Depression Cake In 8 Steps for a Simple and Delicious Treat

Depression cake recipe

Depression cake is a no fuss recipe

Depression Cake recipes rely on basic ingredients like flour, sugar, baking soda, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water. These simple ingredients were readily available and affordable, making it possible for families to enjoy a homemade treat even during difficult times.

Depression Cake: A Sweet Remedy from Challenging Times

Depression Cake, also known as Wacky Cake or Crazy Cake, is a humble yet delicious dessert that originated during the Great Depression era in the 1930s. Born out of necessity when ingredients like eggs, butter, and milk were scarce and expensive, this cake exemplifies the resourcefulness and creativity of home bakers during challenging times. We’ll also explore the history of Depression Cake and provide you with a delightful recipe that continues to bring comfort and joy to this day.

A Brief History

During the Great Depression, economic hardship was widespread, and families had to find ways to stretch their limited resources. Traditional cake ingredients like eggs, butter, and milk were often luxuries many couldn’t afford. As a result, resourceful home bakers devised a recipe that utilized pantry staples and omitted these expensive ingredients.

Recipe for Depression Cake:


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


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square or round cake pan.

  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir well to ensure the dry ingredients are evenly mixed.

  3. Create three wells or indentations in the dry mixture. Pour the vinegar into one well, the vanilla extract into another, and the vegetable oil into the third.

  4. Pour the water over the entire mixture and stir until the batter is smooth and well combined. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, spreading it evenly.

  6. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  7. Once baked, remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the pan for a few minutes. Then, transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

  8. You can enjoy the Depression Cake as is or dust it with powdered sugar, frost it with your favorite icing, or serve it with a scoop of ice cream for an extra special treat.

The Significance of Depression Cake

Beyond its economic significance, Depression Cake holds a cultural and emotional significance as well. It represents the resilience and ingenuity of people during difficult times. Baking this cake was a way for families to enjoy a sweet treat and find comfort amidst the struggles of the Great Depression. Today, Depression Cake continues to be a reminder of the strength and resourcefulness that helped individuals and families persevere during challenging periods.

Depression Cake is more than just a recipe

It is a symbol of resilience and creativity during difficult times. With its simple yet delicious combination of pantry staples, this cake offers a sweet taste of history and a connection to the past. Whether you’re baking it to honor the resourcefulness of previous generations or simply to enjoy a delightful and budget-friendly treat, Depression Cake is a reminder that even in the toughest of times, there is still room for a little sweetness and joy.