Monday, October 27, 2008

Wacky {Cup}Cakes for Halloween

Wacky {Cup}Cakes - Halloween styleThis was the first cake I learned how to make when I was a kid, and one probably many of you did too: Wacky Cake. The recipe card I have is dated 1948, so it's a tried and true recipe that is made and loved by kids.

In fact, if you google "Wacky Cake" you can find out that it's a cake from the Great Depression when eggs and butter were rationed.

Recipe Card for Wacky CakeWhisk Twist
To change it up, I baked them in Halloween cookie cutters that I lined with foil and sprayed. I only filled them three-quarters full, and baked them a little less than the cake version. They popped out of the form perfectly.

I have always had trouble decorating cakes (I wish I were an artist), so when I stumbled across this post by Astrid from La Cerise about using tracing paper or parchment paper and chocolate, I knew I wanted to try it. As it turns out, this has also been done with buttercream. Check out this cake at Sweetmunkies and this cake at

I traced the outline of the cookie cutter (next time I'll trace the inside of the cookie cutter!) onto parchment paper. Then, I filled in the outline with melted chocolate using a piping bag (sandwich ziploc bag). After freezing the chocolate, I peeled it off the parchment paper and placed the design on top of the cake shapes.


Makes 1 8x8 pan or 9 cupcakes-in-cookie-cutters

Ingredients for Wacky CakeCake:
1 ½ cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup water

4 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons white chocolate chips

Here are the directions to make it in an 8x8 baking pan.

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt in a baking pan. Make three holes. In one hole, add the oil. In another, add the vinegar. In the last, add the vanilla. Over all, pour water and mix until blended.

Bake for 30 minutes (20-25 for the cupcake-in-cookie-cutter version).

For the frosting: Melt some semi-sweet chocolate chips in a double-boiler or in the microwave. In a separate bowl, melt some white chocolate chips in a double-boiler or in the microwave. Fill two piping bags with each of the chocolates. Pipe the chocolate onto a tracing of the cookie cutter or right onto the cupcake.

Wacky {Cup}Cakes - Halloween styleTasting Notes
I made these after my Tuesdays with Dorie cake (coming up tomorrow) and side-by-side comparisons were interesting. The kids preferred the Wacky {Cup}Cake taste to the more chocolatey taste of Dorie's Chocolate-Chocolate Cupcake. The Wacky Cake isn't as sweet or as chocolatey, so I was surprised that the kids liked this one better. However, without the side-by-side comparison, both cakes are delicious.

If you liked this, you might like my Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins baked in cookie cutters too.

Wacky {Cup}Cakes for Halloween

This was the first cake I learned how to make ...

See Wacky {Cup}Cakes for Halloween on Key Ingredient.

Happy Halloween!


natalia said...

I love your hallowen treats !! I had never heard of this wacky cake I'll have to try it !

Stef said...

Love the idea of baking in cookie cutters! I've never heard of that before.

Alicia said...

great idea! they look very cute. A fun alternative to halloween cookies!

CB said...

How fun is that?!! I totally wanna try it now. I can't wait to see your cupcakes tomorrow!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Gosh you're so smart! I love your ideas!

Audrey said...

I found the same recipe in one of the Moosewood cookbooks and only heard the (older) name "wacky cake"'s become (so far, and even after Dorie) my favorite chocolate cake recipe.

Anonymous said...

Super cute! I'm a fan.

Anonymous said...

I voted for you :) Cute idea. I also posted about Halloween Cupcakes on Nibbles of Tidbits.

Thanks, Shelly

Maggie said...

I love the idea of baking in cookie cutters! I have a bunch of large dinosaur cutters that I have to try this with.

I started making a version of wacky cake because of my son's allergies but my whole family prefers it to any other chocolate cake recipe.

Anonymous said...

These are -adorable-, and totally vegan, too! (as long as you use non-dairy white chocolate, of course) I really love the idea.

Megan said...

Great tip to bake them in the cookie cutters. I would of never thought of that. :)

Anonymous said...

these are so cute!

dharmagirl said...

What fun! This recipe is similar to my standard chocolate cake recipe from the Moosewood Cookbooks--it's so fast *and* economical. I love the shapes!

Veronica said...

Cute treats! Too bad Reynolds doesn't make those ghost shaped foil cup cake holders anymore.

Anonymous said...

This is brilliant - cookie cutters. What a great idea!

Cathy said...

What a great idea to bake the little cakes into cookie cutters! They are so fun -- my kids will love these! I have the Halloween cookie cutters sitting on my counter -- these will be a big treat!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

What fun Halloween cakes! I just love the cat of course. Think I'll try the recipe for Wacky Cake.

Anonymous said...

those cupcakes are really tempting!!Perfect for trick or treat! and the photography is amazing. although it looks like my blood sugar is gonna sky rocket, id still have bite of these.. great work.

Prudy said...

What a great tip about baking in the cookie cutters. I never knew! Your cupcakes are just so adorable!

Unknown said...

would never thought of using a glove or cookie cutters, so original :o)

Susie Homemaker said...

You need to take a vacation. Pronto. Let that over-creative brain mellow out a bit.
(great job, aaaaaghhhiinnn)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

How clever of you.....your kids are very fortunate to have a Mama that makes such yumminess.

I have never heard of or had "wacky" cake. The name alone makes me smile, so I can imagine the happiness after it's tasted! Thanks for sharing!

Astrid said...

Lovely looking Halloween cupcakes! And great idea to bake them in cookie cutters. I wonder whether you could also bake a whole sheet cake and use the cutters to cut the muffins out? Though I guess there would be a lot of waste.

Shari said...

natalia - It's so quick and easy to make. Hope you give it a try.

stef - It worked great!

alicia - Now you can use your cookie cutters more often.

cb - Let me know if you give it a try.

clumbsy cookie - Thanks!

audrey - I checked my two Moosewood cookbooks, but I couldn't find it. Let me know which cookbook it's in. I'd be interested to see it!

jenny - Great!

shelly borrell - Thanks for voting for me!!

maggie - It is a delicious chocolate cake.

hannah - Love to know that it's vegan too.

megan - Thanks!

karen - Thanks for stopping by!

dharmagirl - Which Moosewood cookbook? I'd love to know since I have two of their cookbooks.

veronica - I have their star ones, but I don't remember the ghost ones.

kirsten - Thanks!

cathy - Let me know how it goes!

sherry trifle - lovely cats - Of course you'd love the cat! ;)

sparco - Blood sugar is magical at this time of year!

prudy - Thanks!

julesb - You're so sweet!

susie homemaker - I'd love a vacation, but I'm having too much fun!

ingrid - It is a funny name for a cake!

astrid - I'm sure you could cut them out of the sheet cake!

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas! I'm going to have to link to you since I know nothing about baking!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

These are too cute!

Coffee and Vanilla said...

Great idea to use cookie cutters as cupcake moulds ;)