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Chocolate Depression Cake

Chocolate Depression Cake Recipe: A Taste of Nostalgia from the Great Depression Era


During times of scarcity, creativity in the kitchen flourishes. The Chocolate Depression Cake, also known as Crazy Cake or Wacky Cake, emerged during the Great Depression when ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter were scarce. This unconventional cake relies on baking soda and vinegar to rise, omitting traditional dairy products. Let’s delve into this unique recipe that promises to deliver a decadent chocolate treat without the need for butter!


For the Cake:

  • 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of vanillin
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 1 ½ cups of water

For the Frosting:

  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • ¼ cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup of milk or heavy cream
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons of vanilla essence


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and vanillin.
  3. Mix the olive oil, vinegar, water, and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until smooth, ensuring there are no lumps.
  5. Prepare an 8×8 inch square baking pan by greasing it lightly.
  6. Transfer the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely before frosting.
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For the Frosting:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan or microwave-safe dish.
  2. Stir in the cocoa powder until a thick paste forms.
  3. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  4. Add powdered sugar, milk (or heavy cream), and vanilla extract to the bowl.
  5. Mix on low speed until ingredients are combined.
  6. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for approximately 5 minutes until the frosting is smooth and creamy.
  7. Spread the frosting evenly over the cooled cake.

Tips for Success:

  • For a richer flavor, use dark cocoa powder instead of regular cocoa powder.
  • Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature before mixing to achieve the best texture.
  • If you prefer a denser cake, substitute some of the water with brewed coffee.


Q: Can I use vegetable oil instead of olive oil?
A: Yes, vegetable oil can be substituted for olive oil in this recipe without affecting the final outcome.

Q: Is there a substitute for white vinegar?
A: You can use apple cider vinegar as a substitute for white vinegar with similar results.

Q: Can I make this cake gluten-free?
A: Yes, you can use a gluten-free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour to make the cake gluten-free.

By following this Chocolate Depression Cake recipe, you’ll not only indulge in a delicious dessert but also take a nostalgic journey back to a time of resilience and resourcefulness. Enjoy every decadent bite of this timeless treat!