Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons

Chocolate Depression Cake – No Milk, Eggs or Butter

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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 with chocolate frosting

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.

deep depression cake

Ingredients

  • All-purpose Flour
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Kosher Salt
  • White Vinegar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Vegetable Oil or Canola Oil
  • Water
  • 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.

make weels 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.

cake batter in a baking dish

Pour water over everything and whisk to combine thoroughly.

deep depression cake ready to bake

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.

chocolate cake with chocolate frosting

If desired, sprinkle rainbow sprinkles over the top.

Enjoy!

deep depression cake on a white plate

deep depression cake with chocolate frosting
5 from 4 votes
Servings: 10

Deep Depression Cake:

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
35 mins
Total Time:
45 mins
 
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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 13x9 pan with butter.

  3. In the greased pan, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Whisk lightly with a fork or small whisk to combine.
  5. Make two small wells on the sides and 1 large well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  6. 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.
  7. Pour the water over the top and whisk again to combine thoroughly.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool completely.
  10. Frost the cake with your choice of chocolate frosting. Our 5-Minute Chocolate Buttercream Frosting is wonderful with this cake!

  11. Optional; sprinkle rainbow sprinkles on top.
  12. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts
Deep Depression Cake:
Amount Per Serving
Calories 216 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Sodium 228mg10%
Potassium 64mg2%
Carbohydrates 36g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 2g4%
Calcium 6mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Wacky Cake - No Milk, Eggs or Butter!

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15 comments

  1. A classic recipe I remember well from my childhood (WWII) Thank you for the reminder – I remember the ingredients but not the amounts. We used to have it with ice cream, no frosting. It is neither too heavy nor too sweet.

    • My mom grew up then as well.My step daughter shared this as I am allergic to eggs and I never get to enjoy with everyone else at parties.But I will try this and since I make desserts each week for mom (80) so this next week-she gets this! Happy times.Connie here.

  2. My mother-inlaw called this Crazy Chocolate Cake. I have been making fow 50 years as well. It’s great.

    • I’ll be making this as I am allergic to eggs and mom was a Depression baby-we share the same birthday so guess what mom…..

  3. In the 1960’s my mother was making a double recipe of this cake for our dessert. She had some of the ingredients in the bowl already when she found there was no cocoa in the cabinet. Not wanting to waste what she had put together she turned it into a spice cake and wrote down the directions for what she had done. Chopped walnuts and raisins are an optional addition. My mother called the original cake “Chocolate Crazy Cake” and her changes she named “Spice Snack Cake”

    Follow instructions as for Chocolate Depression Cake:
    SPICE SNACK CAKE
    (created in 1960’s from Chocolate Depression Cake recipe when no cocoa found in cabinet)
    Recipe for 8 inch square pan:
    1-1/2 CUPS FLOUR
    1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
    3/4 CUP SUGAR
    1/2 TEASPOON SALT
    3/4 TEASPOON CINNAMON
    1/2 TEASPOON GROUND CLOVES
    1/2 TEASPOON NUTMEG

    5 TABLESPOONS COOKING OIL
    1 TABLESPOON VINEGAR
    1 CUP COLD WATER
    1/2 CUP CHOPPED WALNUTS (OPTIONAL)
    1/2 CUP RAISINS (OPTIONAL)

  4. Hat it when you do not have a print option for recipe. 

  5. this is amazing
    ilove this
    thankyou so much

  6. How hard was it to get rainbow sprinkles during the depression?

  7. I want to make it for my hostel kids 60 kids please

  8. My mom made this every year for my brothers’ birthdays as it was their favourite. She got the recipe from her grandmother, who also called it Crazy Cake. It’s a family treasure!

  9. Confirming what size dish to bake in. The recipe calls for 8×8 square pan but the dish in the pictures looks like a 9×13. What should we use?

  10. I had lost my recipe for this cake I am so glad to find it here TYVM

  11. I have made this cake many times. It was called a cockeyed cake. My recipe calls for 1 tablespoon vinegar not 1 teaspoon. We love this cake!