[donotprint] This recipe has been around longer than I have. Chances are your granny or great granny may have made this in the Depression era. Some may know it as “Wacky cake” or “Depression Cake”. During the Great Depression, someone figured out how to make a moist, delicious cake without eggs, milk, or butter because these ingredients were expensive and hard to get. I call this a timeless generational recipe – passed down from generation to generation.
Since then, this cake has become quite popular for people who are vegan or allergic to dairy… like my daughter, Abigail. She is allergic to dairy and like her mama, she loves her cake but can’t always eat it. This cake taste remarkably good with great flavor and texture – very similar to chocolate cakes made with boxed cake mix.People are always surprised to discover there is no dairy when I tell them. Top off with your favorite chocolate frosting or a dusting of powered sugar and you’re good to go! Enjoy! [/donotprint]
Chocolate Wacky Depression Cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together by hand. Add all the wet ingredients until well combined. Pour into a 8×8 pan which has been prepared with non stick spray.
Bake for 30 until done. Allow to completely cool before serving. Cake is even better if eaten the next day. Enjoy!
Alice Currah says
Tried and true! Thanks for stopping by Mary!
I learned this in high school in 1970. Sift the dry ingredients into the pan, make three holes and put oil, vinegar and vanilla into each hole. Pour hot water over and stir. So good!
My mother made this one all the time. She also used it to make the best pineapple upside down cake ever (leave the cocoa out of the recipe). This is a wonderfully moist and versatile cake. She also used it for spice cake (adding nutmeg and cinnamon) and did mix it in the pan.
Sue Boland says
LOVE THIS CAKE I have poured cherry pie filling at the bottom of the pan and poured the cake batter over it. Yum
I have been making this for years. ..I use apple cider vinegar and have many varieties of this recipe
Our family favorite recipe passed down by my Grandfather calls for 1 tsp of vanilla. The directions also call for the dry ingredients to be sifted together.
Hello from the UK!
I’ve just baked this cake for the first time for my 14 year old daughter’s first birthday as a vegan. She loved it, I loved it, the whole family loved it – a fantastic light and moist cake. I can see this becoming a regular fixture on birthdays.
I had the same question, so I looked it up. It’s to do with how sugar is processed, which sometimes uses animal bone char. I guess labeling practices don’t make it clear what sugar is and isn’t vegan so many just avoid refined white table sugar entirely. I learn something new every day!
April Parekh says
This cake is FANTASTIC! My husband does not eat eggs so I have tried several vegan/vegetarian options and this is the best. I just got an email from someone asking me for the recipe because she absolutely loved it. Rave reviews from everyone at my son’s birthday party. It’s light,fluffy,so simple and not overly sweet. I paired it with some flour buttercream which also was very good. This will be my go to from now on!
Exactly how I made it… amazing that it’s all mixed & baked in the one dish, it’s our favorite go to cake now!
Alice Currah says
I knew of someone who called it crazy cake. Love it!
My family has always called it “Crazy Cake”. It is so moist and chocolatey!
Alice Currah says
Wouldn’t it depend on the sugar? Cane sugar is vegan. I have not made this with maple syrup, so I couldn’t tell you as far as the texture and taste.
How is sugar different to maple syrup – vegan wise ?
Giant Sis says
This has been a family staple for years! We love Wacky Cake – although we do it in a 9×13 pan, and I think the recipe is closer to Mandy’s (listed in comments) – where you mix everything in the pan (yay for no cleanup!) and do “wells” – although it’s not that vital.
I have made this recipe for years and have never used the vinegar. So if you don’t have vinegar, don’t sweat it. It’s just as good.
I feel like I’m 2 years too late, but wanted to say this anyways: the baking soda and vinegar are responsible for leavening the cake, not really keeping it moist (that’s what the oil and water are for). If you take too long between mixing and baking, you’ll end up with a flat, dense cake because the vinegar and baking soda are done fizzing before the gluten has time to set.
Personally, I mix in one bowl and pour the batter into the baking pan. I toss in a teaspoon of double-acting baking powder just for a little extra boost.
That is SO considerate of you – bless your kind heart. It must have been really tough for that kid always missing out on baked goods when they’re being shared around, I bet you made their day!