Wacky cake (depression cake or crazy cake) is a light and fluffy one bowl chocolate cake. This chocolate cake is made without eggs or dairy!
As much as I love making dessert, there are days when I just don’t have time to spend baking an elaborate dessert.
Other times, I go to bake a cake and find that I’m out of eggs (or butter or both!). This wacky cake recipe is a light and fluffy one bowl chocolate cake that’s the perfect recipe for those times!
Wacky cake only takes about 5 minutes of prep, it’s made with common ingredients, and it is both egg-free and dairy-free. So, this recipe is great for whenever you want an easy chocolate cake!
What is wacky cake?
Wacky cake is a depression era cake that has stood the test of time. is sometimes called crazy cake, depression cake, war cake, or World War II cake. The “wacky” in wacky cake comes not only from the lack of dairy and eggs but also from the method for making the cake.
It’s a simple chocolate cake that’s made without eggs, milk, or butter, and this eggless chocolate cake recipe supposedly came about during WWII when items like eggs and butter were rationed.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Cocoa powder: Or an equal amount of unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar will work in place of the white vinegar.
- Oil: You can use a different type of oil. I also like melted coconut oil.
- Water: I use hot tap water, but there’s no need to heat it beyond that. The hot water helps to enhance the chocolate flavor in the cake.
How to make wacky cake
Step 1: Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Step 2: Make 3 holes in the flour mixture.
Step 3: Pour the vinegar in one hole, vanilla in the second, and oil in the third hole. Pour the water over the top.
Step 4: Whisk to combine.
Step 5: Pour the wacky cake batter into a greased square pan.
Step 6: Bake.
Step 7: Let the cake cool, and frosting with your favorite frosting.
- There are two ways to make this cake – one in a bowl and one in the baking dish. I prefer to make it in a bowl because I’ve found that it’s easier to remove the cake from a greased cake pan.
- The vinegar is a key ingredient. This easy cake recipe relies on the chemical reaction that occurs when the vinegar and the baking soda are mixed, so don’t skip the vinegar!
Wacky cake frosting
I like to use my chocolate buttercream frosting with this cake. The rich chocolate buttercream pairs well with this cake because the cake isn’t overly rich or sweet.
Really, though, it would go well with any number of frostings like
- whipped buttercream frosting
- salted caramel buttercream frosting
- peanut butter frosting
- vanilla buttercream frosting
- cream cheese frosting
- chocolate cream cheese frosting
- or Oreo frosting.
Or you can skip the frosting and just dust the cake with a little powdered sugar.
I store the cake, covered tightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature. The cake could also be stored in an airtight container.
I think it’s best eaten in the first 2 days that it’s made (but I don’t think that most baked good are very good by day 3).
More chocolate cake recipes!
If you’ve tried this wacky cake recipe, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!
- 8×8 square metal baking pan
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup hot water not boiling
- Preheat 350 degrees F.
- Place the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl.
- Make 3 small holes in the mixture.
- Pour the vanilla in one hole, the vinegar in another and vegetable oil in another.
- Pour water over the top, and whisk to combine.
- Pour into a lightly greased 8×8-inch metal baking pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan.
- Cocoa powder: Or an equal amount of unsweetened cocoa powder
- Oil: Can use a different type of oil. I also like melted coconut oil.
- Water: I use hot tap water. No need to heat it beyond that.
- Need a frosting recipe? I use my chocolate buttercream frosting.
- Nutrition values are estimates.
Originally published 8/2/18.
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