Budget Chocolate Depression Cake

Chocolate cake

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  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: Serves 16
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
258 Calories
12g Fat
37g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 16
Amount per serving
Calories 258
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 1g 6%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 310mg 13%
Total Carbohydrate 37g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Protein 2g
Calcium 29mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Luxuries such as butter and eggs were scarce during the years of the Great Depression, but savvy cooks still managed to produce better-than-satisfying cakes. The ingredients lists of Depression cake recipes only vaguely resemble those of modern ones, with baking soda and vinegar doing the job of eggs and vegetable oil instead of butter.

This dish is sometimes referred to as the wacky cake because you can mix and bake it all in one pan if you want, this unpretentious confection brought the celebration to the table of many struggling households. The fact that Depression cake recipes have endured well beyond the country's economic recovery should vouch for their deliciousness. This makes a great cake for people with dairy allergies or who eat a vegan diet.


  • 3 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 10 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water

Steps to Make It

  1. Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

  2. Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir with a large spoon until smooth and well combined.

  3. Pour batter into the pan.

  4. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  5. Set the pan on a wire rack until the cake top feels completely cool to the touch.

  6. Frost with your favorite frosting.