What Is Crack Cake Made Of?

Introduction to Crack Cake

What is Crack Cake?


Crack cake, a deceptively simple dessert with an intriguing name, is a moist, flavorful cake that has garnered a cult-like following among cake enthusiasts worldwide. Its addictive qualities, akin to the allure of the illicit substance it shares a name with, stem from its rich, buttery texture, subtle cinnamon spice notes, and irresistible wine-infused glaze.

Origins and Popularity

The exact origins of crack cake remain somewhat shrouded in mystery, with various claims to its creation circulating the internet. However, it is widely believed to have emerged in the early 2000s, gaining popularity through word-of-mouth and online recipe sharing platforms. Its unique name, while controversial to some, has undoubtedly contributed to its notoriety, piquing curiosity and fueling its widespread recognition.


Key Characteristics

Crack cake is characterized by its tender, moist crumb, imparted by the addition of instant vanilla pudding mix. The subtle warmth of cinnamon adds depth to the cake’s flavor profile, while the white wine in both the batter and the glaze lends a hint of tanginess and sophistication. The final touch of decadence comes from the buttery glaze, which seeps into the cake, creating a symphony of textures and flavors that is truly irresistible.

The Recipe and Variations

Classic Crack Cake Recipe

A homemade classic crack cake, freshly baked and displayed on a kitchen counter.

Embark on a culinary adventure with this classic crack cake recipe, a timeless favorite that has captivated taste buds worldwide. Prepare to be enchanted by its moist, flavorful crumb, enhanced by a symphony of cinnamon, vanilla, and white wine.


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (15.25 oz)
  • 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup white wine

For the Glaze:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup white wine

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and cinnamon. Whisk well to ensure even distribution of the dry ingredients.

  3. Add the eggs, water, vegetable oil, and white wine to the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, ensuring no dry pockets remain. Avoid overmixing, as this can lead to a dense, chewy cake.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, smoothing the top evenly.

  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.

  7. Add the granulated sugar to the melted butter and whisk until the sugar dissolves completely.

  8. Stir in the white wine and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the glaze thickens slightly.

  9. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes.

  10. Poke holes all over the top of the cake using a skewer or toothpick.

  11. Slowly pour the warm glaze over the cake, allowing it to seep into the holes and soak into the cake.

  12. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before inverting it onto a serving plate.

Baking Tips and Tricks:

  1. For a more intense cinnamon flavor, add an extra ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the batter.

  2. To enhance the moistness of the cake, substitute buttermilk for the water.

  3. If you prefer a less sweet glaze, reduce the amount of granulated sugar to ¾ cup.

  4. For a professional-looking finish, sprinkle powdered sugar over the cooled cake before serving.

Related: Crack Cake Recipe: The Ultimate Guide to Baking a Dessert

The Recipe and Variations

Variations of Crack Cake

The versatility of crack cake knows no bounds, allowing for endless customization to suit diverse preferences and dietary needs. Explore a world of flavors and textures with these delightful variations:

Alternative Ingredients and Substitutes:

  1. Chocolate Crack Cake: Indulge in a decadent chocolatey twist by adding ½ cup of cocoa powder to the dry ingredients. For an extra gooey indulgence, stir in ½ cup of chocolate chips just before pouring the batter into the pan.

  2. Spiced Crack Cake: Embark on a warm and inviting flavor journey by incorporating a blend of spices, such as nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, to the batter. Experiment with different proportions to achieve your desired level of spiciness.

  3. Fruit-Infused Crack Cake: Embrace the vibrant flavors of fresh fruits by adding 1 cup of chopped strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries to the batter. Gently fold the fruit into the batter to ensure even distribution.

  4. Nutty Crack Cake: Add a delightful crunch and nutty flavor by incorporating ½ cup of chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds to the batter. For a more intense nutty aroma, toast the nuts before adding them to the batter.

Flavor Variations:

  1. Maple Crack Cake: Substitute the white wine in the batter and glaze with maple syrup for a warm, autumnal flavor.

  2. Orange Crack Cake: Replace the white wine with orange juice and zest in both the batter and glaze for a burst of citrusy goodness.

  3. Coconut Crack Cake: Add ½ cup of shredded coconut to the batter for a tropical twist. For a more intense coconut flavor, substitute the white wine with coconut milk.

  4. Coffee Crack Cake: Infuse the cake with a rich coffee flavor by adding 1 teaspoon of instant coffee powder to the dry ingredients and substituting the white wine with brewed coffee.

Dietary Modifications (Gluten-Free, Vegan):

  1. Gluten-Free Crack Cake: For gluten-free enthusiasts, substitute the yellow cake mix with a gluten-free cake mix and ensure that the vanilla pudding mix is also gluten-free.

  2. Vegan Crack Cake: Embark on a plant-based journey by using vegan butter, vegetable oil, and a vegan egg substitute. Replace the white wine with apple cider vinegar for a similar flavor profile.

Additional Insights

Pairing and Serving Suggestions

Elevate your crack cake experience by pairing it with complementary beverages and delightful serving presentations:

Best Drinks to Pair with Crack Cake:

  1. Coffee or Tea: For a classic pairing, complement the cake’s rich flavors with a cup of hot coffee or tea. The bitterness of the coffee or tea will balance the sweetness of the cake, while the caffeine will provide a delightful energy boost.

  2. Milk or Cream: For a more indulgent pairing, opt for a glass of cold milk or a dollop of whipped cream. The creamy texture will complement the cake’s moist crumb, while the subtle sweetness will enhance the overall flavor profile.

  3. Fruity Drinks: Embrace the fresh flavors of fruit by pairing the cake with a glass of fruit juice, a smoothie, or a sparkling fruit cocktail. The acidity of the fruit will cut through the richness of the cake, creating a refreshing and balanced combination.

  4. Wine: For a sophisticated pairing, consider a glass of Moscato or other sweet wine. The sweetness of the wine will harmonize with the cake’s sweetness, while the acidity will provide a refreshing counterpoint.

Serving Ideas and Presentation:

  1. Bundt Pan Perfection: For a classic presentation, simply invert the baked crack cake onto a serving plate. The fluted design of the bundt pan creates an elegant and visually appealing centerpiece.

  2. Individual Slices: For a more versatile serving option, slice the cooled crack cake into individual portions. Arrange the slices on a serving plate or platter and garnish with fresh berries, powdered sugar, or a drizzle of glaze.

  3. Dessert Cups: For a whimsical presentation, scoop spoonfuls of crack cake into individual dessert cups or ramekins. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of chocolate chips, or a fresh sprig of mint for a charming and individual touch.

  4. Elegant Platter: For a more formal occasion, create a stunning dessert platter by arranging crack cake slices alongside other desserts, such as fresh fruit, cookies, or macarons. Add a touch of elegance with a sprig of rosemary or a sprinkle of edible flowers.


Q: What makes crack cake so addictive?

A: Crack cake is known for its moist, flavorful crumb, enhanced by a symphony of cinnamon, vanilla, and white wine. The white wine in both the batter and the glaze lends a hint of tanginess and sophistication, adding to its irresistible appeal.

Q: Can I make crack cake without white wine?

A: Yes, you can substitute the white wine with apple cider vinegar or apple juice for a similar flavor profile. You can also omit the white wine altogether, but the cake may not have the same depth of flavor.

Q: How can I make crack cake gluten-free?

A: To make crack cake gluten-free, substitute the yellow cake mix with a gluten-free cake mix and ensure that the vanilla pudding mix is also gluten-free. You may need to adjust the baking time slightly due to the different ingredients.


Crack cake is a decadent dessert that has captivated taste buds worldwide. Its moist, flavorful crumb, infused with a subtle cinnamon spice and enhanced by the tanginess of white wine, creates an irresistible symphony of flavors. Whether enjoyed in its classic form or adorned with endless variations, crack cake promises an unforgettable culinary adventure.


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