly less acidic but I’m sure it could work. (And will of course impart a lemon flavor, albeit subtle one.)

  33. Grace V

    Word of caution about the glaze: the oil gets very hot very quickly (hotter than melted chocolate gets under normal circumstances), making it difficult to control the melt. The first batch charred the chips (I used mini, so they perhaps had less room for error), and I was left with an extremely hot, partially smooth ganache full of tiny bits of burnt chocolate.

    The second time I pre-melted the chocolate (it took about a minute total), then added the oil, cocoa powder, and salt. I then threw it back in the microwave for 30 seconds. (I did not have corn syrup on hand — not sure if that would have affected the temperature.) It seemed to work well.

  34. Lauren

    Maybe only one child is “taking guitar”, but there is one in the photo who is “TAKING” the guitar. Both also “take the cake” for cuteness. This recipe is going to be a family fave…I can feel it , hoping soon to taste it!

  35. Staci

    This looks so luscious! Any idea if it can be made successfully with gluten free flour? I’ve got a couple family members with allergies.

    1. Helen Cave

      Yes it can be made with GF flours! Has always turned out well when I’ve used the wacky cake recipe so am confident Deb’s recipe would be good made with GF flours.

  36. Rebecca

    This cake is so simple to make and turns out moist and delicious and perfect for a rainy Tuesday!
    I didn’t have the ingredients for the glaze, so I sprinkled powdered sugar on top and served with a few raspberries as a garnish.

  37. HeatherSJ

    Woohoo! First test-cake just came out of the oven. Want to make this for my 4yo’s birthday on Thursday, but would really like to have a tall fat cake (plus, he’s requested 2 layers with blackberry jam in the middle). So I’m trying it out in an 8″ pan tonight to see. And used 1/2 cup home cold-brewed concentrate with my 1 cup water. The bake time is obviously took a bit longer for the thicker cake.. Hope it comes out as stellar as yours looks! Hubs and I are excited to have an excuse for pre-birthday cake!

    One question: I ended up with a bit of a valley in the center. Is this because I overfilled my pan? Or baked too long after all? It looks like it should still stack and ice just fine. But I’d love to fix that one little blip before the birthday bake!

      1. deb

        I’m sorry to hear. It often happens when there’s too much baking soda. It is a bit high here but I found it consistent with other recipes and of course, it worked fine in my kitchen. I do wonder if 1 teaspoon might be just fine, however, for you next time.

        1. M

          My cake had a slight depression as well. Deb is right about the baking soda. I noticed that the cake had a noticeable baking soda taste the day after. I’m going to the use 1 tsp as Deb recommended the next time I make this.

    1. Amanda

      What is your elevation, Heather? That can make a huge difference to baked goods. High elevation baking typically needs a bit more flour or less leavening, I think.

      1. HeatherJ

        Thanks Deb, and all! The birthday bake went we’ll! Amanda, I’m basically at sea-level, haha. So I don’t typically have things fall unless I COMPLETELY forget about rising bread or something. But never a cake! I will play with the baking soda amount next time.

    1. deb

      You could (I’d only do a partial swap) however the coolest thing about this cake is how dark my cocoa came out (it’s the baking soda and vinegar), it *looked* like I’d used black cocoa.

  38. Amanda

    Deb, I have been looking for a good dairy free coco powder for a co-worker who is dairy/nut free due to allergies. What kind of coco powder did you use here? Can’t wait to try this to share with her!

  39. Katie C.

    I’ve been making a version of Wacky Cake for years! I think I originally ran across the recipe in the American Heart Association’s cookbook but like you said, the recipe is very old. You can really just mix the whole thing up one the pan. Sift in your dry ingredients, make three wells for the oil, vinegar and vanilla. Pour the water over the top and mix with a fork. Thanks for the vegan frosting recipe. My brother is vegan.

  40. Oooooooooohhhhh! Montréal! How wonderful! I hope you won’t mind fans bringing you homemade food gifts, although I admit that could be seen as eery-creepy…. Maybe I’ll stick to some small-batch maple syrup :-) Have a great tour!

  41. Elizabeth

    My roommates and I each had Not Great days today, so I made this! It was super quick and it was great. We ate the cake warm while watching Practical Magic.
    It was exactly what we needed. Thank you.

    I will say, I advise going for smaller portions because this cake is rich. You will be more than happy with a smaller slice.

  42. I’ve read some commentary about humidity affecting baking. I live in a rather humid environment. Are there any precautionary measures I should take in regards to baking this chocolatey madness in a humid environment? Thank you.

  43. stargazer2190

    I just made the cake after work today. It was super easy to pull together. The cake was denser than I thought though and very moist. It made me question whether it had been completed baked through. The center of the cake was depressed. Any thoughts on why this would be? The cake tester came out clean in multiple spots.

  44. Anita

    Crazy cake has been one of my favorites since childhood. My favorite variation is black bottom cake. Like your cupcakes. It was what I always wanted for my birthday. I still make it fairly often. Thanks for the new ideas!

  45. Miriam Mc Nally

    Looks delicious!
    I have a vegan daughter so am thrilled to get this recipe. I made Anna Del Conti’s olive oil and apple cake once and loved it.

    Congrats on BOOK 2!!! Your recipes are all fab. If you could add Europe to your book tour that would be amazing, but I know it’s prob impossible. Don’t even know how you fit in all the cities you have included.

  46. CMS

    *This cake looks moist and decadent. And just abt perfect!

    And, it is great to have on hand for those young people who may be trying out the vegan path.

    I must ask, though, what’s with all the advertising? This is an amazing helpful website but I am getting overwhelmed with plugs for the book and other ads.

    1. deb

      There are 2-3 ads on the whole page; this hasn’t changed in 10 years on the site. (It’s also very low for a website these days, but I don’t budge on it.) As for the book plugs, this is where I announce the book tour. There’s really not a better place to tell everyone. It’s of course more than usual as the book is two weeks out but I always make sure that I never post *only* about the book, there’s always a new recipe too. Like this cake, which we love and think others will too.

  47. sconelady

    I can’t wait to add this one to my repertoire of perfect baked goodies~
    Question: Can this be baked in a loaf pan or would it sink in the middle?

  48. I have been making this cake my whole life! I, too, tweak it—it can be good with raspberry vinegar, for example, and I always use coffee (instant espresso if I don’t have any brewed). I also add chocolate chips to the batter, which gives it some nice melty nuggets. It was my family’s go-to cake when I was a kid, the first thing I ever baked, and a staple now since we have vegan family members.

  49. Jane M

    When I saw on Instagram that you posted an added appearance in MAPLEWOOD NJ I got so excited! I quickly text’d my daughter – we plan on being there. We can’t wait to meet you! Your recipes are ALL.HOMERUNS.!

  50. JC

    This is also my go to chocolate cake! I stumbled across it in a Moosewood Cookbook probably 16 years ago and it’s been my family “everyday cake” ever since! YAY. When it’s winter I add chopped crystallized ginger to the batter, do it you’ll be glad you did!

  51. Nicole

    I can’t wait to try this. I LOVE olive oil cake. How though, did this make it to day four in your fridge?! You all must have amazing self control.

  52. Saurs

    I love that you upped the choc factor here. I am going to do one tiny tweak — replace a tablespoon or two of the olive oil with walnut oil because I bought a bottle of it and I’m damned if I’m not going to use the bloody thing — and then possibly two more (smoked salt on the top and maybe a fine dusting of powdered walnut. The end. If anyone’s interested, I’ll pop back and tell you how it went.
    Thanks, Deb. I’m excited for your tour! Eat everywhere you can and then come tell us about it!

  53. Susan Goldin

    Hi Deb,

    I love your recipes , but would also love get some of your comments and pictures as well. How can I get the entire article…pix included/
    Thanks,
    Susan

    1. deb

      I’m not sure I followed — you wish to print the whole post including photos and comments? I don’t have the template set up like that because people get very unhappy with me when a post prints for 10 pages; only the recipe prints.

  54. Jennifer

    Deb! You are coming to Atlanta I’m so excited! Your signing is at Manuel’s Tavern, an old Atlanta institution for journalists and politicians (Jimmy Carter announced his first run for GA governor there in 1970, for example). Can’t wait to see you!

  55. I made this last night (and also got the depression in the center, but I definitely overfilled my cake pan) and brought it into work this morning. I’ve already been informed I have to make it again for our next office party!

  56. cicatricella

    I can’t believe this is your first foray into Wacky cake! It is one of my go-tos that I try to convince newbies is ‘easier than cake-mix!’ and I love the fact that almost everyone can eat it. It lends itself well to making as a giant sheet cake so great for parties etc.

  57. Maro

    I made this as soon as I got home from work and tried it…and didn’t love it. BUT this morning? OMG.

    The olive oil taste was a bit too heavy against the chocolate for me when it was first made — which might be the olive oil i used (Trader Joe’s Greek) or could just be personal taste. by morning, the flavors had really set and i love everything about it.

    I’d definitely make it again, and probably will next month to help celebrate a vegan friend’s book tour!

  58. fiche

    I bake Julia Turshen’s “Happy Wife Happy Life” chocolate cake on the regular and currently have a little under half a cake sitting in my refrigerator waiting for it’s final hurrah after dinner tonight. We like having chocolate cake in the refrigerator (who wouldn’t) and I’m going to give this cake recipe a whirl this weekend. I do plan to top it with your chocolate-sour cream frosting just like Turshen does on her cake because to me that’s the world’s greatest cake topping.

  59. JP

    Just a comment on the olive oil. I use olive oil in all my cakes…actually in any baking that uses oil. Maybe because it is COSTCO olive oil and not a distinctively flavored olive oil it seems to make no difference. I hope it is healthier. I hardly use any other oil these days, except when I make Asian style food I use sesame oil. I have made Wacky Cake in the past…Cook’s Illustrated has a version of it in its Lost Recipe cookbook, but I like the idea of a thicker cake (from upping the amount of the ingredients) and so I will certainly try yours. Thanks for the new look at an old recipe.

  60. Jo Foster

    I have made a similar wacky cake since high school (MANY years ago). I make it with a broiled brown sugar, butter, coconut and nuts topping, and it’s like a super moist German chocolate cake. Never thought about using olive oil, but have used coconut oil, which is awesome with the broiled topping.. Love the idea of using coffee for the liquid.

  61. Instant icing for this cake – while still hot from oven, sprinkle with semi sweet choco chips and about 5 dollops of peanut butter. Amounts can vary and will demand repeating to get just right. Let melt then smear it all together until totally mixed or leave it streaky. Our go to birthday cake. Or Tuesday cake.

  62. Ashley

    I’m so excited about the new cookbook!!!! I just love flipping through a new cookbook repeatedly or even revisiting an old one. Your first book is one of my go-tos, as is your blog. You’re so trustworthy and I just love your sense of humor + curiosity.
    Anyway, another olive oil + chocolate cake combo I adore is from Tara O’Brady’s Seven Spoons cookbook. She has a chocolate + zucchini + olive oil + walnut + chocolate chip muffin in there that I crave every few weeks. So good, and you can really taste the flavor of the olive oil. Plus they freeze well.

  63. Caitlin

    I just made this and it’s so yummy! Mine was nice and moist, but a little crumbly. Any ideas what might be going on? Or how to avoid that next time?

    1. deb

      If crumbly it likely comes from it being an eggless cake. I found it to be loose-crumbed, i.e. not dense, but not crumbly per se. It didn’t seem overbaked at all, did it?

      1. Caitlin

        Ya- definitely not overbaked. I think it’s probably just a little different than what I was expecting since there are no eggs (like you mentioned!). It also got a bit less crumbly after a few more hours out at room temp. Perhaps I hadn’t truly let it fully cool — it looked too good!

  64. Megan

    I made this today. It was super quick and easy. I delivered to my husband’s office still warm. I don’t have an 9″ pan, so I made a 8″ and a mini. I also used Costco olive oil. I suspect this would taste super awesome the next day, but didn’t keep a piece to test this theory. Next time will use coffee.

  65. Hey Deb! Long time follower, first time poster with a quick question.

    Do you think this would work as a loaf cake? I’m a loaf kind of girl and my 9X5 gets much love. I’m wondering how to adjust the recipe (for time and possibly temperature) for that size loaf pan.

    Hoping to see you at B&N, my fellow New Yorker :D

    1. deb

      Thanks, can’t wait. I haven’t tried it as a loaf and it might fit or it might be a bit over. Helpful, I know. I’d say try not to fill the pan more than 2/3 and you should be fine; if there’s extra, make a few muffins.

  66. Dee

    OK I am feeling like I have to make this — and yes have all the ingredients EXCEPT I have light brown sugar, not dark brown. Abort mission? Wait for the dark brown?

  67. Jan Duguid

    I have made wacky cake for close to thirty years as our younger daughter is allergic to eggs. My version of rocky road frosting….someone asked in the comments… Is to put small marshmellows on the cake once it is done and to put the cake under the broiler, watching closely…then pour on a chocolate glaze on top of the marshmellows…. I am sure you could also add nuts in there if you wanted…. Another person also described the mix of brown sugar, coconut and butter mixture, broiled on the hot cake… which is also delish!

  68. Kristi L

    The flavor of this cake was wonderful, but it did sink a lot, & I had to bake it about 15 minutes longer. It ended up being very moist and fudgy. I would make it again, but with less baking soda and less water. I’m surprised to get this poor result as I’ve never had anything but wonderful success with every other recipe from here.

  69. liza

    I just made this – started it at 8:15 and just ate my first piece at 9:30! SO FAST! AND GOOD! my roommate also loves it!! I halved the recipe and made it in a 6in round tin, baked for 40 mins at 350 and followed the recipe exactly except used honey instead of corn syrup in the glaze. It’s delicious! and so easy!!

  70. Jennifer

    This is tasty — but, as my kids pointed out, even prettier with star-shaped-sprinkes!

    And you’re going to be in my town — I’ve received instructions from the teenagers to attend and be all fangirl on you. (I would’ve anyway…) Perhaps they will attend with me, since they’re supposed to be making a dinner per week per teenaged boy, and your cookbook and website are favorite starting places.

  71. Charity

    This cake was sooooo easy to make, and it’s so rich and moist!
    Mine did sink a bit; I’m assuming that’s due to high altitude or that It could have used 5 more minutes in the oven and 5 extra minutes cooling in the pan. Regardless, it’s incredible! Thanks for the recipe :)

  72. Maura

    Gosh that looks insanely good. I don’t have light corn syrup in the house; can I make a substitution or do without it?
    Congratulations on the new book!

    1. deb

      You you use another liquid sweetener (such as honey) for smoothness; the corn syrup provides more shine but most liquid sweeteners will make it more smooth. You can also skip it.

  73. ~ R

    I think the miracle is that you still had cake left four days later, fridge or not, moist or not. That would never happen in my house (maybe 1 day if I’m lucky but I’d place bets on only 15 hours). But, lasting 1 day or 4 days, I am excited to try this cake, in large part because in my cake vanishing house, I need a quick and easy, but chocolately and moist, cake recipe. Thank you.

    1. Connie

      Coming back here to say that the baking soda definitely needs to be reduced. On the second day, you can definitely taste it in the cake (blech). So 1 tsp. is probably suffice. I did also have that round part in the middle that sank even after baking it for 35 min. Should have done 40, as it’s a tad under done.

  74. Coree

    Delicious! I made it for my anniversary last night and it was super easy, even with a two month old in tow, I didn’t do the glaze, I cut out some heart designs from paper and sprinkled vanilla bean sugar so it had a nice pattern on it.

  75. Lee McAninch

    Oh, my goodness! I’m in the process of emptying my kitchen after 2 years in Sydney. I looked at this and thought “perfect was to use up the cocoa powder, olive oil, sugars, and flour. I took a lot of liberties–like 1/2 regular flour & 1/2 bread flour, regular brown sugar, brown vinegar, wrong cake pan, TJ dark chocolate bar instead of chic chips, no corn syrup, etc. The cake is moist and tender, and wonderful!

  76. Tammy

    This made about 12 cupcakes. I baked them for 18 minutes and they came out moist with an airy texture. I also added a splash of vanilla extract. I threw all the glaze ingredients into a microwave-safe bowl and placed the bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stirred until everything was combined and then dipped the tops of the cupcakes into the glaze. Looking forward to tasting them tomorrow.

  77. Made this yesterday with Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free Flour and 1 cup of coffee, a half cup of water. Absolutely divine. My new go-to. This is my favorite type of recipe: simple and easy, yet tastes complex and elegant, while looking beautiful. Thanks, Deb!

    1. Li

      Hi Bria! I’m looking to make this gluten-free as well, did you add anything else besides the 1 to 1 gluten free flour to stabilise it? Was there any difference in your cake’s appearance to Deb’s?

      1. Karen A

        Hey, I’m jumping in as I just made this today using Arrowhead Mills Heritage Blend (GF) and coconut sugar for both the regular and brown sugar. (I feel like I’ve become a cliche). Cake came out super good and icing even without corn syrup is really shiny. No idea if using stove top instead of microwave worked to keep it shiny??

    2. Jenny

      Many many chocolate cakey thanks, Bria! I just picked up my first bag of Bob’s 1 to 1 and was dying to know whether I should try this recipe with it!

  78. Beverly

    I just purchased Blood Orange Olive Oil from D’Avolio. This recipe sounds like the perfect one to try out my new find!
    Thanks, Deb, for another great recipe as well as your efforts to get there :-)

  79. Trisha

    This looks fun! The version from the Moosewood Cooks At Home cookbook is my go-to recipe for cupcakes. I started making them when the baby (now 12) had an egg allergy. I’ve never tried olive oil (I usually use canola) but felt like a fancy cook when I switched to using red wine vinegar. I think it adds a nice touch.

  80. Elaine

    In college I worked in a restaurant where we made a couple of double sheet cakes of essentially this same recipe daily for sack lunches (plain oil, though). We called it crazy cake rather than wacky cake, and it was VERY popular. Sometimes we made chocolate buttercream icing and sometimes green-tinted mint and chocolate chip icing. One difference is that the baking soda and vinegar were mixed together and the foaming mixture was quickly stirred into the cake batter at the end. I’ve seen this technique before, but never an explanation of why or whether it truly makes any difference.

  81. Andi

    We’re coming to NYC for a wedding, and we leave the morning of the 24th. We’re missing your book release by mere hours! It’s a tragedy.

  82. LSS

    After reading the comments, I decided I must be the person to test the recipe with slightly reduced baking soda, you know, for science. I used a just barely rounded teaspoon. The cake still tasted fluffy and moist and lovely, and was just barely rounded on top. Certainly no valley.

    I used Seville orange coffee lurking in the cupboard – yum! I didn’t have ingredients on hand to make the glaze, but I admit I was very tempted to add the orange syrup from the orange chocolate chunk cake. Next time..

  83. maria

    This cake is delicious! So good, I’m making it again two nights later. I did not care for the glaze, though. This time around I’m using a ganache.

    1. JP

      After having just made this cake (although I know you are asking Deb) I do NOT think it would work as a yule log. It is very moist and even poured thin, I bet it would not have enough structure to roll. Just my two bits though…Deb may know better!

      1. Brooke Free

        Thanks! I was trying to make a vegan yule log. I’ll try Mary’s with egg substitutes. After I eat this olive oil cake first…

  84. Caitlin

    Just made this with coffee. So delicious! I’m sure that it would have been even better with the glaze, but it is fantastic without.

  85. Li

    Hi Bria! I’m looking to make this gluten-free as well, did you add anything else besides the 1 to 1 gluten free flour to stabilise it? Was there any difference in your cake’s appearance to Deb’s?

  86. sbc

    I once helped a friend make a wacky cake for a vegan classmate she had a crush on and it worked so well that now they’re married! So I’m a big fan of wacky cakes and interested in trying this one–had never thought of making it with coffee or olive oil.

    If you make two wacky cakes and level them off, you can sandwich them with jam and then put the glaze on and damn that’s good.

    Also, the “Tuesday cake” thing reminded me of Catherine Newman’s blog about “Yay It’s Wednesday Cake” cake! http://benandbirdy.blogspot.com/2016/02/yay-its-wednesday-cake-cake.html

  87. Echo

    I will start by saying I love your recipes and you are my go to blog. However this cake turned out to be the one that didn’t work. It bubbled up over the side of the pan and took much longer to cook than 35 mins. It tastes great but looks awful! I used the weight measurements, as I always do but was wondering if you did and was wondering if they were off a bit?

  88. I brought this to an early morning mom’s group as a surprise birthday cake for someone and trusted that if you said it was delicious, it would be. And it was! Truth be told, I was somewhat concerned that the grassy green olive oil flavour in the batter (yes, I taste tested the batter…just in cases) was going to overwhelm the final product. But no! It did not. Instead, it was an incredibly moist, incredibly chocolatey cake with just a hint of olive oil flavour. So yummy, and so easy, and so quick (which is what I needed it to be with two small kids and a 9 am deadline). Thank you!

  89. JP

    I made this for our anniversary today and I had a few problems. I got the sinking in the middle…wish I had used less baking soda as later suggested. Also, even after 10 minutes of cooling time, I had trouble removing the parchment paper because it wanted to rip off a thin layer of cake! What that is about, I do not know because I did spray the parchment with cooking spray. I used a cake strip around the pan to get a layer without doming…I wonder if that was the problem? It took longer than usual to bake. Maybe 45-50 minutes. I have a feeling once it is glazed it will be a very moist and tasty cake, but I usually have so few problems baking a cake I was surprised at the turn of events.

  90. jaxqui

    This cake is incredibly moist and rich, and it was easy enough to make while wearing a six-week-old baby! The cake has a very slight depression in the middle and the glaze didn’t set very well (may do better after the fridge), but it’s too decadent for me to care about that. I used instant espresso powder+hot water and the chocolate flavor came out really deep and the cake is just all around satisfying.

  91. Thank you for bringing the moistest chocolate cake I have ever eaten into my life! I only wish I had recognized the potential of my humble pantry ingredients a long time ago…

  92. I completely forgot the granulated sugar. Then I sloppily eyeballed the ganache measurements and ended up with more of a chocolate frosting that I plopped on the warm cake and spread out thin. Clearly, I’m not the best at following instructions when it gets late on a work night!

    Forgetting the sugar doesn’t seem to have done it any harm; it’s still moist and delicious. Plus, I’m glad it’s less sweet because the icing–which hardened and now reminds me of hardshell ice cream topping–adds a nice amount of sweetness. I popped the cake in the fridge when it was finished to keep it away from my naughty and curious cat, and I’m finding that I really like it cold!

    Between the coffee and the cut sweetness, I’ve been considering it a breakfast treat. It’s been a delightful thing to wake up for even on this muggy, unseasonal week in NC :)

  93. Beth

    Wow. Just WOW. Thank you; this is one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve made.

    Word of advice. If your husband comes home with “LIGHT” corn syrup, throw it out or return it. Don’t try to add it to the chocolate glaze – it makes the chocolate seize and then you have to cry. And then you have to make a ganache instead because you give up for the moment and don’t want to waste the last of the chocolate you have in the house.

    1. JP

      I did not use light corn syrup and this happened to me anyway. It looked so easy and the chocolate mixture was nice and smooth, but the moment I tried to pour it, it thickened and would not spread. It tastes good, but the whole look was ruined. sigh. What went wrong?

    2. deb

      Hi Beth — So weird, I always use “light” corn syrup. I thought it relates to the color (clear, not dark), not diet. And I’m so glad you like the cake.

      1. JP

        BTW, you are right about the “light” corn syrup which refers to the clear color. There is also “dark” corn syrup which is brown. It has nothing to do with diet or “lite”.

  94. Is this recipe supposed to say 1 and 1/2 cups of water or coffee? Because the “batter” I made was way more soupy than in any cake I’ve ever made, and then although the cake seemed baked after about 34 minutes (springy, tester with a couple of crumbs on it), when I went to turn it out of the pan it made a huge mess, with all this gravy-like goop under the cake, which proceeded to slop all over my counter and floor. What’s this about? I’ve made lots of your recipes Deb, and never encountered a mess like this. Ideas?

  95. via_ostiense

    I made this last night and it came out very fudgy and moist – not my thing, but other folks who ate it enjoyed it, so it comes down to whether you like light crumbs or dense crumbs in your cake. Notes on cooking:

    * baked for 50 min; at 30, the top had just barely set and the cake was quite liquid.
    * baking soda – reduced to 1 ts per Deb’s note in the comments, and there was a slight depression in the center, but not much, and the cake didn’t have a baking soda taste.
    * corn syrup – I didn’t have corn syrup at hand, so I subbed in a dark buckwheat honey. The glaze came out fine in consistency and was even shiny, but the honey taste was strong and distracting, and so I think the corn syrup would result in a purer sweet flavor for the glaze. If you’re using honey, I recommend using one that’s less strongly flavored.
    * salt – start with one pinch in the glaze. The glaze stays liquid for a while after it’s combined, so start with one pinch and then taste it once everything’s mixed together to see if you need to add more.
    * making glaze – someone commented that their glaze scorched in the microwave. I made it in a sort of double boiler (put a chinois over a pot of boiling water, and put all the glaze ingredients in a bowl in the chinois) and that worked fine.

  96. Barbara Dabrowski

    We are looking forward to meeting you in Vancouver (me and my friends)! Just Fyi, I am President of Club Eat. Its a small un-club (4 of us) but our cooking skills are seriously respected by our friends and family. I am your biggest fan in Vancouver and can prove this because when I just type s into Google….well you know where that leads to!

  97. Jo

    I made this last night – would’ve been 2 nights ago but I realized we had no cocoa powder, the horror! – and it was so easy and delicious! I did have a slight dip in the center but gave it an extra 3-5 minutes in the oven and it came out fine. This is the first cake I’ve made from scratch, so I was very pleased with the result! :) I didn’t make the glaze since I was really craving something purely cakey, but I’m going to give it a go next time – if I want to leave out the corn syrup (don’t feel like I’d get the use out of a full bottle) is there anything else I should substitute, or can I safely just leave it out and keep the rest of the recipe as-is? Going to try it with a little less baking soda next time too, but I definitely see this cake becoming a go-to! It was moist and delicious and made for a great breakfast too ;)

  98. Li

    Just made this tonight! I made it into cupcakes (I got 12) and substituted cup for cup gluten free flour. Was my first foray into turning a recipe gluten free but it seemed to turn out correct, the cake was super soft and moist and fudgy but airy at the same time (seems contradictory!). The olive oil flavour really came through. Super simple but great recipe!

    1. Hillary

      I did a cup for cup substitution with King Arthur Gluten Free Flour and was not successful with cupcakes – they just fell apart and I couldn’t get them out from the pan. Glad it worked for you. Maybe I did something wrong.

  99. Elia

    I made this last night. Had the depression also but when topped with the glaze you cannot tell. Everyone loved it and commented about how moist it was. Total hit.

  100. KMJR

    I made this today with what I had:
    1/2 C of Hersey’s cocoa powder
    apple cider vinegar
    1/2 c each of granulated & brown sugar
    1:1 GF mix from Bob’s Mill (blue label)
    2 tsp hazelnut extract (because : )
    1 C strong coffee + 1/2 c water
    only 1 tsp baking soda (per suggestion from other commenters)
    rest was the same… easy to put together & clean up
    made 1x 8″ cake pan plus 2 tall muffin cups
    baked 35 min (sea level)
    domed beautifully….It fell a little when I tried to get the wax paper off the bottom…
    a little bit of b.soda smell & slight taste of b.soda when I tried it (still warm–couldn’t wait!) which didn’t stop me from eating it with a dusting of icing sugar on the top.
    I am not fond of the GF texture but wanted to try this mix. It worked. The cake was more to the fudgey side of things with all these tweaks.
    Will try to make this with a regular flour next time. Also, I will wait until I can put in the full amt of cocoa pwdr to try this again …and probably add a little more sugar than I did this time. I’ll skip the hazelnut flavoring–didn’t make a difference.
    Thanks for inspiring a Saturday morning bake, and letting me share my results!

    1. I feel like the BRM 1:1 gives a kind of gritty texture. When I make banana muffins for my husband I use 1 cup 1:1 and 3/4 cup GF oat flour and the texture is completely indistinguishable from regular glutened muffins.

    2. KMJR

      As a follow-up:
      *even with the GF flour, this slices beautifully & I found that it was perfect with a smear of jam between the layers…will add a bit of whipped cream on the side next time, too!!
      *the b soda taste & smell are less the next day, & the cake is still quite moist
      Yay!! Thanks again for the recipe
      (I did a search for wacky cakes & found some versions without cocoa–this is a rabbit hole for sure)

  101. Hi Deb!

    This looks amazing. Do you have any tips for substituting corn syrup in this recipe? I currently live outside the US and grocery stores here don’t really offer corn syrup.

    Thanks! Can’t wait to make this.

  102. Lily Purnomo

    Hello….your cake looks great!! Can the granular sugar and dark brown sugar be substituted with honey? How many ml the honey be? Thank you for your reply…

    1. deb

      Often in cakes, it’s not a problem but I cannot say for sure here. It’s already such a wet batter… I might start with only swapped the brown sugar.

  103. So now I know what to make when my next chocolate craving strikes. Also, so sad I’m missing you in Philly :( as I just moved to London last month. I am sending my BFFand cooking partner in crime so be sure to say Hi to Danielle and sign an extra book for me! Oh, and come to London!!

    1. deb

      Oh no, it’s totally on. It might have gotten lumped in with … San Francisco? I know they’re more than an hour apart. I know Santa Cruz has it’s own unique (awesome) thing going on.

  104. Esther

    I made this following the metric instructions and ended up with a very liquid soup-y batter. Baked into quite a dense, pudding like cake. The frosting never hardened and was more of a chocolate sauce. It looked terrible but was tasty! (though I’d probably leave out the sea salt flakes, the flavour was too strong) Something must have gone wrong, but am not entirely sure what …

  105. Carla Hinkle

    Cake is amazing! Just a word of caution — it is SO light and moist and crumbly it is VERY DELICATE coming out of the pan. More so than an eggs-and-butter cake. I broke a big chunk out of mine that way! (A delicious chunk I promptly ate so no real tragedy, but FYI if this is for company.)

  106. I made this cake yesterday for my book club today. It almost overflowed the pan when I poured it in, but didn’t overflow in the oven. It did take longer to bake than suggested, it sank in the middle but tested done. It was crusty on the outer edge but I was still able to remove it from the pan; didn’t glaze because it seemed like too much sweet for our book club gals, used a dusting of powdered sugar instead. Everyone loved it, said it was very moist. I think the size of the pan might be key – my 9″ pan has 2″ sides; I looked again at photos and Deb’s pan looked like a 3″ deep pan. I used the amount of soda called for and didn’t notice any off taste from that. I too used to make the whacky cake and loved it, also a similar one called a mayonnaise cake. I will definitely make it again after I get a bigger pan! Thank you Deb. Look forward to your new book!

    1. deb

      I’m sorry it gave you trouble; it’s definitely not you that’s experiencing dipping, although I hadn’t in the times I made it. My pan definitely has 2-inch sides, but the cake is on the tall side for the short pan. I’m wondering if a little less baking soda (1 teaspoon vs. 1 1/2 teaspoons) might resolve this. And thank you.

  107. bechem

    Lovely! I made this over the weekend (just because)! All the best with the book tour… if you ever come to Australia we would love to have you!!

  108. Heather

    I made this with self raising flour and no baking powder, I also halved the amount of sugar (I used all brown sugar), didn’t use the vinegar and didn’t make the glaze (it’s a lovely cake to have with a cup of tea, glaze or no glaze!)

    I did have to add some more cocoa powder as was too oily, probably due to less sugar, but turned out great.

    Took out at 30 mins and could have taken it out earlier- due to it being dark brown I didn’t realise the edges were getting crispy. There was a distinct olive oil flavour on the day of baking, but on the second day it is not very noticeable.

    Great cake and will be making again in the future for my vegan sister :)

  109. CJ Farren

    Interesting twist on the old “Wacky Cake” recipe which I have been making for over 40 years. It was also published as “Six Minute Chocolate Cake” in the cookbook “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home.” The ganache in their recipe does not call for oil or corn syrup and it works well for me with just dark chocolate, hot water and vanilla. I often substitute whole wheat pastry flour (note it must be “pastry”) for some or all of the all-purpose flour. Even though the old standard will be hard to beat I can’t wait to try your version with olive oil and brown sugar!

  110. Cheryl BOschert

    Just made this last night. Did not realize it was vegan till I got into the recipe. Let me just say, this is all pantry staples and I served this up for Sunday dinner, and it was truly delightful…. I used the coffee and it was dark, rich and with some whipped cream and vanilla bean ice cream, it rocked my world. Can’t wait for your cookbook…, Love from Columbus, OH

  111. Hi again, Deb! I took your suggestion (from Questions) and replaced half the water with a bold red wine. I then served it with the mascarpone cream from the red wine chocolate cake recipe. It was divine! Thank you :)

  112. Hillary

    I made this with King Arthur Gluten Free flour and it did not turn out well, I actually had to throw it away. My son wanted to make cupcakes and due to the GF flour (I assume), this was too crumbly and I could not get the cupcakes out of the muffin tins. I sprayed with non-stick spray and it is a non-stick muffin pan. The cake just fell apart and did not hold together at all. I will try again with regular flour when I have an event to go to. My son is allergic to eggs, wheat and all nuts, so was hoping this cake was the answer!

    1. anon

      If you used gluten free flour there would be nothing in this to act as a binder. You could probably come up with an alternative to use, but that is what the recipe was probably missing?

    2. CarolJ

      Adding to what Anon said – Unlike King Arthur’s measure-for-measure g-f flour or other cup-for-cup g-f flours, this blend contains no xanthan gum to act as a binder and stabilizer (to give the cake structure). I think that the xanthan gum would be especially important for this recipe which doesn’t have any eggs to provide structure. Perhaps you could try it again, adding ~1/2 tsp. of xanthan gum

  113. Amanda

    Deb, you are my baking-fit-throwing sister from another mother. I feel exactly as you do when a baking recipe goes awry. Cheated and deflated. Usually wine and ice cream come to my rescue. My husband, on the other hand, will make the same recipe over and over until it’s right. We once had 5 different batches of butterscotch pudding in the refrigerator (I think the final winner was your recipe!)

    1. Amanda

      I forgot to mention that I have a wacky cake recipe that was passed down from my grandmother. Her recipe does not call for coffee – but I have used that instead of water and it really does add to flavor. I usually throw in very small pinch of cinnamon and white pepper too. Sometimes I top with a Bailey’s spiked buttercream. Very simple to make. I’ve never tried it with olive oil, but I will now.

  114. Even though I made this on the weekend, I feel like this is the perfect weeknight cake. So quick and easy to pull together. I made it with raw cocoa powder; also may have added a little more coffee than 1.5 cups which made my batter a bit runny; it took about 7-8 minutes longer to bake but came out just fine. Light and fluffy the first day, denser and moister the second day, equally delicious both days. Today is Day 3 and I’m wishing I had a slice left over for a post-breakfast, pre-lunch snack. Alas, not a crumb remains.

  115. Julia

    I’ve made this twice already and loved it! First time with coffee in an 8″ pan, which is all that I have. I baked it for 40-45 mins and it came out great. The second time I just used water and it was also delicious. I only filled the pan 2/3 and made 4 little cupcakes. They were all a little more moist than the first time. I didn’t love the glaze on its own but it was perfect with the cake, though I also loved it without it.

  116. Margot

    This looks simply divine—just what I was looking for today. I just pulled the cake out of the oven, and it smells wonderful. Can’t wait to glaze it and dig in later tonight for an impromptu birthday celebration.

    Thanks, Deb, for keeping these brilliant recipes coming.

    Congrats on your new book. I pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble, and I’m counting the days until it arrives. :-)

  117. Andrea

    Excellent! Made it without the glaze. Nice crisp edges. It has the flavor intensity of a brownie but lighter in texture. Finished with a dusting of powdered sugar.

  118. I made this cake over the weekend and it was great. My boyfriend, who is usually very underwhelmed by my baking, now trusts me significantly more. Thanks for another fantastic recipe, Deb! Good luck on the tour!

    1. Also, I generally try to bake vegan, so it’s really awesome that you now have a vegan cake recipe! I know I can trust your recipes to be great, even though vegan baking can sometimes be sub-par. Thanks again!

  119. This is nearly identical to my go-to chocolate layer cake recipe; I got it from the Moosewood Book of Desserts (and made some tweaks along the way) a million years ago. Said cake is insanely popular with every single person I’ve made it for so now it’s the only chocolate cake I bake. I can’t wait to try an olive oil version!!

  120. Liz B.

    So easy and so good! I was disappointed when I made the “everyday chocolate cake” – THIS is what I was craving! The olive oil has just the right earthiness to accentuate the chocolate, and the glaze is perfect (I made it without corn syrup). One bowl, as promised. I slightly overbaked it and had to cut off the edges, and it still was perfect for company. Next time I’ll try coffee instead of water.

  121. Brittany

    So excited to get my book in the mail! Next time try to come to Edmonton, I promise it’s not the frozen tundra everyone thinks it is ;)

  122. Debbie

    I made this cake and it is delicious! I must say I was very skeptical that it might taste odd because of the olive oil, but it is fantastic! Honestly, it is one of the best and easiest cakes I have ever made. I used Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil because that’s what I had in the pantry and the cocoa powder I used was Valrhona which is a Dutch Process cocoa. The cake is a very dark chocolate color and moist and fabulous. The only thing I had an issue with was that my glaze never made enough to drip down the sides. It was more like a thick frosting and it took a lot to get it barely to the edges. I followed the directions exactly and did not over-microwave the ingredients so I do not know why mine didn’t flow like yours but it is delicious none the less and will become a regular at our house. Thanks for another awesome recipe!

  123. Mara

    Deb! I saw you in Atlanta at the book tour for your first book! Unfortunately, I no longer live in that area. Come to North Carolina, pretty please? I promise, you’ll love Raleigh if you decide to make a quick stop there!

  124. Kat

    Deb! I left work early, speedwalking the entire way to Union Square, fearing I would be too late and all of the wrist bands would be gone… only to be told by the (laughing) information desk attendant at Barnes and Noble that I had the wrong week. 😳
    I am very excited to do this all over again next week!

  125. Susan McHenry

    This cake was delicious! The only problem I had was with the glaze icing once it cooled. When I went to cut the cake, the glaze cracked and it made for messy serving. It still tasted great (it kind of reminded me of the icing on a Ding Dong or a Swiss Cake Roll–Yum!). Did I do something wrong, or is it supposed to be like this?

  126. Monica

    I’ve made “wacky cakes” before but this was the best recipe yet. Wii definitely be making again. Based on the comments I reduced the baking soda to 1 tsp and the coffee to 1 cup. I totally forgot the apple cider vinegar but it still turned out well. Can someone tell me what it’s for?

  127. Made this recipe last weekend with a little less amount of suggar. Very delicious! This seems to be a “death by chocolate” cake… Thanks for sharing! Greetings from Mrs Go
    :-)

  128. Made this on Sunday. Delish! Did not know difference in unsweetened cocoa powder, and cocoa powder…my store did not have just cocoa powder so I added a little sugar to the unsweetened for the frosting. Came out quite good. So moist and rich.

  129. I’m very excited that you’re coming to my town (Austin)! Quite jazzed about this cake, too, but I might have to add a wee bit of cinnamon…that would put it squarely into the Fall category for me!

  130. Larry Gordon

    Made this cake last night for a dinner party and it was devoured with not a crumb left on the plate! It was moist, fluffy, intensely chocolaty and delicious. My only addition was to add some chopped pistachios on the top for some color.
    The only part of the recipe that needed to be altered was the cooking time because when tested at 35 minutes the center was still wet. I added an additional 10 minutes and it was perfection. Bravo for another fantastic recipe.

  131. Tanya

    I made this last night with the full baking soda amount, but I added two eggs (trying to avoid crumbly cake). The cake turned out perfect despite the thin batter looking like chocolate water….no depression in the center, fully cooked at 40mins, and tasted wonderful. The only issue for me was that the glaze had a rancid (or maybe burned) smell to it which I suspect, based on comments, is due to the oil getting too hot in the microwave. Next time I’ll use double boiler to make glaze or maybe just use butter instead of the oil. Overall it’s another winner from Deb.

  132. Made this and it was delicious! Like some other commenters suggested, I dropped the baking soda to 1 t. and it was great – rose beautifully without a dip in the middle.

    The glaze was a bit stiff, though – I wasn’t able to get it to pour down the sides, and the next day it was hard to cut through. Next time, I would add more liquid.

  133. Melinda

    We have been making this for years. In our family, it is known as a wowie cake. It is made slightly different, but quite a keeper..

  134. Daniellallalla

    I’ve already made this cake three times and it was absolutely amazing every time! Everyone’s favorite cake now. I am not smart enough to do this myself, but I want to adapt it to make a vanilla version (for a two layered cake). Does anyone have any ideas how I can do this? Thank you!!

  135. Julia

    I’ve never made a chocolate cake before and my husband said this is his favorite! So thank you! I messed up on the glaze though I think I probably overheated it because it was not smooth like your picture – I’ll try again.

  136. Maite

    Just made it! It was great! I did not make the glaze, but it was super chocolatey and good. I left it for 32 mins. and when I checked it with the tester it came out clean. I was worried it would be overbaked but it was only a tiny bit over. I could tell it didn’t need the extra 2 minutes on the edges. But it’s great. Mine did not sink.

  137. Joanna

    Ok. Do not know what happened here. Followed recipe to the letter, except used a 9 in sloped pan (almost a pie dish, i guess) which just made the entire thing overflow — thankfully i had a foil lined baking sheet on the next rack down. But also, it took 40 min to cook and was still quite wet inside, and HUGE depression in the center. Additionally, I had same issue that others are having with the glaze—it immediately hardened/thickened while whisking and was utterly unspreadable. Any thoughts???

    Having said all this: the flavor and texture of the cake itself was DIVINE. I cannot wait to make this again, but I’m going to have to use a different pan, less baking soda, and figure out something else for the glaze. This was definitely one of the least attractive things I’ve made, but my god was it delicious…