Wacky Cake

Whether you call it Wacky Cake, Crazy Cake, or Depression Cake, this moist chocolate cake is made without eggs, milk, or butter. Simply mix it in one pan and bake it – no bowls are needed!

wacky cake slice on a plate in front of the cake.

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Why You Should Try This Eggless Cake Recipe

Wacky Cake gets its odd name from its rather strange list of ingredients. White vinegar? No eggs? Yep, but that doesn’t mean that this recipe doesn’t make one of the most deliciously moist and chocolaty cakes you have ever tried!

It is an ideal recipe for anyone with a family member who can’t eat eggs due to allergies or dietary restrictions. It also is an economical cake that was so popular during the Great Depression that the recipe often shows up in older cookbooks as a Chocolate Depression Cake.

What Makes This Version of Chocolate Wacky Cake So Good? 

You can find several different versions of eggless chocolate cakes online listed as either Wacky Cake or Crazy Cake. Although they are all eggless, most other recipes contain additional ingredients such as sour cream, butter, or buttermilk.

Since this recipe doesn’t call for any dairy, it is friendlier for your wallet and waistline. 

Egg-Free Chocolate Cake Ingredients 

For this Wacky Cake from the Great Depression, you’ll need:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt
  • Vegetable oil
  • White vinegar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cold water
  • Powdered sugar or frosting (optional)

White vinegar may seem like a strange ingredient in this recipe, but it’s necessary for this egg free chocolate cake. Without the extra acidity, no chemical reaction with the baking soda would occur, and the cake would turn out flat, dense, and rather unpleasant.

If you prefer, you can swap apple cider vinegar or lemon juice for white vinegar. 

wacky cake ingredients on a tray.

How to Make a Moist Eggless Chocolate Cake

To prepare this Wacky Cake recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8-inch square pan. A metal cake pan or baking dish is best.
  3. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt directly into the greased cake pan. 
  4. Use two fingers to make three small wells in the dry ingredients. 
  5. Pour the vegetable oil into the first well, the white vinegar into the second, and the vanilla extract into the third. 
  6. Pour the cold water evenly over the top of all the ingredients. 
  7. Use a fork to mix the cake ingredients into a smooth batter.
  8. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until you can poke a toothpick into the center of the cake and it comes out clean.
  9. Keep the cake in the cake pan and cool it on a wire rack
  10. Once the cake cools, use a thin, sharp knife to cut around the edges of the cake and carefully remove it from the pan. 
  11. You can serve the cake plain or garnish it with a sprinkle of powdered sugar or frosting. 
collage of steps for making wacky cake.
wacky cake slice on a plate on top of a cloth napkin.

Frostings For Chocolate Depression Cake

If a simple sprinkling of powdered sugar is not enough, try your favorite frosting instead. Opt for classic chocolate or get a bit more creative with Brown Sugar Boiled Frosting, Cream Cheese FrostingPeanut Butter FrostingButtercream Frosting, or Coffee flavored frostings.

What to Serve With This Cake 

A large glass of ice-cold milk, coffee, or tea goes well with Chocolate Depression Cake. Some whipped cream on top is nice. For an extra indulgence, you can top it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup.

How to Store This Crazy Cake 

Keep the cake in a cake saver or lightly wrap it with plastic. Store it on the counter or in the fridge. To extend the storage time, wrap it in an additional layer of aluminum foil and pop it into the freezer. 

How Long Will a Wacky Cake Last

On the counter, Crazy Cake will keep fresh for about three days. It will last a little longer in the fridge. You can freeze the cake for up to two months.

wacky cake slice on a plate with the cake behind it.

Love chocolate? Try these recipes!

Favorite Cake Recipes

Check out more of my easy cake recipes and the best recipes for desserts on CopyKat!

This recipe is from my co-worker, Micky Grant. This recipe was handed down to her by her mother-in-law.

wacky cake slice on a plate in front of the cake.

Wacky Cake

Wacky Cake, also known as Crazy Cake or Depression Cake, is an easy-to-make chocolate cake that is made in the same pan it bakes in. This eggless chocolate cake is moist and delicious.
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Cake Recipes, Crazy Cake, Depression Era Cake, Eggless Chocolate Cake
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 272kcal


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cold water
  • powdered sugar to dust on top


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Sift the dry ingredients directly into an ungreased 8×8-inch cake pan.
  • Poke three holes in the dry mixture. Pour oil into first hole, vinegar into the second hole, and vanilla into the third hole.
  • Pour cold water over the top and stir with a fork until evenly blended.
  • Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cake on a wire rack. Once cool, dust the top with powdered sugar.



Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 148mg | Potassium: 66mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1.5mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. John Davidson

    5 stars
    My better half (wife) made one yesterday and it is still great with a rich chocolate icing.
    My mother and her mother used to make this cake as well. My mother and hers did go
    through the depression. The recipe has been around for nearly a century now. It has always
    been called “Wacky Chocolate Cake” since we first ate it in the 1950s.

  2. Liz

    5 stars
    Loved this cake I think it would also be good for the kids to make this! It would be great to make a cake with them and then not to have a huge mess to clean up after.

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