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+ servings
A slice of rich chocolate cake with chocolate icing on it's side

Chocolate Depression Cake

5 from 1 vote
Call it chocolate depression cake, crazy cake or wacky cake - this simple chocolate cake recipe remains the same! No eggs, no butter, no milk, no mixer, and it's all made in one bowl. The result is a moist, rich, fudgy sweet chocolate cake that's perfect for when you're low on fresh ingredients.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 16 slices (or 9 large slices)


Chocolate Cake

  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional, but encouraged
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar

Chocolate Icing

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • pinch salt, to cut sweetness


Chocolate Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350°F, and prepare an 8x8" baking dish with parchment paper and nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon, and whisk to combine.
  • Add water, oil, vanilla and vinegar and whisk until fully combined.
  • Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool for at least 1 hour or until completely cooled before you make your icing.

Chocolate Icing

  • In a medium bowl, combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and water and whisk to combine.
  • Give it a taste and if it's too sweet, add a pinch of salt and whisk again to combine.
  • The icing should be thick, but pourable. If you need to thin it out more, add ½ tablespoon water at a time and whisk to combine after each addition until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Pour the icing on top of the cake and use a spatula to spread it evenly over the top of the cake. The icing will set relatively quickly, so you won't have to wait long to slice the cake into 9-16 pieces, serve and enjoy!


Storage: Store in an airtight container (or cover the cake with plastic wrap) at room temperature for up to 5 days. It will keep longer in the refrigerator, but keep it tightly covered to keep it from drying out.
Freezing: Let the cake cool completely after being, then wrap the unfrosted cake in several layers of plastic wrap, followed my aluminum foil, and then place it inside a freezer-safe bag or container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. When you're ready to frost and serve the cake, let the frozen cake come to room temperature before frosting (about 3 hours).
Cupcakes: To make as cupcakes instead of sheet cake, fill each cupcake tin about ¾ full with the cake batter, and bake for about half the time indicated in the recipe card - around 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs.


Calories: 185kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 143mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
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