Chocolate Crazy Cake–and an EXCITING announcement!!

I know that I’ve been gone for forever, but before I apologize, I have BIG NEWS to share with all of you that I think you’ll love…


It’s hard to even begin describing these crazy past three months. Back in February, I still had a full chapter, an introduction, and a conclusion to write–not to mention tons of revisions to wrap up and a lot of theoretical reframing to slough through. (In other words: LOTS to do!) Days were spent hunkering down in my woman-cave, a bowl of half-eaten instant ramen on one side and a steaming pit of deep despair on the other. My friends and fam–bless their souls–were absolute troopers during these whirlwind months, bringing the party to me when I couldn’t go out on a Friday night and surprising me by stocking my pantry with essentials whenever I forgot to eat. I could go on and on here about how these amazing folks saved my sanity, but I’m dedicating an entire post to that later (so stay tuned!).

Speaking of sanity, it has been in short supply for the past six years a few months now, because a lot has been happening apart from pursuing this prodigal PhD! Since February, I have:

  • Been to two weddings,
  • Baked a wedding cake,
  • Started seeing someone new,
  • Done live social media coverage for the second time at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards,
  • Completed my first sprint triathlon,
  • Hosted our first ever murder mystery party,
  • Seen six musicals/plays (The LionAmelie, Fun HomeFinding NeverlandBook of MormonIcebergs),
  • Stopped seeing someone,
  • Been to more grad bar events than I can count,
  • Traveled to Portland,
  • Hiked behind the Hollywood sign,
  • Attended my first-ever Meetup, and
  • Read a book for fun (omg it’s been SO long…the book is Frederick Crews’s The Pooh Perplex!).

With so much happening, it’s no wonder that the first recipe that I decided to whip up the moment I finished was this amazing chocolate crazy cake–which, it turns out, is the perfect way to celebrate the end of one crazy ride!

Crazy Chocolate Cake 11--052917 Crazy Chocolate Cake 8--052917

This cake gets its name from the fact that its ingredient list is, well, just a little bit crazy…but in a great way! It contains no eggs and no butter: just a vegan-friendly ingredient list and five minutes of prep in a single bowl. A version of this became wildly popular during the Great Depression, when rations were low and folks had to make do in their kitchen with what they had laying around. A crazy easy cake for crazy times!

Well, when I emerged from my hidey-hole last Friday, I realized that I had next to nothing left in my fridge except a wilted stalk of celery and a jug of soy milk. Never one to be deterred by a lack of resources, however–I am still a starving grad student, after all!–I quickly gathered my rations and decided to make this three-layer chocolate crazy cake. I also decided to throw in my own favorite chocolate cream cheese frosting, which is tangy, rich, and intensely satisfying (trust me, you definitely don’t want to skimp on it!). I slathered it generously in between my cake layers, crumbled some Oreos over the top, and bam! Instant celebration mode.

And damn good thing, too–because you bet this crazy gal is going to be doing some crazy celebrating in the coming weeks.

Cheers, y’all! It’s good to be back.

Crazy Chocolate Cake 1--052917

Crazy Chocolate Cake 6--052917



Chocolate Crazy Cake

Chocolate Crazy Cake

Yield: One 3-layer 8-inch cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This chocolate crazy cake gets its name from its absurdly simple list of ingredients: no butter or eggs needed in this vegan-friendly recipe! Pair this decadent cake with a tangy, rich chocolatey cream cheese frosting for the perfect celebratory dessert.


For the cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup freshly brewed coffee (may sub warm water)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar

For the chocolate cream cheese frosting:

  • - 1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, room temperature
  • - 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • - 2 cups powdered sugar
  • - 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease three 8-inch round springform pans, then line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Lightly grease paper and set pans aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Add coffee, vanilla, oil, and vinegar. Mix until no lumps remain.
  3. Divide batter evenly between three prepared pans and bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center of each cake comes out mostly clean, with moist crumbs clinging to it. Allow cakes to cool completely before transferring to a plate.
  4. Cover each cake layer tightly with cling wrap and place in freezer for at least two hours before assembling cake.

For the chocolate cream cheese frosting:

  1. - Beat together cream cheese and butter until completely smooth.
  2. - Add in powdered sugar, half a cup at a time, until completely incorporated.
  3. - Place chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 20-second intervals, stopping between each to stir chocolate vigorously. Continue until chocolate is melted and smooth.
  4. - Dump melted chocolate into cream cheese mixture. Beat until smooth.

For assembly:

  1. - Remove cake layers from freezer and carefully remove cling wrap and parchment paper. Place first layer onto an 8-inch cake round, then spread 1/4 frosting evenly across the top. Top with second cake layer, then frost and repeat with third layer. Use remaining frosting to ice the entire cake.
  2. - Slice, serve, and celebrate!



11 Replies to “Chocolate Crazy Cake–and an EXCITING announcement!!”

  1. Congrats! You must be *delighted* that’s over. (Understatement of the year!) Love the cake, and it’s perfect — crazy cake for your last crazy few months. Good to see you back, BTW.

  2. Congratulations! Wow, you’ve been busy. ^_^

    Have you tried making a vegan version of this icing? Tofutti’s Better Than Cream Cheese would probably make a good substitute. You might even want to try putting some silken tofu and melted chocolate chips in a food processor and then chilling to set.

  3. Colin A. Noel-Johnson says: Reply

    Congratulations on your phd! The cake sounds good, I’m going to save this.

  4. Congratulations, Ala!!! I’m so thrilled for you. No matter how long between posts, they’re always worth waiting for. And I’m loving the fabulous celebratory cake you shared!!! xoxo

  5. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I know how much work this is and so so happy for you!!! What a great accomplishment and love that you kept living 🙂 This cake is worthy of the celebration!

  6. ALA!!! CONGRATS!!! What an amazing, amazing list – you are incredible, girl! You deserve every bite of that glorious cake! xo

  7. Ala, congratulations!! You look very happy on that photo! You are so cute! And the cake looks divine! 😀

  8. Congratulations, Ala – that is awesome news!!! This cake looks like a great way to celebrate. I also love seeing musicals. I’ve seen Fun Home and Book of Mormon (twice!). Did you like Finding Neverland? I was thinking of seeing it when it tours here.

  9. Ooh! This cake looks incredible!

  10. GURL… you are AMAZING!!! Congrats on completing your PhD, I legit squealed with delight reading that. As for ALL the other things you’ve been up to, how do you even fit everything in. Im exhausted reading it. Haha.

    What did you find on your hike up behind the Hollywood? Yay to seeing someone, boo to not seeing someone. What did the wedding cake look like when it was done? Sprint triathlon… I am not familiar with these words. And you read a book for fun, your year thus far has been ace.

    Sending you a giant hug from the sunshiny Whitsundays in Australia. xo

  11. Ala, congratulations!! You look very happy! 🙂 And finally, a vegan-friendly recipe, what I’d like to try. It looks stunning and yummy! Thank you for the recipe!

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