Chocolate Wacky Cake Recipe Without Eggs and Milk

4.34 / 5 ( 3 Reviews )
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This cake is known by several names and there are several variations out there! You may know it as Depression cake, war cake, poor man’s cake, milkless eggless butterless cake, cake pan cake, crazy cake, or wacky cake.

It was made commonly during the Great Depression due to milk, butter, and eggs being either too expensive or hard to come by. Even to this day, it’s still popular! It’s easy to make and great for when you’re in a pinch.

Wacky cake without eggs, milk, and butter

How to Make Chocolate Cake Without Eggs, Milk or Butter

One of my favorite things about this crazy cake recipe is that you can mix it all up in one pan. This makes cleanup a breeze!

That being said, there is an alternative mixing method which can be beneficial in certain situations, so I’ve added that below. I’ve also added cupcake instructions further below!

And if you need more recipes that you can easily make from items in your pantry, check out my new Pantry Raid Cookbook!


If you’ve seen our healthier no-bake cookies recipe before, you know that when it comes to cocoa powder, I prefer the flavor of half natural unsweetened cocoa and half Dutch-process or Special Dark cocoa. So that’s what I do with this cake and it turns out chocolatey and delicious!

Feel free to substitute milk for the water in this cake recipe for a slightly richer cake. Brewed coffee is another water substitute option to amp up the flavor.

If you have espresso powder, go ahead and add ½ teaspoon espresso powder to the dry ingredients!

As far as the vegetable oil goes, you could use any light oil that doesn’t have a distinct flavor. I actually use avocado oil in almost all of my cooking and baking right now.

Want a wacky vanilla cake rather than chocolate?

To make it a vanilla cake, try leaving out the cocoa and increasing the vanilla extract from 1 teaspoon to 1 ½ teaspoons.

Step 1. Mix Dry Ingredients

 flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda in cake pan

As I said above, mix the dry ingredients (and everything going forward) directly in your cake pan. Either use a whisk or fork to blend them together.

Step 2. Make Wells for Vinegar, Vanilla, and Oil

Vanilla, vinegar, and oil in wells made in dry ingredients

The reason for adding each wet ingredient into separate wells in the dry ingredients is to simply make everything mix together better and easier. Since we’re mixing things directly in the pan with a fork, it will help a lot.

Step 3. Add Water

Water poured over ingredients in cake pan

You don’t have to be particular about adding the water. Just pour it over everything in the pan.

Step 4. Mix Batter and Bake

Mixed chocolate wacky cake batter ready to bake

After all of the ingredients have been added, use a fork to stir them together until well blended, as seen in the image above. Now you’re ready to bake! 30-35 minutes at 350° should do it.

Use a toothpick in the center of the cake to make sure it’s done. The toothpick should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

Cake Serving Ideas

This chocolate crazy cake is delicious on its own, but there are lots of yummy topping ideas to make it even better.

Ingredients for optional chocolate frosting

You can use the simple chocolate ganache frosting recipe below to ice the cake. It’s a simple mix of half and half, and semisweet chocolate chips (see image above). To keep it dairy-free, use ⅓ cup cold-brewed coffee or water in place of the half and half.

Another option is to simply top with a dusting of powdered sugar.

In the mood for a chocolate buttercream? This is my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe. The cream cheese frosting in this sour cream sugar cookies recipe is an excellent choice too. Or simply top with whipped cream. Yum!

One other thing: I always enjoy chocolate cake served with a scoop of ice cream! So there are lots of options, choose your favorite or try a few different ones.

Wacky cake recipe vanilla or chocolate

Alternate Mixing Instructions

I love that this wacky cake is made right in the cake pan and doesn’t dirty any other bowls, but if you’d like another method that still works well, here you go…

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vanilla, vinegar, oil, and water.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the cake pan.

If you intend to turn the cake out of the pan and onto a cooling rack or serving plate, this method with two mixing bowls is the way to go. When you mix the batter in the pan, it does not come out of the pan as easily.

Cupcake Instructions

If you want to make wacky cake cupcakes, use the alternate mixing method above, then portion the batter into a standard 12-cup muffin pan, lined with lightly greased cupcake liners. Bake for 18-20 minutes in a preheated 375° F oven.

How to make chocolate cake without eggs, milk, and butter

Final Thoughts

For a chocolate cake without milk, eggs, and butter, it’s surprisingly tasty, moist, and versatile. Even if you already have eggs milk and butter on hand, it’s still a great cake to make if you’re looking for a quick craving buster.

If you’re still a bit skeptical, I highly recommend just giving it a try! You will not regret it 🙂

Let me know if you have any questions by leaving a comment below! I’d love to hear your feedback on the recipe too!

More Cake Recipes:

Chocolate cake without eggs and milk

Wacky cake without eggs, milk, and butter

Chocolate Wacky Cake Recipe Without Eggs and Milk

Moist and delicious chocolate cake without eggs, milk, or butter! Super simple and quick to make.
4.34 / 5 ( 3 Reviews )
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 9
Adjust Servings: 9






  • Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan or a 9” round pan that is at least 2 inches deep.
  • Add the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda directly to the pan. Use a fork or a whisk to mix it all together, until well combined.
  • Create three indentations or wells in the dry ingredients. Add vanilla to the first well, vinegar to second, and oil in the third. Then pour the water over everything in the pan. Use a fork to stir the ingredients together until well blended.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs. Serve from the pan.
  • For the optional frosting: Gradually heat chocolate chips with the half and half, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour over cooled cake.
  • Cover cake and store at room temperature for several days, or freeze.


Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Sodium: 262mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 33g
Ingredients: All-purpose flour, Baking Soda, Chocolate Chips, Cocoa Powder, Half and Half, Salt, Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Vegetable Oil, Vinegar, Water
Meal Type: Desserts, #StayHome
Categories: Cakes and Cupcakes, Oven

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