Wacky Cake – Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe

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Looking for a delicious egg-free and dairy-free cake to make for your family? This simple Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe or Wacky Cake is one of our family’s favorites!

Looking for a delicious egg free and dairy free cake to make for your family? This simple Chocolate Wacky Cake Recipe is one of our family's favorites! #wackycake #eggfreecake

Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe

Our family has been enjoying this delicious chocolate cake for many years now. It’s our go-to recipe for birthdays and other special occasions! It’s very inexpensive because the ingredients are cheap and easy to find. But this cake is so perfectly moist and fluffy. You would never guess it’s eggless, vegan, and dairy free!

This cake has full chocolate flavor, but it’s also known as Wacky Cake or WWII Cake. During the great depression and the second world war, many recipes were made without baking staples such as eggs, butter, and milk which were expensive or hard to get.

Women tried to feed their families with as little money and resources as possible. While there are varying recipes for Depression Cake or Wacky Cake on the internet, this is the one that I’ve been making for a long time with great success. If you prefer, it can also be a good base recipe to add spices or other additions to change the flavor.

I admire those women from the Depression Era (my grandmothers and their mothers included!). They had a skill that we are so lacking in our country today. They could make something out of nothing and were determined to preserver and provide the best they could for their family, no matter what.

Chocolate Cake

Ingredients in Chocolate Egg Free Cake

  • All Purpose Flour. You can also use All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.
  • Sugar. I use plain cane sugar in this recipe but believe it could be replaced with equal amounts of coconut sugar or monk fruit sweetener.
  • Cocoa Powder. If you use cocoa powder often, you should buy it in bulk.
  • Salt. I use sea salt or pink salt, whatever I happen to have on hand.
  • Baking Soda. Find 75 more uses for baking soda here.
  • Vanilla Extract. I use Homemade Vanilla Extract but you can use store-bought as well.
  • Oil. Use mild vegetable oil in this recipe. This is essentially your “egg replacer”. You could also use an equal amount of applesauce if you want to skip the oil.
  • Water. This recipe does not need to use milk or non-dairy milk because it uses water instead! If you are worried about how this will effect the flavor, don’t be.
  • Vinegar. You can use white or apple cider vinegar. This helps to provide the acid in the cake to set off the baking soda.

Old Fashioned Caramel Icing Recipe

Frosting Ideas for the Chocolate Cake Recipe

If you need a simple cream cheese frosting for this. You can mix 8 oz cream cheese, 1 Tablespoon cocoa, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and a few drops of vanilla. Make sure the cake is cooled off before you frost it.

You could also frost it with a simple chocolate ganache if you have cream or frozen heavy cream that you can use.

Some other yummy frosting recipes you could use with this cake recipe are:

For the simplest topping, just sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Chocolate Chips

Variations and Additions to the Egg-Free Chocolate Cake

Bake in 2 round cake pans to make a layer cake.

Bake in lined cupcake pans for chocolate cupcakes.

Add chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, or butterscotch chips to the cake batter for a little different flavor.

Cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8×8 baking dish for a smaller serving size.

Add in chopped nuts.

Give the cake even more flavor by replacing part of the water with brewed coffee.


Why Egg Free Cake?

Eggless Chocolate Cake is perfect if you are looking for a frugal dessert recipe without any expensive ingredients. It’s also great for times when you are out of eggs and milk or during an egg shortage.

What is the Binder for Eggless Cake?

The binder in this eggless cake recipe is the oil.

What Can I Substitute for Eggs in a Cake?

Depending on the recipe, you can substitute aqua faba, gelatin powder, applesauce, banana, or nut butter in the cake in place of eggs. Obviously, some of these will change the flavor of your cake so it’s something to think about before you make that substitution.

Instructions for Making Wacky Cake

In a large mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together until there are no more lumps in the batter mixture.

Pour into an ungreased 9×13 pan and bake at 350F in the oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you are concerned about it sticking to the cake pan, line the pan with parchment paper first. Do not grease or the cake will become too oily.

Let it cool in its own cake tin before frosting.

Need the printable version for this Eggless Chocolate Cake Recipe for your Recipe Binder? Grab it below!

Looking for a delicious egg free and dairy free cake to make for your family? This simple Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe or Wacky Cake is one of our family's favorites! #eggfreecake #wackycake
5 from 1 vote

Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Depression Cake, Egg Free Chocolate Cake Recipe, Wacky Cake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 234 kcal


  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon Vinegar


  1. Mix all ingredients together until there are no more lumps. Pour into an ungreased 9x13 pan and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Trans Fat 0.05g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Sodium 380mg17%
Potassium 89mg3%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 0.4g0%
Protein 4g8%
Calcium 11mg1%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

How to Store Leftover Eggless Chocolate Cake

Any leftover chocolate cake should be stored in an air tight container so that it doesn’t dry out. It can be stored on the countertop or in the fridge.

Extra cake or cupcakes can also be frozen. Just place them in a freezer container or a heavy duty freezer bag (in individual pieces) and freeze until you are ready to enjoy. Make sure the cake is cool before freezing. Hot cake will form ice crystals and ruin the texture and taste of the cake. Thaw at room temperature before enjoying again.

Gluten-Free Egg-Free Chocolate Cake Recipe

Frugal Gluten FreeIf you need to make this recipe gluten-free, replace the flour with All Purpose Gluten Free Flour.

We’ve made it like this many times, in fact, it’s one of the recipes in my gluten free ebook, Frugal Gluten Free. If you are looking for more gluten free baking recipes, I highly recommend checking it out!

Our Tips and Tricks for Making Eggless Chocolate Cake

  • This is a very simple, good beginner’s recipe. It’s wonderful to make it with the kids or let them make it on their own!
  • I always used to make this recipe in cake form, and then I changed to making it in cupcakes. Why? Because they freeze so much better! We make the whole recipe, put it in a cupcake pan, and freeze all extras so we can enjoy for future desserts without any work.
  • Make sure your oven is at temperature before starting the timer. Your time for the cake to finish baking might differ from mine since I’m at a higher elevation. Test the cake to see if a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean before removing it from the oven. Gluten-Free cakes may need to be baked longer.


Do you have experience with egg-free, dairy-free baking? Have you tried this recipe?

Did you make this recipe and enjoy it? Be sure and leave a star rating on the recipe card above and share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and through Email with the sharing buttons below.

This Chocolate Egg Free Cake Recipe was originally posted on Little House Living in April 2011. It has been updated as of February 2023.

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Recipe Rating


    1. Turbinado sugar is unprocessed cane sugar. You can find it at some grocery stores and most health foods stores. We don’t eat processed foods here so that’s the replacement I use. It tastes pretty much the same and is still sugar, not an artificial sweetener.

  1. My mom and grandma have made this for years! I love it-the batter more than the cake. I could just eat that…

  2. I wanted to know if turbinado sugar has the same effect as white sugar? Like sugar can cause diabetes. Cause a spike in your blood. I bought it and like the taste. Used it to make sweet tea. Will use it for all my baking from now on. No more white sugar in this house.

    1. Sugar(white and turbinado), honey, and succanat are all still sweeteners. The reason we use turbinado over white is because it’s not chemically processed or altered. It should still be enjoyed in moderation:)

    2. Sugar does not cause diabetes. That’s a common myth. Eating a lot of sugar can cause weight issues that make you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes (especially if it runs in your family), but the sugar itself is not to blame.

      Turbinado sugar is lower on the Glycemic Index so it won’t raise blood sugar as much as processed white sugar does. GI rating for turbinado is 60 (on a scale of 100, lower being better) and for white sugar it’s 80. The lowest sweetener that I know of as far as GI is Stevia which is rated less than 1.

      1. Responsing to “Molly”, who I assume is a sugar industry spokesman, why would high blood sugar readings NOT be caused by eating sugar?
        My husband has Type II diabetes, and he was a sugar addict, and still is and his blood sugar numbers reflect his intake of candy, cookies, etc.

        1. You assume wrongly. My husband and one son are Type 1 diabetic, and I’ve never worked for the sugar industry. The stuff won’t even grow where I live. Also, may name actually is Molly.

          ALL carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise, not just sugar. The idea that sugar alone is to blame for diabetes is a myth that has been debunked by the scientific community. If you don’t believe me you can look it up for yourself or ask a doctor.

        2. It occurred to me after I responded that the issue here is symptoms versus the disease. High blood sugars are a symptom of diabetes, but they are not the disease, and they don’t cause it. When non-diabetics eat carbs, our blood sugar goes up, but our bodies respond to that as designed and release more insulin to turn those carbs into energy. In diabetics, that normal response doesn’t occur.

          For Type 1 diabetics the immune system has attacked the islet cells in the pancreas and destroyed them, with the result that they no longer produce insulin. This is why they must take insulin.

          For Type 2 it can be that the pancreas is producing less insulin, or that for some reason the body is simply not processing the insulin normally. There are medications that can help with this. Some Type 2 diabetics do end up with Type 1, but Type 1 remains an auto-immune disorder.

          The main risk factors for Type 2 are being overweight, and a family history of Type 2. Eating a lot of sugar will contribute to weight problems, as will eating a lot of carbs in general. Extra weight always put stress on our bodies and is indicated as a risk factor in many diseases. For some people, losing weight helps with or even eliminates Type 2 diabetes.

          It used to be thought that diabetics couldn’t eat anything with sugar in it, now we know that it is possible for them to eat sugar but it should be done in moderation and with the appropriate insulin or medication to help the body turn the carbs into energy.

  3. You should see how big my eyes are right now, my mouth is watering and I am going to Whole Foods to see if I can find that sugar.

  4. LOOKS SO GOOD! What kind of flour and oil do you use for your baking? Im starting to cut out all processed ingredients but need a little help with what to use instead of 🙂 Love this blog by the way!

  5. Pingback: 2012-08-24: Fabulous Friday Finds « surviving the food allergy apocalypse
  6. Pingback: 2012-09-28 Fabulous Friday Finds « surviving the food allergy apocalypse
  7. My kids and I made this last night. It was incredibly easy to make, and was nice to be able to make something without having to go to the store to get ingredients or a mix. I was amazed at how moist and full of flavor this cake is! I will never buy a cake mix again! Thank you so much for this and all of the other recipes you have shared with us! 🙂

  8. I was allergic to milk as a kid, and my mom made this for me a lot. It was my favorite cake, and since my mom passed away when I was young, I searched and searched for this recipe. Thank you so much for sharing it! I just love the internet! This is one of my comfort foods. Making this tonight!

  9. I remember my mom using vinegar for this cake. You made three little holes in the dry ingredients, then put oil in one, vanilla in one, and one had the vinegar in it I think. Then you poured the water over all of it and stirred the mix. Hmm. I will make this and see if it tastes like I remember. Maybe I’m confusing this with puddle cake recipes I’ve found since I started my wacky cake search!

    1. Kathleen,
      I make the cake you are referring to all the time. I found it under the name crazy cake. So funny how close the two recipes are, I actually read through the one posted here thinking I just over looked the vinegar. It is yummy and seems to be even more moist the second day! I want to try this one as well, looks just as tasty.

    1. You could try and use it in the place of the other oil although I’m not sure exactly how it would turn out being that coconut oil has a little different consistency (you could always sub applesauce instead of the oil!). If you try it though let us know!

  10. Ok thanks. I’ve been using coconut oil for everything lately. Cooking, baking, moisturizing. Haha. I’m making this cake for my daughters 1st birthday and want to make it a little healthier. Can’t wait for her to have it!

      1. Yes it did, Mandy. I changed the 2 cups of flour to 1 cup of Brown Rice Flour, 1 cup of White Rice Flour, 1/2 cup of Sweet Rice Flour, and 1/2 cup of Cornstarch. Any standard GF blend should work well.

  11. I am breastfeeding and have recently had to eliminate dairy from my diet due to my daughter having an intolerance. Let me tell you, it has been hard! Thank you for this recipe, it was delicious and solves my chocolate and cake cravings!

  12. You forgot two tablespoons of vinegar! I have been making this cake for 35 years! I have recipe memorized by heart.

  13. hi
    the cake looks awesome. I want to
    try it out sooner. In your ingredients list you use T for some. what does it mean. does it mean teaspoon or tablespoons.

    1. I haven’t made them as cupcakes but I’m sure you could. I’m not sure on the time or yield though since I have yet to make them that way. If you try it let us know!

      1. I made these tonight as cupcakes and I baked 12 with a pint and a half mason jar worth of batter left over. So I’m going to estimate it would probably yield 20-24 cupcakes!

  14. If I can’t find the same sugar your recipe calls for what is best to use as a replacement? Granulated sugar or powdered sugar? Not going to use artificial sweeteners.. This cake looks amazing by the way 🙂

  15. I just made the cake and it tastes delicious!!!
    It is soo simple, so few ingredients and you can make a delicious cake!

    I was just wondering, for a strict paleo version, how could I replace the sugar and the flour? Maybe almond flour..? Not sure how to replace the sugar though..

    Thanks for all the tips!

    1. I’m not sure, I haven’t replaced the ingredients in this recipe before and I haven’t used almond flour so I’m not sure how it would act. The sugar could be replaced with a coconut sugar or something similar.

  16. When I’ve made this recipe in the past I have found that the cake sticks to the pan and I cannot get it out to frost it (I cooked it in two round cake pans so I could make a double layer cake. I’ve also made cupcakes and they are so sticky and hard to get out). Any suggestions? I’ve always sprayed the pans first. Is this my mistake?

    1. What are you using to spray the pans? If you can have dairy I would suggest coating the pan with a bit of butter and a light dusting of flour before putting the batter in. If you can’t have dairy you can get a similar result by using cooking spray on the pan first to coat and then dusting in flour.

  17. This is is similar to the recipe I got when my cousin gave me my 1st cookbook when I was in 6th grade. It was called Cookbook for Kids. I made the recipe so much as a teenager. Mine calls for vinegar. I even made it for youth group at church & had an older lady ask me for the recipe, It is very good!

  18. I just found your website a couple of weeks ago! I made this last night and it was delicious.I also made your Tried and True Banana Bread and it was a hit. I’m looking forward to learning more about buying in bulk on a budget from your site. Thanks for all the info and yummy recipes!

  19. I’m sure there are different qualities of Turbinado sugar, the one I can get locally is labelled as sugar and molasses. 🙁 Tastes good though, very crunchy.
    ps great cake!!!!

  20. I tried the cake and it was wonderful. I also made the frosting but it was not to my liking, it had a bitter taste. Did i do something wrong like use the wrong sugar or not enough? I used regular sugar.

    1. It’s definitely not a sweet frosting so it’s possible that it may have tasted a little bit our sour from the brand/type of cream cheese used.

  21. The chocolate cake recipe I have used for many years is quite similar but all cake and cookie recipes I use I cut the sugar ingredient in half. Most of them are too sweet. I’m passing on your site to my nieces and friends -via e-mail – I hate face book as so many just seem to use it to pass around pictures of people you don’ know.
    Rose Marie

  22. 5 stars
    Hello Melissa,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it for the first time last night. It was rich in chocolaty flavor and very moist. I’m especially excited over the moisture content because I used fresh-milled soft white wheat and I’m still trying to figure out baking layer cake-type recipes.

    My question is about using turbinado. I added it to the mixture and stirred it in by hand. I love that I only had to use one bowl. : } My issue is that the sugar/turbinado did’t dissolve and you can feel the grainy texture as you eat the cake. Is it possible that I missed a step or can you suggest a way to resolve this?

    I thought about heating up the water and adding the turbinado to it to dissovle first and allowing it to cool before adding it to the other ingredients.

    Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

    1. You can use any kind of sugar in this recipe…with turbinado you might want to let it sit in the batter for a bit to help it dissolve or you could also grind it first so you don’t have such large pieces in the batter.

      1. Thank you. I will grind it next time. I was excited to see turbinado as an option and wanted to try it since I had some.

  23. My mom used to make Wacky Cake often. It was one of our family favorites and often the cake that was requested for birthdays. It is so moist and delicious.

  24. I, too, have made this for many years. it is delicious and easy and my family has loved it and shared it with friends who’s child could not eat eggs or milk and needed a birthday cake recipe. This was perfect for them.
    One thing I would add that I do is put all the dry ingredients in the pan and make 3 holes. Put the vanilla, oil and vinegar in the separate holes and pour the water over all. Then mix it up with a fork. I have never had it stick to the pan. : )

  25. Love this eggless cake idea. Can’t wait to try it. And the fact I can half the recipe is a plus for a widow. Thank you Little House Living.
    Carol in California