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Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)

Chocolate Wacky Cake, also called Crazy Cake or Depression Cake, contains no eggs, butter, or milk and you don’t even need a mixing bowl to make it. Totally wacky huh?

Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)

I like to add a rich chocolate icing and a few sprinkles. The icing does contain butter and milk, but you can just leave the icing off if you need a vegan dessert. The cake by itself is delicious. I’m just of the opinion that everything is better with icing.  🙂

Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)


Wacky Cake apparently dates back to the Great Depression when food needed to be super economical and was really popular during World War II when their were rations on things like butter, eggs, and milk. But becasue it is such a delicious cake, it has stood the test of time and people still enjoy baking it.

Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)


Unsweetened Cocoa Powder gives Chocolate Wacky Cake its chocolate flavor, making this a super inexpensive cake to make.

Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)


Chocolate Wacky Cake is so easy to make without any mess or clean-up, plus it is a really moist and exceptionally delicious cake that is perfect for snacking on. Everything is mixed together right in an 8×8-inch pan using only a fork.

First you combine all the dry ingredients in the pan and then you form 3 wells: one for the vinegar, one for vanilla extract and one for the oil. Pour 1 cup of water over it all and mix everything together with a fork.

Thirty minutes in the oven and you have a delicious and inexpensive dessert to satisfy your chocolate cravings.

Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)

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Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)

Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)

PREP: 10 minutes
COOK: 30 minutes
TOTAL: 40 minutes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

Chocolate Icing (optional)

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
  • sprinkles, optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Into an ungreased 8x8-inch baking pan, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, unsweetened cocoa powder and sugar. Spread mixture evenly in pan and make 2 small holes and 1 large hole in the mixture.
  • Pour the apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract into small holes and vegetable oil into large hole.
  • Pour the 1 cup of water over everything. Using a fork, mix everything together until blended.
  • Bake in oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • To make icing, heat milk, butter, and cocoa powder in a small saucepan until it comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  • Stir powdered sugar in 1 cup at a time until smooth. Pour over cake.

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For Chocolate Cake Lovers, This Samoa Bundt Cake is also a must try.

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32 thoughts on “Chocolate Wacky Cake (Depression Cake)”

  1. This has been our entire family’s “go-to” recipe for as long as I can remember. I made it yesterday for my husband’s birthday dinner! It’s the most moist cake ever. I love it with chocolate frosting flavored with coffee, but he swears by cream cheese frosting. Can’t go wrong either way!

  2. You could smell and taste the vinegar
    i was wondering why ?
    I did use distilled white vinegar,could that be the reason ?

    1. Distilled white vinegar is very different from live apple cider vinegar with the “mother” in it. Try it again with the good stuff – it’s wonderful!

  3. Deborah Wheeler

    I was a Home Economics teacher for many years and I discovered this recipe in the 1970s to use in my 7th grade cooking classes. We made it every year until I retired!
    The kids got to choose their frosting: vanilla, peanut butter, maple were the favorites.
    I’m going to double the recipe to take to a potluck tonight!

  4. Julie Lewis

    you can easily double this and make right in the 9X13 pan! Do it all the time and have been baking this cake for over 35 years. Have never used a mixer for this and is delish everytime.

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