How to Make Kathy P's Allergy-Friendly Wacky Cake

This is day two of KFA's Allergy-Friendly Cake Week! Today's guest blogger is Laura Giletti, one of our Food & Cooking support team leaders.

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How to Make Kathy P's Allergy-Friendly Wacky Cake

 by Laura Giletti

Wacky cake is a wonderful thing. It's a very forgiving recipe. It can be made into a wide variety of flavors, and can be tailored to a broad range of allergy restrictions. Another advantage is you can make it into cupcakes, or a layer cake, or fill a bundt pan, or a pan shaped like your child's favorite TV character.

Today I am making vanilla wacky cake cupcakes. This base recipe can be made into chocolate, or spice cake, or into lemon or orange, check the bottom of the recipe under “substitutions” for how to make these other flavors.

What do you need to make Wacky Cake?

Wacky Cake 1

You need 1 ½ cups of flour.  I used regular all-purpose flour but you can use gluten-free flour blends with xanthan gum too. Please note that when baking a gluten-free Wacky Cake you will need 1 ¾ cups of gluten-free flour. If your gluten-free blend does not have xanthan gum or guar gum you will need to add one teaspoon of xanthan gum. I happen to like the King Arthur brand of gluten-free products. 

Gluten-Free Flours
When it comes to gluten-free baking some people prefer to make their own mix, and others like the convenience of using one that comes already prepared. If you are using one that is already prepared you need to know if it already has xanthan gum or guar gum. Xanthan and guar gums imitate the structure that gluten brings to baked good, without it you run the risk of having a very dense or a very crumbly result.

When it comes to selecting either a gluten-free blend or ingredients to make your own blend, be sure to look for warnings about possible cross contamination. Because grains are milled dry they become airborne quite easily and so the risk of contamination from one item to another is a real risk and these warnings should be taken seriously.

Do keep in mind that “may contain” warnings are optional so just because a product doesn't say “may contain” doesn't mean it is free from that food. Also, just because a company say “may contain dairy” doesn't mean that it is free from other allergens, it just means that they are particularly concerned about that one allergen.



Wacky Cake 2

 Note: this photo is outdated and Miss Roben's is no longer in business.

You also need one cup of sugar, one teaspoon of baking soda and a half teaspoon of salt. Baking soda is a mineral and is generally safe for most folks.  A lot of people get it confused with baking powder and for some people there can be allergy concerns with baking powder as it has starch in it—often corn starch so that’s a concern for those who need to avoid corn. Some salt has corn starch in it to keep it from clumping; you’d need to read your ingredients label if that’s a concern for you.

Wacky Cake 3

Whisk the dry ingredients together and then stir in the wet stuff.  Start with one tablespoon of vinegar.  What type of vinegar?  Any type that is safe for you.  I used plain white vinegar today.  The vinegar is acid to make the baking soda poof up.  Then you need five tablespoons of oil.  What kind of oil?  Again, any type that is safe for you.  I wouldn't waste an expensive olive oil here; I use the ordinary canola that I keep on hand for frying.  You also need one teaspoon of vanilla.  Okay, I cheat, I use a tablespoon but that’s because I love vanilla flavoring so much.  Last you need one cup of water.  I won’t bother to let you know that ordinary tap water is fine here.  I think you know that.

Wacky Cake 4

 While my Able Assistant and Chief Bowl Licker stirs, I will point out that you want to mix by hand and don’t get too enthusiastic about your stirring.  A lot of box mixes have you stir the batter for a minute or two, and that is what we do not want to do here.  Over-mixing will have the baking soda meet up with the vinegar too quickly, they’ll make bubbles before going in the oven and then the cake will come out flat.  Just stir enough to mix together but not long enough for the Bowl Lickers to become impatient.

Wacky Cake 5

When I make cupcakes I like to transfer the batter to a measuring cup with a spout.  I find it’s easier for me to pour into the cups and not onto the countertop.  I like to use cupcake papers because not only are they easy but putting the papers into the muffin tins is an easy job to delegate.  If you do not use cupcake papers or if you are making a layer cake the pans should be greased and floured.  Fill the muffin cups about half way and then put into a pre-heated 350 degree oven. 

Wacky Cake 6

How do you know if a wacky cake is done?  A single layer is done in about 35 minutes; cupcakes are done in about 20 minutes.  I know my cake is about done when I start to smell the delicious smell of cake!  Let the cake cool before taking out of the pan.  If you are making a gluten-free cake you want to let it cool down quite a bit so it sets up properly, a cake made with regular flour can be turned out in about 10-15 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely before frosting.

Wacky Cake 7

 

Next, Laura teaches us how to make Vanilla Silk Frosting and how to decorate cupcakes with rosettes.

*The information shared here is for your convenience only, it is not an endorsement or guarantee of any product's safety. Please read all ingredient labels and contact manufacturers if needed to confirm the safety of products for your child. 

 

Laura has been a member of Kids With Food Allergies Foundation since 2005 and has volunteered to help us with our community and statistics for the past several years. She is a leader in our Food and Cooking support team.  She is the mother of 2 young girls and is an avid cook and baker.  

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Originally Posted by Kids With Food Allergies:

Lynn used the Kathy P Wacky Cake recipe to make this chocolate raspberry heart-shaped cake:
What type of cocoa powder does everyone use?

chocolate-heart

She shared that to make the heart shape, she used an 8 inch square pan + 8 inch round pan. Cut round cake in half and put on 2 sides of the square cake.

 

Here is a link to Chocolate Silk Frosting and Vanilla Silk Frosting.  There are ways to make these recipes free of the top 8 allergens, so if you have questions, please let us know!  (For example, there are soy-free shortenings, and dairy- and soy-free margarines.)

 

Originally Posted by SandyGirl:
 

Dear Lynn,

Do you use the 1 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (as suggested above) or just the 1 1/2 cups?  I am dealing with high altitude in Albuquerque, NM.  How much xanthan gum do you tend to use in your recipes?  It's all a delicate balance!  I've been dealing with this for the last 15 years due to my son who is allergic to milk, wheat, egg, and nuts.  Thanks.

 

Oh gosh - I don't have any experience with gluten-free baking.

 

My guess is to follow the instructions for making gluten free cake as they're written and to only do the high altitude adjustments that I noted above.

 

Those adjustments give a bit less "lift" (reduce baking soda) and the slightly higher temp allows the cake to start "setting up" before the lift from the baking soda + vinegar runs out. 

 

Please try and let us know how it goes??

 

Perhaps make a half-batch of cupcakes as tests?

 

Originally Posted by LSK:

We love Wacky Cake! 

 

A note from living at high altitude ... my wacky cake cupcakes were delicious but a bit flat and even sunken, so I dug out my cookbooks to read up on baking at high altitude, and based on that info made the following adjustments to the recipe:

1) reduced the baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon
2) reduced the sugar by a couple tablespoons
3) increased the baking temperature to 375 degrees

4) reduced the baking time a couple minutes (cupcakes I do about 18 min)

 

After making those small adjustments, I have beautiful cupcakes every time!

Dear Lynn,

Do you use the 1 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend (as suggested above) or just the 1 1/2 cups?  I am dealing with high altitude in Albuquerque, NM.  How much xanthan gum do you tend to use in your recipes?  It's all a delicate balance!  I've been dealing with this for the last 15 years due to my son who is allergic to milk, wheat, egg, and nuts.  Thanks.

Lynn used the Kathy P Wacky Cake recipe to make this chocolate raspberry heart-shaped cake:


chocolate-heart

She shared that to make the heart shape, she used an 8 inch square pan + 8 inch round pan. Cut round cake in half and put on 2 sides of the square cake.

 

Here is a link to Chocolate Silk Frosting and Vanilla Silk Frosting.  There are ways to make these recipes free of the top 8 allergens, so if you have questions, please let us know!  (For example, there are soy-free shortenings, and dairy- and soy-free margarines.)

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Thanks everyone!!! I'm out of orange juice (!), so I'll go with the lemon!
 
Originally Posted by melkorey:

I use lemon all the time. It works just fine and doesn't affect the chocolate flavor.

 

I've found that lemon juice seems to make the cake rise the best out of all the acids.

You really just need any acid....what about some orange juice??  Orange goes well w/ chocolate, but I don't think it will actually change the taste.  I tried to make a chocolate orange one time and used the full cup of OJ and it was only a hint of flavor.

I've been making Wacky cake for years, and my family loves it....as cakes, cupcakes, etc. I need to make one tomorrow for my dad's birthday, but my mom is allergic to all vinegars! (I usually use cider vinegar in it.) If I use lemon juice (a common substitute for vinegar), will it adversely affect the taste of chocolate wacky cake? Is there something else I can use?

Thanks!!

We love Wacky Cake! 

 

A note from living at high altitude ... my wacky cake cupcakes were delicious but a bit flat and even sunken, so I dug out my cookbooks to read up on baking at high altitude, and based on that info made the following adjustments to the recipe:

1) reduced the baking soda to 3/4 teaspoon
2) reduced the sugar by a couple tablespoons
3) increased the baking temperature to 375 degrees

4) reduced the baking time a couple minutes (cupcakes I do about 18 min)

 

After making those small adjustments, I have beautiful cupcakes every time!

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