How To Make Crazy Cake Without Butter, Milk, Eggs Or Bowls

We don’t know about you, but being in quarantine has caused us to up our baking game. We’ve experimented with new recipes and ingredients, dug out old cookbooks and discovered new food bloggers. Whether we’re baking to help us deal with stress or because we and our families are eating more, we have to admit that we’ve enjoyed our time in the kitchen in recent weeks.

One of the great challenges of baking during quarantine has been finding all of the necessary ingredients for a particular recipe. But, thanks to the internet and the creativity of those who lived through challenging times before us, we have access to many recipes that fit the bill when ingredients are in short supply.

One of those recipes is for Depression Cake (also called Crazy Cake, Wacky Cake or War Cake). Depression Cake was commonly made during the Great Depression and requires little or no milk, sugar, butter or eggs because those items were scares during that time. What makes this cake so appealing is that many of the ingredients can be replaced with similar ingredients and will still achieve a similar result, allowing you to use items that you already have on hand. For instance, melted butter, shortening or olive oil can replace the vegetable oil.

The Betty Crocker Cooking School of the Air is credited with creation of the Crazy Cake. Radio listeners tuned in to the program for practical, budget-friendly recipes, including Depression Cake which was dubbed “the most worthwhile cake ever made.”

And, if you’re as tired of washing dishes as we are, you’ll love that only one bowl is needed for this simple recipe. Just dump all of your dry ingredients into your baking dish and whisk. Then stir in your wet ingredients and put it in the oven. Easy peasy!

Many current Depression Cake recipes call for peanut butter or chocolate frosting, but for a true Depression Cake experience we recommend simply dusting it with powdered sugar. ENJOY!



  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cooled brewed coffee (or water)


  1. Preheat to 375°F.
  2. In an ungreased 8-inch round or square pan, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and the sugar. Poke three holes into the mix. Pour the vanilla, vinegar, and oil into each hole.
  3. Add the coffee and stir the ingredients until well blended. Add to the pan.
  4. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the top is set and toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan, then top with the frosting of your choice or dust with powdered sugar.

NOTE: To bake this cake in a 9 x 11 – inch baking dish, just double the ingredients.

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