It was the summer of ‘72, the year of Bell Bottom jeans and “American Pie.” My parents were young 20-somethings, just married, and renting their first one-bedroom apartment in California. Dad was a Naval Officer and Mom, a teacher. They were at the beginning of their journey as newly-weds, living on a budget, scant on space, but rich in love.
A few months after tying the knot, my parents attended a dinner party where the host served chocolate Krazy Cake for dessert. Krazy Cake, also called War Cake gets its name from a unique Vegan batter that excludes eggs, milk, and butter. Instead the recipe calls for vinegar, water, and oil, which were less expensive ingredients during wartime. When combined with cocoa powder, sugar, and salt, the unique mixture creates a rich dark chocolate flavor and pound cake-like texture. And the finished product is “krazy” delicious. After the party, my mom took the recipe home and re-made it for my Dad, adding her own creative spin.
Navy life sent my parents, siblings, and me, all over the globe from California to Rhode Island, Hawaii to Maryland, New York to Idaho, Virginia to South Carolina, to Florida, and so on. Somewhere along the travels, the Krazy Cake recipe disappeared…lost and buried in the boxes.
A few months ago, my Aunt was going through an old recipe box that belonged to my Granny Auds. At the bottom of the stack of papers in hand-written cursive was the recipe for “Kathleen[’s]… Krazy Cake.” My Aunt copied it and sent it to me just in time for Dad’s birthday. To recreate the cake with a modern twist, we paired the Krazy Cake recipe from 1972 with the Momofuku Milk Bar assembly method. Make and Taste Owner, Nicole recently introduced me to this style of cake, which was a fun way to modernize an old classic. We also added a splash of coffee to the batter to enhance the chocolate flavor. Forty-five years later, the Krazy cake was just as impressive as the original, good enough to outshine all the trendy new chocolate cake recipes on the market.
Krazy Cake, much like my parents’ devotion to one another, transcends time. Both my parents and the recipe have traveled to different homes through wars and change, while always maintaining the same simple formula for success: a touch of sugar to balance the salt, a splash of water to support the oil, and a dash of vanilla to mellow out the tartness of the vinegar. It’s a perfect marriage of ingredients. Mom and Dad have since upgraded from that little California apartment to a house with more space. To manage their occasional clash of opinions, along with the oil and water, they keep a pantry full of patience with a lifetime’s worth of love. It’s a recipe they have handed down to us…strong enough to guide us through the next forty-five years.
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