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Chocolate Wacky Cake

Chocolate Wacky Cake Recipe


Chocolate Wacky Cake is a unique and easy-to-make dessert that has been a favorite for generations. Also known as Depression Cake, this recipe is unique because it doesn’t require eggs, milk, or butter. This makes it perfect for those with dietary restrictions or when you’re low on ingredients. The cake is moist, rich, and full of chocolatey goodness. It’s also incredibly simple to prepare, making it an excellent choice for any occasion.



For the Cake:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Optional Ingredients for Homemade Frosting:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup water, as needed


1. Prepare the Cake

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In an ungreased 8×8-inch baking pan, combine the granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Use a whisk or fork to mix the dry ingredients evenly.

2. Add Wet Ingredients

  1. Make Wells: Using a spoon, make three wells in the dry mixture. Pour the vegetable oil into one well, vanilla extract into the second, and white vinegar into the third.
  2. Add Water: Pour the water over all the ingredients in the pan.
  3. Mix Well: Use a whisk or fork to stir everything together until the batter is smooth and well combined. Make sure to scrape the corners and edges of the pan to incorporate all the dry ingredients.

3. Bake the Cake

  1. Bake: Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  2. Cool: Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.

4. Make the Frosting (Optional)

  1. Cream Butter: In a medium bowl, beat the softened butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add Vanilla and Water: Stir in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the water, a little at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Frost the Cake: Once the cake is completely cooled, spread the frosting evenly over the top.

Cook’s Notes and Variations


  • Vinegar: Don’t be alarmed by the vinegar in the recipe. It’s essential for the cake’s rise, reacting with the baking soda to create a light and fluffy texture.
  • Mixing: Ensure all ingredients are well mixed to avoid pockets of flour or cocoa in the finished cake.
  • Serving: This cake is delicious on its own, but you can also top it with a dusting of powdered sugar or serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


  1. Nutty Delight: Add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, such as walnuts or pecans, to the batter for added crunch and flavor.
  2. Fruit Twist: Mix in 1/2 cup of dried fruit, like raisins or dried cherries, for a different texture and taste.
  3. Spicy Chocolate: Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the dry ingredients for a spicy kick.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I make this cake gluten-free?

A: Yes, you can substitute the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free flour blend. Ensure it is a 1:1 substitute designed for baking.


Q: How do I store the cake?

A: Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you’ve frosted the cake, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Q: Can I freeze this cake?

A: Yes, the cake can be frozen. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.


Q: Can I use a different type of vinegar?

A: White vinegar works best for this recipe, but you can use apple cider vinegar if that’s what you have on hand. Avoid using strong-flavored vinegars like balsamic.


Q: What if I don’t have a baking pan?

A: You can use a round cake pan or even a muffin tin to make cupcakes. Adjust the baking time accordingly, as smaller portions will bake faster.

Chocolate Wacky Cake is a delicious, simple, and versatile dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. Its rich chocolate flavor and moist texture make it a crowd-pleaser, while its easy preparation makes it a favorite for busy bakers. Whether you enjoy it plain or topped with homemade frosting, this cake is sure to become a staple in your recipe collection. Enjoy baking and indulging in this delightful treat!