Crazy Vanilla Cupcakes with Cocoa Frosting


Can you bake a cupcake without breaking eggs? Of course you can. People in the Great Depression did it all the time.

An egg shortage in the U.S. has commercial bakers scrambling (I couldn’t resist) for solutions in the wake of a massive outbreak of avian flu. I read about this earlier today, and it made me think of crazy cake, a Depression-era recipe that required absolutely no dairy because of rationing.

I’ve made crazy chocolate cupcakes before, and found a recipe for a vanilla version at Sweet Little Bluebird. Because I didn’t know how the cupcakes would turn outĀ flavor-wise, I chose to pair them with a rich cocoa frosting in case they needed a bit of a flavor boost. I’m glad I did so; the cupcake flavor leaves a bit to be desired for me, but I didn’t want to stray too far from the original recipe since this was my first crack (yes, another egg pun!) at it. Next time, I’ll add more vanilla and hope that it doesn’t affect the stability of the batter.

Crazy Vanilla Cupcakes


  • 1 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; make three wells for wet ingredients.

Add vinegar to the first well, vanilla to the second well, and vegetable oil to the third well. Add water and mix until smooth.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop batter into prepared cupcake wells.

Bake for 18-2o minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and remove cupcakes from pan immediately, cooling completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Cocoa Frosting (adapted from my previous recipe to yield a fluffier texture)


  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


In a small bowl, combine melted butter and cocoa powder, whisking until smooth. Place mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon milk and beat until very well-combined, scraping the sides of the bowl well a few times. Add remaining powdered sugar and 1 more tablespoon milk and beat for about 1 minute; add vanilla and beat 1 minute more, then add final tablespoon of milk and beat for 2 minutes, until lighter in color and fluffy.

Fit a piping bag with a large star tip; pipe frosting onto cupcakes.