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Screwball Cake with Glaze Frosting

If you’re looking for the world’s simplest chocolate cake, this is the recipe for you! It comes together in no time at all, and is completely egg and milk free! 

What is a Screwball Cake? 

This was the question on my mind as I opened the email from my friend, Joyce. I pictured some kind of a crazy colored cake that kids would love. 

What I found was a simple chocolate cake recipe that seemed to go against the rules of baking I had learned. 

This “from scratch” recipes seemed to be missing ingredients. Eggs, for instance. And milk. Weird, right? Turns out, it’s the lack of those ingredients that gives this cake its fun name. 

I couldn’t imagine water, flour, sugar, cocoa powder and a couple of other simple ingredients would be enough to make a delicious cake. 

(And y’all, I hate to brag, but I’ve already got three of the world’s most delicious chocolate cake recipe on this blog already—my Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake, my Ultimate Chocolate Cake, and my Texas Sheet Cake

Simple is Good! 

What made this one intriguing was its simplicity. I looked over the “how to” section of the recipe and thought, “Okay, I could whip this one up right here, right now.” I knew I had the ingredients on hand, and I even had the time. (I’m home today, working on a new book project.) 

So, I headed to the kitchen to whip up this easy-breezy chocolate cake. And y’all. . .I’m so glad I did! I can see why this cake is so popular. It’s easy! You basically throw everything together in a bowl, mix it up, then bake it up. 

Yep. That’s about it! And that amazing flavor! If you’re a chocolate lover you’re going to adore this cake.

So, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to make this delicious cake.

Screwball Cake Ingredients

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

You will find a full printable recipe card for this yummy chocolate cake mix at the bottom of this post but here’s a quick look at what you’ll need to make this cake. These are simple ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen right now.

For the Cake:

  • granulated sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • baking soda
  • sifted flour
  • vanilla extract
  • vegetable oil
  • cold water
  • salt
  • white vinegar

For the Glaze:

  • room temperature butter or margarine
  • powdered sugar
  • vanilla extract
  • splash of hot water for mixing

How to Make Screwball Bake

According to my friend who gave me this recipe, it’s highly requested for all of their birthday parties. And I can see why. It’s simple to make. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Prep your baking pan(s). My friend suggested a 9×13-inch cake pan but I wanted to make two 8-inch rounds. If you like, you can add parchment paper rounds in the bottoms of the pans.

Measure out all of your ingredients. 

Place all of your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk together. 

Pour water and other wet ingredients into the large bowl and mix on low speed until it all comes together. 

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

That’s it! Talk about simple! Now pour into the two prepared pans.

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

You’ll have a liquidy batter. I wasn’t sure, as I looked at it, how it could bake up okay. . .but it did!

Place in the preheated oven. I checked on mine at the 35-minute mark and saw that the cakes were getting close but needed a few more minutes. 

In total, they baked for 40 minutes. You might need to adjust the baking time, depending on the pan you choose. 

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Joyce said this is also good in a bundt pan and I know those usually take a little longer. You can use this recipe for cupcakes. They need to bake for 20 – 25 minutes.

Make the Glaze

While cake is baking, make your glaze. 

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Place room temperature butter or margarine into a bowl. Add powdered sugar and mix together with a fork until it comes together. To thin, add a splash or two of hot water. You want something a little thicker than honey. (Really, the consistency is your preference. I needed something thick enough to use between my cake layers but still thin enough to run down the sides of the cake.) 

Bring it Together

When cakes have baked, remove them from the oven and cool on a wire rack. 

Turn one cake out onto a serving platter. Add glaze. 

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Add second cake. Add more glaze, allowing it to dribble down the sides. (You can see that my glaze was a little too watery. Oops!)

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

I sprinkled chocolate chips on top.

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Slice and serve!

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Store leftovers in refrigerator in an airtight container.

What to Expect from this Cake

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

Whelp, I can now add “Screwball” cake to my list of favorites. Talk about a big hit! This is a rich, moist chocolate cake that flies in the face of more complicated cakes. This one’s going in my own personal cookbook!

I thought it was going to be some sort of wacky cake–with a weird color or texture–but it’s not. It’s just a delicious chocolate cake, packed full of flavor. (Not one you want to enjoy if you’re on a low calorie diet!)

The texture is amazing, the flavor is out of this world, and that glaze? Joyce wasn’t kidding when she said, “the way that chocolate combines with the glaze as you’re eating it is heavenly!” That chocolate flavor is the perfect complement to the glaze. Delicious!

I only have one regret: I didn’t need to add that warm water to the glaze. Adding an extra liquid ingredient “broke” the glaze and it wasn’t terribly pretty. Next time I won’t add it. (Side note: I’ve still got my mama’s recipe box. She passed away in 2017 and I’ve had it ever since.)

Screwball Cake from Out of the Box Baking.com

This is one of those great recipes you’re going to use again and again! You’ll add it to your own personal family cookbook.

Variations on this Recipe

I love changing things up, so let’s look at some ways we can do that with this recipe: 

Chocolate Glaze: Add a couple tablespoons of cocoa powder to the glaze to make a Texas sheet cake-style chocolate glaze. 

Fudge frosting: Thicken it up and turn that glaze into a traditional chocolate buttercream.

Pecans: I think pecans would be delicious, with the chocolate glaze or the white. 

Cupcakes: Now that I see how simple this cake is, I can’t wait to make it for my grandkids in cupcake form! I think marshmallow fluff would be yummy stuffed in the center. Bake in a muffin tin with paper liners.

Bundt: If you make this as a bundt cake, make sure the glaze is just thin enough to slowly run down the cake. Too thin and it will lose the effect. Too thick and it will be hard to manage. 

Cherries: I think this would be a terrific base for a Black Forest cake. Choose a chocolate glaze instead of vanilla, then add cherry pie filling between the layers and more on top. Yum! 

Peanut butter: I think creamy peanut butter would be incredibly delicious between the layers of this rich chocolate cake.

Vanilla ice cream: Serve with a big scoop. . .or two!

Other Easy Cakes from Out of the Box Baking

If you like simple cakes, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of our favorites: 

Ultimate Lemon Chiffon Cake: If you love a light, bright lemon cake, one with an airy chiffon texture, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to share my personal “from scratch” lemon chiffon cake recipe. 

Delicious Angel Food Cake from Scratch: If you love a light, fluffy angel food cake, one just like your grandmother used to bake, this is the recipe for you! This recipe is absolutely delicious and best of all, it’s an easy process. 

Kentucky Butter Cake: If you love a rich golden butter cake but prefer a homemade one, this is the recipe for you! In this post I’m going to show you how to make a simple and delicious Kentucky Butter Cake. 

Caramel Butterscotch Pound Cake: In this post I’m going to teach you how to make a delicious caramel butterscotch pound cake. This is a simple recipe, but it’s an unforgettable one, filled with flavor and texture.

That’s it for this post, friends! I hope you enjoyed this delicious screwball cake recipe

If you make this recipe and love it, don’t forget to leave a review and a comment below. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pin some photos to your Pinterest boards!

See this recipe at 

About the Author

Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 165 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.

Screwball Cake with Glaze Frosting

Screwball Cake with Glaze Frosting

Yield: 15
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

If you’re looking for the world’s simplest chocolate cake, this is the recipe for you! It comes together in no time at all, and is completely egg and milk free!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • Glaze:
  • 5 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • hot water for mixing

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prep your baking pan(s). My friend suggested a 9x13-inch pan but I wanted to make two 8-inch rounds.
  3. Measure out all of your ingredients.
  4. Place all of your dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) and whisk together.
  5. Add the liquid ingredients and mix on low speed until it all comes together.
    That’s it! Talk about simple!
  6. Pour into prepared pans. You’ll have a liquidy batter. I wasn’t sure, as I looked at it, how it could bake up okay. . .but it did!
  7. Place in preheated 350 degree oven.
  8. I checked on mine at the 35-minute mark and saw that the cakes were getting close but needed a few more minutes.
  9. In total, they baked for 40 minutes. You might need to adjust the baking time, depending on the pan you choose.
  10. Joyce said this is also good in a bundt pan and I know those usually take a little longer. You can use this recipe for cupcakes. They need to bake for 20 - 25 minutes.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 10mgSodium: 356mgCarbohydrates: 70gFiber: 1gSugar: 48gProtein: 3g

The nutrition information is a product of online calculators. I try to provide true and accurate information, but these numbers are estimates.

Janetta

Monday 11th of March 2024

That sounds delicious and easy. I'll have to give it a try!

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