Crazy Cake!

  • Yield : 1 Cake
  • Prep Time : 5m
  • Cook Time : 30m
  • Ready In : 35m

I’m not joking – you can prep this amazingly moist chocolate cake in less than five minutes.  You don’t even use a bowl.

I know what you all are thinking – healthy eating with a cup of sugar?!  I hear you.  (And I need to preface this by saying I’m not a nutritionalist – none of us are) But I believe in burnout.  One can become exhausted by over doing anything.  So to avoid it, you need to pace yourself.  Eating healthy is paramount, obviously, but every once and awhile you need to treat yourself!  So why not do it with some crazy cake?  Ok, so this sounds like a justification, and it is, but I have a huge sweet tooth and I have to feel OK about posting this recipe to this particular forum.

This cake, however, isn’t my recipe.  It’s my Mom’s.  She found it over 30 years ago, as she said “when you were only a small boy and had never even heard of veganism, nor had I for that matter.”  Whenever I’m home visiting, I can be sure a crazy cake is waiting for me.

So on to the recipe.  Its super easy, really moist, I would bet you have all the ingredients in your pantry all ready and its a great recipe to do with the kids in your life!


  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons of Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons of Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup of Lukewarm Water


Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350

Step 2

Sift all the dry ingredients into an ungreased 8" cake pan and spread.

Step 3

Use your finger to make three holes in the dry ingredients. Put the vanilla in one hole, the vinegar in the second hole and vegetable oil in the third hole. Pour the water over everything and stir until the batter is smooth. Make sure to get the corners of the pan!

Step 4

Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until the cake starts to shrink in from the sides.

Step 5

Top it with whatever, but I like powdered sugar and fruit. You know, to keep it healthy.

Jake switched to a plant based diet in 1996 and quickly realized he had no idea how to cook. All these years later and he's still trying to figure it out...

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

  • Cholesterol


Comments (21)

  1. posted by Jake on May 26, 2012

    A little background on this recipe that my friend Ariana shared with me:

    What makes it cooler is that this is also commonly called “wacky cake” or “Depression Cake.” Back when eggs and milk were scarce during the Depression, people had to learn how to (*gasp*) bake without eggs or milk. Hence, the inception of the the crazy/wacky/depression cake.

  2. posted by Melia on May 29, 2012

    Making this tomorrow and topping it with coconut ice cream and fruit. Great easy recipe. Thank you!

    • posted by Toni on May 30, 2012

      Awesome! Please let us know how it tastes — or even better, we’d love to see a photo of how it turns out!

  3. posted by keri marion on June 4, 2012

    How fantastic! I love depression-era cooking for both its resourcefulness and its frugality. It’s amazing how delicious things can come from simple combining. Thank you!

  4. posted by Kat on June 13, 2012

    Depression cake is one of my favorites! I always add a large spoonful of applesauce for extra moistness, and sprinkle the top with chocolate chips!

  5. posted by Kathryn on October 30, 2012

    This looks really good…usually I spend time trying to veganzie recipies. I may have to try to healthify (that is a real word I swear) this one a bit. 🙂

  6. posted by jennifer on January 21, 2013

    I just tried the crazy cake recipe, and it was so easy to execute. I only put a half cup of sugar and added a couple spoons of applesauce like another poster suggested. The cake was moist and chocolaty. Thanks for the recipe!

    • posted by Jake on January 22, 2013

      I’m glad the applesauce worked well and that you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing!

  7. posted by Josie on February 9, 2013

    I’m gonna try this with Sugar in the Raw. Looking forward to it!

  8. posted by Amy on April 24, 2013

    Love this recipe… I only use 1/2 cup sugar and substitute coconut oil for vegetable oil.

  9. posted by jody on April 27, 2013

    I LOVE your recipes!! — so I am not a big chocolate fan. Have you or has anyone tried it simply leaving out the cocoa, to make a vanilla cake? THANK YOU so much for this awesome website – helping to prove ‘anything you can eat I can eat vegan!’.! Yay! stop supporting the insane cruelty animals endure – go vegan!

    • posted by Chessie on July 31, 2014

      Same here, not a huge fan of chocolate. If you like peanut butter, that might work as a flavoring. Or cherries, maybe, chopped fine or pureed, sort of a cherry vanilla cake? I’ll have to try these.

      Happy Depression cake!

  10. posted by Kessa on April 27, 2013

    This sounds really good. I was just wondering if anybody has tried this without the oil – substituting applesauce for it?

    • posted by Edith Tsacle on April 28, 2013

      I was thinking the same thing–I will try it.

  11. posted by Toni on July 1, 2013

    I’ve passed this recipe on to many non-vegan friends and family members who were looking to make an easy plant-based cake recipe. They have all loved it!

  12. posted by kathryn newberry on April 15, 2014

    Did it with GF pancake mix (which I use as flour)….delicious!

  13. posted by Tammy on October 18, 2015

    i used whole wheat pastry flour, substituted the oil spoon for spoon with applesauce, added an extra tablespoon of cocoa, and it turned out wonderful. good all by itself, but i made a chocolate drizzle with a few tablespoons of cocoa, and maple syrup and agave, plus a little splash of almond milk. will put strawberries on top next time. a great and versatile recipe as you can do endless variations. thanks for the recipe!

  14. posted by toni on August 6, 2017

    why do you have to put three circles in the powered mix while in the pan. i can’t just mix it in a bowl then pour into the pan? sorry if I’m overthinking just new to cooking this way, Thanks!

    • posted by Toni Okamoto on August 7, 2017

      Hi Toni! I like your name. 😉 There’s no particular reason he put three circles, and the only reason he did it in a pan instead of a bowl was to avoid washing one more dish. You can do it whatever way is easiest for you.

  15. posted by Denise on September 1, 2017

    Is this 350 F or C. Thanks

  16. posted by betty on September 27, 2017

    delicious 🙂


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