There is nothing easier to make than a Deep Depression Cake. A cake that dates back to the Great Depression, it is easy to make, a moist and inexpensive cake that has an amazing flavor. Made without butter, eggs or milk, this cake was inspired during the Great Depression.
Our 5-Minute Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is perfect with this chocolate cake recipe.
Deep Depression Cake Recipe
While deep depression cake started back in the Great Depression, it doesn’t mean it isn’t still loved today. This cake has been a classic for years and for good reason. This cake is extremely easy to make. It requires only the pan you will be baking in and a fork. It couldn’t be easier. The ingredients are extremely inexpensive.
Why Is This Called a Depression Cake?
This cake was created during the Great Depression. The cake is made with no butter, no eggs, and no milk. This is because during the Great Depression these ingredients were hard to come by. Since it was hard for many families to have enough food, dessert was a treat. By making it as inexpensive as possible.
Can I Freeze This Chocolate Cake?
If you want to freeze this Depression Era Chocolate cake, it is easy to do. Once the cake is cooled, you can slice it into pieces. You can freeze the cake as a whole or in individual slices. You can freeze the cake frosted or unfrosted. If you are freezing the cake frosted, you might want to freeze it on a plate before wrapping it. This will prevent the frosting from sticking to the plastic wrap.
Ingredients You Will Need
(full amounts in recipe box below)
- All-purpose Flour
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- Baking Soda
- Kosher Salt
- White Vinegar
- Vanilla Extract
- Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil
- Chocolate Frosting
- Rainbow Sprinkles
How to Make a Wacky Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 13×9 baking dish with butter.
Using the pan as a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
Using a fork, whisk together the ingredients.
Make 2 small wells on the sides and one larger well in the center in the dry ingredients.
Pour the vanilla and vinegar in each of the small wells and then oil in the larger well. Don’t worry if it overflows.
Pour water over everything and whisk to combine thoroughly.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is done. A toothpick will come out clean when it is done.
Cool the cake completely and frost the cake with your favorite chocolate frosting.
If desired, sprinkle rainbow sprinkles over the top.
Chocolate Depression Cake - No Milk, Eggs or Butter
- 1 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
- 1/3 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon White Vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1/3 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup Water
- Chocolate Frosting of your choice
- Rainbow Sprinkles optional
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Grease an 13x9 pan with butter.
- In the greased pan, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Whisk lightly with a fork or small whisk to combine.
- Make two small wells on the sides and 1 large well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
- Pour the vinegar and vanilla into the small wells then pour the oil in the big well, if they spill over the wells that's perfectly okay.
- Pour the water over the top and whisk again to combine thoroughly.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Cool completely.
- Frost the cake with your choice of chocolate frosting. Our 5-Minute Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is wonderful with this cake!
- Optional; sprinkle rainbow sprinkles on top.
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110 comments on “Chocolate Depression Cake – No Milk, Eggs or Butter”
I used to live near a family that had not much money because there dad had severe health issues and only had one leg . God bless him he did some work for a church by filling in for the pastor when he unable to be there on Sundays . Imagine having to walk on crutches in all kinds of weather. He only was given a small amount of money for his service but he felt as if was doing all he could and it was all he could do. His wife and daughters.made all homemade goodies and this cake was one of them . And I found out how to make it and trust me it was delicious. It is so so moist and had a delicious flavor to it . You folks should try it . You will love it .
States frosting but there’s no recipe? I mean I do I have my own but I’m old so that means I have my own chocolate cake recipe too, I just wanted something different. I am going to look through the site?
Kerri, click on “5-Minute Chocolate Buttercream Frosting” at the top of the post.
I love this depression cake recipe my mom used to make it and I helped too. Memories I will never forget thank you for sharing this. ❤️
Hi – this might be quite a silly question, but when you make the 3 wells for the wet ingredients, does vinegar go in one well, vanilla in the second well, and oil in the middle (as stated)? Or do you combine half the vinegar and half the vanilla together in each well? Ok, I’m probably being OCD about this, but I want to make it right! ;+)
Hey Cindy, since it will all be whisked together you can really do it either way as long as the ingredients are in there. Hope that helps!
I’ve made this since I was about eight. My mother passed it down from her mother and her mother before her. It’s the best cake there is. Trust me we don’t add icing. There is no need for it. Delicious on its own
I can’t stop eating this stuff! It’s soooo moist and spongy! I made it with hot cocoa powder instead of cocoa powder and used Mayo instead of vinegar but oh my gosh! I think I found a new pregnancy craving!!
Can you turn this into cupcakes instead of cake
We have never tried that but it should work fine. Let us know if you try it!