A long, long time ago in a faraway land, a young mom with three children under four years old decided to bake a birthday cake and deliver it to her friend as a surprise. Thankfully, Joanna’s favorite cake was super simple to make (her family called it Wacky cake and mine called it Crazy cake). The happy mom hummed as she stirred the batter and busied herself feeding and dressing her wild monkeys while the cake baked. Immediately after pulling the special concoction out of the oven, she ran upstairs to get herself dressed in anticipation of surprising her friend at work. Upon entering the kitchen, it became apparent that a little monkey had reached up high above his head and stuck his little grubby fingers into the warm chocolate cake (didn’t take a detective to see who had chocolate smeared all over his smirky face). Taking a deep breath and quietly talking herself into a calm and peaceful place in her head, she quickly reconfigured her schedule and whipped up another cake (she really liked this friend!). Fast forward an hour and imagine said momma coming into the kitchen and finding the SECOND cooling cake with little finger prints pressed all over it.
Y’all should be impressed that Caleb is still alive. I managed cut around the damage and piece the two together to make something halfway decent looking. It was a zoo getting three little kids buckled up and to the hair salon for delivery, but we did it. Here’s the kicker to the story- later on my friend told me that someone in the salon commented on how grumpy I looked and how I needed to learn to smile. I didn’t find it too funny back then, but now it’s a humorous memory. And I learned to have grace for grumpy looking people. After all, you never know if someone just had two homemade cakes mangled by monkeys!
This is another treasured recipe passed on from my grandma Lydia. I was told it came from the depression era when eggs and milk were scarce and that is why the ingredient list is simple. Along with minimal ingredients, you can have this from scratch cake mixed up before the oven is even heated! It’s so easy you can even make two without crying about it:)
I like this cake because it’s mixed in one bowl, stirred by hand and we always have the ingredients on hand (we even managed to bake in bush West Africa for Isaac’s14th bday). Last week Isaac requested this as his birthday cake (again) – it feels like cheating to only spend five minutes on a birthday cake:) We sprinkle powdered sugar on top (cause that’s how my Momma made it), saving even more time and dishes on frosting.
WHISK TOGETHER IN A BOWL:
3 cups flour (whole wheat and spelt work as well)
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
THEN BRIEFLY STIR IN:
3/4 cup oil (we use coconut)
2 tsp vinegar
2 cups water
Pour into a greased 9×13 cake pan
Bake for 35 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean) at 350 degrees.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and carefully protect the finished product from monkeys