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 You Will Need

(full amounts in recipe box below)

  • 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 24 votes

Chocolate Depression Cake - No Milk, Eggs or Butter

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

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

  • 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.
  • Enjoy!

Nutrition

Calories: 216kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 228mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg

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Wacky Cake - No Milk, Eggs or Butter!

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81 comments on “Chocolate Depression Cake – No Milk, Eggs or Butter”

  1. JEANNE HANSON

    Great cake. Some adjustments that I have made over the years that has improved the original recipe.
    1) add 3/4 cup black cofffee to a 1 cup measure and fill the remaining 1/4 cup measure with water.
    2) Add 1 1/2 Tbls of dark cocoa powder to the 1/3 measuring cup and fill the remaining measure with regular cocoa powder.
    3) Use good oil. I use Sunflower Oil. It never has that rancid oil smell.
    4) And most important….use the Betty Crocker Recipe “Chocolate Glaze” that is used in the Boston Cream Pie recipe.
    It is like chocolate fudge!
    5) Refrigerate the cake. It is so much better served chilled.
    Trust me on these improvements. My sons and all of their friends can attest to the greatness of this little gem.

    1. hi. what will i look for in the store..is it BETTY CROCKER CHOCOLATE GLAZE? can u please share the recipe for your chocolate glaze,,please and thank u

  2. Elizabeth Quan

    5 stars
    We baked this depression cake today, along with the chocolate buttercream frosting. So delicious! We added almond extract to the cake and frosting, along with vanilla. I’m amazed at how moist and tender this turned out.

  3. This is one of my favorite cake recipes. In fact, I just had a piece about an hour ago. This was the recipe that my mom would use when a child, boy or girl, found their self in the kitchen with nothing to do. As a boy, it was a joy to wipe-out the three holes of ingredients with a big flood of water, stir the mess together and then be amazed at the final product that tasted so good.
    Often we made it with a peanut butter/milk/powdered sugar frosting(approximately 1 Tbsp, 1 Tbsp, 1 cup, respectively). Personally, I feel a store bought peanut butter cup can not hold a candle to this concoction. As one of your other commenters pointed out, not too heavy and not too sweet. I was from a large family, so we always made a double batch in a 9 X 13 and baked 35 to 45 min. or even longer(toothpick test). Also, double ingredients when making the peanut butter frosting.

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