Cooking is an exciting and practical way to expose kids to STEM. STEM refers to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math and is a term used often when discussing education or careers. Children won’t even know they are learning when baking up some fun with this Wacky Cake Recipe and printable recipe card with fun math skills!

wacky cake recipe

If you are making this cake for a birthday, you might love these free printable birthday cards.

In order to successfully bake, it is important to be able to work with fractions as recipes require the ability to work with measurement. The kitchen doubles as a lab where kids can learn weights, measures, and addition as well as watch chemical reactions happen in real time.

Baking offers a fun, hands-on activity that can provide your kids with the STEM skills they need. The earlier we expose our kids to STEM education, the better we can set our children up for success in advanced classes and in fast-growing, high-paying careers. Check out this fun recipe to start exposing your kids to a fun math activity!

Cool Math Cooking Games

Have children fill in the amounts for each ingredient using the pictures as a reference. They will be practicing fractions and addition while writing down the measurements for each ingredient. You can download the wacky cake recipe card and print it for your use.

cool math cooking games

How to make Wacky Cake Recipe

Wacky Cake or sometimes called Crazy Cake is a recipe that became popular during the depression when expensive ingredients like eggs and milk were scarce.  This cake is perfect for those with dairy and egg allergies.  Use gluten-free flour to make it gluten free and even more allergy friendly.

Begin by gathering all the wacky cake ingredients. Measure flour and all dry ingredients.


Spoon flour into measuring cups instead of scooping. Scooping flour will pack the flour in the measuring cup and give more flour than needed. Use a knife to draw across the measuring cup to make a level measure.


Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl.  Sifting will remove any large clumps and will help mix ingredients together.


Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.


Pour all wet ingredients into the well.


Stir the ingredients together.  Notice that the vinegar and baking soda will bubble.  A chemical reaction has occurred! Combining the vinegar (an acid) with the baking soda (a base) results in an entirely new substance called carbon dioxide. This will help our wacky cake rise. It is also acting as a substitute for our eggs.

teaching kids math with cooking

The batter will be thin. Divide the batter in half and put it into two 8 or 9-inch cake greased cake pans.  Pans can be lined by cutting a circle from parchment paper.  Oil the pan and the parchment paper.


Bake the cakes for about 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Stick a toothpick in the middle of the cake to see if it is done.  If the toothpick comes out clean it is done. This cake can also be made in a 9 X 13 rectangle cake pan.  The cake will need to bake longer. Start checking for doneness at 40 minutes. Experimenting with cake sizes and baking times is another fun way to add math into the mix!


Once the cake is completely cooled it is time for frosting! This frosting uses butter so is not dairy-free.  Substitute butter flavor shortening and dairy-free chocolate chips or use this recipe.

Dairy-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup dairy-free spread
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract

Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together until creamy with an electric mixer.

Fudgy Frosting Recipe

Print and fill out the recipe card using pictures. Measure ingredients into a large bowl.

fudgy frosting printable recipe card

Mix frosting ingredients for a couple of minutes until the frosting is light and fluffy.  Change consistency by adding powdered sugar to make a stiffer frosting and water or milk to make a thinner frosting.


Place frosting on one of the cake layers. Place a layer on top. Frost the cake. Strips of wax or parchment paper placed under the edge of the bottom layer of cake will keep the cake stand clean while frosting.


Cake can easily be frosted with a knife. At our home we love to make it fancy with a pastry tip.  Fill about 1 1/2 cups frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a 1M tip.


Of course, add sprinkles!


This is a moist delicious cake with a fudgy frosting.


The best part though is that your child practiced math and science skills the whole time with tasty results!

wacky cake recipe

Wacky Cake

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes


Wacky Cake Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold water

Fudgy Frosting Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 cups unsalted butter (2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter) room temperature
  • 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cups light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate chips melted and cooled


Wacky Cake Instructions

  • Before starting preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 2 – 8 or nine inch cake pans with cooking spray.
  • Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add in the wet ingredients, and stir with a spoon until it's combined. You might see the vinegar bubble with the baking soda. Don't worry it is supposed to do that. The batter will be thin, but that's normal.
  • Pour batter into two 9-inch round cake pans that have been greased. (A 9 X 13-inch cake pan will also work. Make sure it is greased and you will need to increase the baking time to about 40 minutes.)
  • Bake the two filled round cake pans at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.

Fudgy Frosting Instructions

  • Cream butter with an electric mixer. Now you're ready to frost your cake. YUM
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Mix well. A damp kitchen towel placed over your mixer will help contain the dry ingredients.
  • Once ingredients are mixed add corn syrup and vanilla. Mix well.
  • Add melted chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Now you're ready to frost your cake. Yum!


If you have dairy allergies or prefer dairy-free frosting this recipe is another frosting option for you.
Dairy-Free Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup dairy-free spread
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sift together dry ingredients. Mix together until creamy with an electric mixer.



Serving: 82g | Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 71g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 9mg | Sodium: 375mg | Potassium: 130mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2mg
Servings: 16 slices
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Cindy Hopper

Cooking is Science!

I would love to keep you fully stocked with creative ideas, yummy recipes, fun crafts, and loads of free printables. Subscribe to Skip to my Lou to get new ideas delivered to your inbox. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram for all my latest updates.

About Cindy Hopper

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  1. Cannot find the recipe with the measurements. Only blank recipe card. Can you please e-mail it to me?

  2. Pauline, it is 3/4 cup. I am working on getting an actual recipe card to make it easier. So sorry for the confusion.

  3. CAKE look good but the amount of vegetabe oil is 3 cups or half I don;t get it put it more clearly thank you

  4. Hi Linda, there is a card there for the fudgy frosting. I will try to get a real recipe card added to the post.

  5. You are the best. This is a wonderful idea and such a yummy recipe. Yaeee some fun family time. Thank you for giving us great recipes, ideas, and amazing Printables.

  6. Looks good and sure taste good to. What are the amounts for the Fudgy frosting? Think will make for hubby’s birthday in couple weeks. Thanks

  7. What a great idea! This can help keep the kids be preoccupied while learning and being creative at the same time.

  8. This is so great. I love that we can combine cooking and learning. I’ve been looking for more things to do with my kiddos since they are out of school. Thanks!

  9. My daughter loves to help in the kitchen, so this was perfect for her to get in on. We had fun with the recipe card and then we got to eat this yummy cake! Gummy bears are next on the list!

  10. This not only looks delicious but I love that I can help kids learn to use math in such a hands-on way. Really so fabulous.

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