This wacky cake is a family favorite. The recipe has been around since the Great Depression. Make it and you’ll see why!Wacky cake: A very old recipe that doesn't disappoint. My go-to chocolate cake recipe!

I have probably made hundreds of cakes in my life. And this is the first one I think of, the one I always keep going back to. It’s a family favorite that we have been making over and over for generations.

Sunday night get-togethers with my grandparents and aunt and uncle often feature a wacky cake.

My mom and grandma used to top it with what they called Egyptian frosting, a sour cream-based sauce with raisins, topped with unsweetened chocolate.

Wacky cake is a staple at church potlucks.

It’s an unfussy crowd-pleaser that doesn’t take a lot of time or cost a lot of money. In fact, the entire recipe costs less than $1.50 to make.

Wacky cake: The classic, no-frills recipe. This cake is eggless.

Why Is It Called Wacky Cake?

My best guess is because it’s egg-less. The recipe dates back to the Depression era, when supplies were tight. It calls for mostly basic kitchen staples that you probably have stocked in your kitchen.

Vintage recipe card: Wacky cake recipe

Why I Love This Cake

I’m not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best, fool-proof chocolate cake recipes out there. Looking at the list of ingredients, this may be hard to imagine. It’s egg-less and calls for vinegar. There’s nothing fancy about it.

But you’ll have to trust me on this.

The end result is an extremely moist and dense chocolate cake. This may very well become your go-to chocolate cake recipe. But you could also try:

Wacky cake recipe

Wacky Cake

Yield: 16 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

This recipe is easily halved. Just use an 8 x 8-inch or 9 x 9-inch cake pan. Otherwise, for the entire recipe printed below, use a standard 9 x 13-inch cake pan.


  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9 x 13-inch cake pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients into a bowl and make a well. Mix liquid ingredients together and pour into the well. Stir together until batter is smooth.
  3. Bake cake for 35 minutes, or until center is set.

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