Depression Chocolate Cake

This vintage depression cake recipe (wacky cake recipe) is quick and easy to make with simple ingredients in 1 bowl! It has no butter, no milk, no eggs.

Depression Chocolate Cake

Depression Chocolate Cake

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 30 mins

Total Time: 40 mins

Servings: 9 Slices


  • 1½ cups All-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup Cocoa powder
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp White vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 5 tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Water

Chocolate Frosting (Optional)

  • 1/4 cup Milk Whole or 2%
  • 1/3 cup Butter Unsalted
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups Powdered sugar



  1. In a square cake pan (Dimensions: 8×8- Ungreased), add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, salt and whisk everything together.
  2. Use your finger to make 2 small holes and 1 large hole in this dry flour mixture.
  3. Pour vinegar and vanilla extract in the small holes.
  4. Pour oil in the large hole.
  5. Pour water over everything.
  6. Mix everything together until just combined. Don’t worry if you have some lumps. Just don’t over-mix or else you will end up with a rubbery cake.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until an toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting

  1. While the cake is cooling down, prepare the frosting: In a non-stick saucepan, add milk, butter and cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  3. Add powdered sugar (1 cup at a time) until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour this frosting over your entire cake and let it set in the fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Toss some sprinkles on top of the cake and enjoy!

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Depression Chocolate Cake

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