Wacky Cake Recipe (Chocolate Depression Cake) » Joyful Dumplings

Wacky Cake, also known as Chocolate Depression Cake, is sure to change your cake game. It’s perfect for when you’re craving something chocolatey.

goofy cake

What’s really cool about this Wacky Cake is how it brings everyone into the fold. Got friends or family who are vegan? They’re covered. Need a quick dessert for an impromptu dinner party? This cake has your back.

And if you’re just looking to satisfy a midnight chocolate craving without the guilt or the fuss, well, say no more.

This cake is as inclusive as it gets, and that’s before you even get into the variations you can play with. No eggs, no dairy, no problem. It’s naturally vegan and ridiculously easy to make.

Seriously, give this Wacky Cake a try. It’s easy, delicious, and you can tweak it however you like. Plus, it’s perfect for sharing… or not. I won’t judge!

crazy cake vanilla
  • No eggs, no dairy. This cake is naturally vegan-friendly, making it a great recipe for everyone to enjoy.
  • The phrase “it’s so easy” truly applies here. Even if you’ve never made a cake before, this recipe is foolproof. 
  • The cake is ready to eat straight from the oven, but it also stores well. 
  • Forget about dusting off the stand mixer; all you need is a whisk, a baking pan, and some elbow grease. 
  • For those on dairy-free diets, finding a delicious chocolate cake that meets these criteria can be challenging. This recipe not only delivers on taste but also adheres to these dietary restrictions.
  • The simplicity and delicious outcome of this cake make it a great option for impressing guests or treating yourself. 
  • A homemade Wacky Cake makes for a thoughtful and unique gift. Wrap it nicely, maybe in a square pan covered with, and share the love with friends and family.

Serves: 9 squares | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Bake Time: 35 minutes | Assembly Time: 5 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes

recipe for wacky cake


  • 1 3/4 cup/210g all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup/255g light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup/60g cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp/3g salt
  • 2 tsp/8g baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp/2g baking soda
  • 1/2 cup/120ml neutral oil (I use grapeseed oil)
  • 1 1/4 cup/295ml oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)*
  • 1 tsp/5ml vanilla extract


  • 3/4 cup/165g vegan butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups/300g powdered sugar
  • 6 tbsp/30g cocoa powder

Make the cake:

vanilla wacky cake

1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175 C. Grease or line an 8” x 8”/20cm x 20cm baking tin with parchment. In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to evenly distribute everything.

2. Create a well in the center and pour in oat milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.

3. Pour into prepared baking tin and shake to level. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

4. Allow to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before removing and allow to cool completely.

Make the frosting:

chocolate crazy cake

1. Combine all the frosting ingredients in a bowl.

2. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed, slowly incorporating all the powdered sugar.

3. Increase the speed and beat until very fluffy, 3-5 minutes.

4. Assemble the cake: Dollop frosting on top and spread evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with any desired toppings (sprinkles, chocolate flakes, candied citrus zest, mini vegan marshmallows).


  • Serve immediately or can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Individual slices can be stored in the freezer (wrapped individually in plastic before being placed in an airtight container) for up to 1 month.

* Flavour variations:

– For a more nuanced version, replace the neutral oil with olive oil and use red wine in place of half the milk and 1 tsp/2g ground cinnamon with the dry ingredients.

– The milk can also be replaced with orange juice and 2 tsp/4g orange zest for orange chocolate cake. Add some orange zest or extract to the frosting for extra citrus flavor.

crazy cake recipe

🍮Coffee – Add a touch of coffee. It turns that chocolate flavor up a notch and makes the cake taste like something from a fancy café. Just brewed coffee or cold coffee will do the trick.

🍮Salt – A pinch of salt? Yup. It makes the chocolate flavor and sweet treat vibes pop even more. 

🍮 Peanut butter frosting, vanilla cake icing, or espresso powder – Go for different frosting options. Peanut butter frosting, vanilla cake icing, or even something with espresso powder could be epic.

🍮 Mint or basil – Hear me out – a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh herbs could bring a refreshing twist. Imagine the combo of rich chocolate with a hint of mint!

🍮Coconut oil and toasted coconut flakes – Coconut oil instead of your usual neutral oil gives the cake a slight tropical vibe. And hey, sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes on top of the cake. It’s a nice touch that makes it a bit more special.

🍮 Cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin spice – Around the holidays, spice up with a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, or even pumpkin spice. It turns your regular Wacky Cake smells as good as it tastes.

🍮 Food coloring – If you’re making this for a party, why not add a few drops of food coloring to the cake? You could make a rainbow cake, or just tint it to match the party theme. Kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) love it.

 🍮 Chopped nuts, seeds, or avocado – Add some crunch by mixing in some chopped nuts or seeds into the batter. Or for a smoother, more decadent texture, blend in some avocado – it makes the cake super moist without tasting like, well, avocado.

🍮 Cupcake variation – Pour the batter into a lined muffin tin and transform the recipe into cupcakes. They bake faster, and you get to enjoy the cake in cute, portion-controlled sizes. Perfect for when you want to share or just treat yourself.

chocolate wacky cake


Transform your Wacky Cake into a coffee lover’s dream by adding instant coffee or brewed coffee instead of water. The coffee intensifies the chocolate flavor, making for a rich chocolate cake that’s moist and irresistible. Once cooled, top it with a chocolate frosting mixed with a bit of espresso powder for that extra coffee kick.


Who says Wacky Cake has to be chocolate? Make a vanilla cake version by swapping the cocoa powder for additional flour and adding vanilla extract. Stir in some rainbow sprinkles to the cake batter for a fun, festive look. This is a hit for birthday cakes or any celebration, bringing a pop of color and joy to the table.


Incorporate the zest of one lemon and a tablespoon of lemon juice into the cake batter for a refreshing twist. Fold in a cup of fresh or frozen blueberries. After baking, drizzle with a simple icing made from confectioners sugar and lemon juice. This version is wonderfully moist and perfect for summer gatherings.


Make your Wacky Cake with the usual simple ingredients, then once it’s cooled, drizzle it with homemade or store-bought salted caramel. Add a sprinkle of sea salt on top of the cake for that irresistible sweet and salty combination. This decadent twist is perfect for those who enjoy this cake with a bit more flair.


For a tropical take, use coffee instead of water and add a cup of shredded coconut into the cake batter. Bake as usual, and once cooled, cover with a chocolate frosting that’s been mixed with more shredded coconut. The coconut adds a lovely texture and flavor that pairs beautifully with the chocolate.


Add a teaspoon of mint extract to the cake batter for a refreshing twist on the classic chocolate version. After the cake has cooled, top it with chocolate frosting that also has a bit of mint extract mixed in. This cake is a delicious way to finish a meal on a refreshing note, especially during the warmer months.


  • Unfrosted Cake: If your cake is unfrosted, you can store it at room temperature. Simply cover it with a cake dome or an inverted bowl to keep it from drying out. It will stay fresh for one day.
  • Frosted Cake: A cake with chocolate frosting or any other type of frosting can also be kept at room temperature for a day, provided the frosting doesn’t contain ingredients that spoil quickly, like dairy. Keep it under a cake dome or loosely covered with plastic wrap.


  • Storing for Longer Freshness: If you want to keep the frosted or unfrosted cake fresh for up to three days, place it in the fridge. For the best texture, cover it lightly with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container to prevent it from absorbing other flavors from the refrigerator.
  • Reviving a Chilled Cake: Bring a refrigerated slice to room temperature before serving to ensure the cake and frosting soften, enhancing the flavors and texture.


  • Whole Cakes: For freezing a whole cake, whether frosted or unfrosted, first chill the cake in the refrigerator so the frosting hardens. Then, wrap it in plastic wrap followed by a layer of aluminum foil to protect it from freezer burn. It can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.
  • Cake Slices: Individual cake slices can be frozen for easy snacking. Place slices on a baking sheet to freeze individually, then wrap each piece in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag. This method makes it easy to take out just what you need.
  • Thawing the Cake: Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for a few hours before you plan to enjoy it. For individual slices, you might only need to set them out for about 30 minutes to an hour.


  • Avoiding Freezer Burn: Make sure the cake is wrapped tightly. Freezer burn can affect taste and texture, so the better it’s wrapped, the fresher it will taste.
  • Labeling: When freezing, always label your cake with the date it was frozen. This helps you keep track of how long it has been in the freezer.


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crazy cake



Absolutely! Double the recipe and use a 9×13 pan to bake a larger cake for gatherings. Just ensure to adjust the baking time slightly, checking for doneness with a toothpick to see if the center comes out clean.


The cake cool process is important for the texture and for applying cake frosting. A cooled cake should be at room temperature, which usually takes about an hour. You can speed up the process by placing it on a wire rack.


Definitely! Add the chocolate chips into the cake before you pour the batter into the prepared pan. This will create delightful pockets of melted chocolate throughout the warm cake, enhancing the chocolate flavor.


Fruit can be a wonderful addition to this Wacky Cake. Fresh or frozen berries can be gently folded into the batter before baking. If using frozen fruit, there’s no need to thaw it first, but be aware it might slightly increase the baking time.


Yes, any non-dairy milk will work in this recipe, such as almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk. Each may add a slight flavor variation to the cake, but they all work well for keeping it dairy-free.

goofy cake

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Serve immediately or can be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. Individual slices can be stored in the freezer (wrapped individually in plastic before being placed in an airtight container) for up to 1 month.
* Flavour variations:
– For a more nuanced version, replace the neutral oil with olive oil and use red wine in place of half the milk and 1 tsp/2g ground cinnamon with the dry ingredients.
– The milk can also be replaced with orange juice and 2 tsp/4g orange zest for orange chocolate cake. Add some orange zest or extract to the frosting for extra citrus flavor.

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 91g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 304mg | Potassium: 249mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 788IU | Calcium: 143mg | Iron: 3mg | Net Carbohydrates: 87g

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