Skip to Content

Chocolate Crazy Cake

Please share

Chocolate crazy cake that is devilishly good without eggs or butter.  This cake is rich, moist, delicious and super simple to put together. All you need is a bowl, a whisk, some pantry staples and a little bit of time.

slice of moist chocolate layer cake with shiny chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

This is my go to chocolate cake recipe! I use it as the base almost every time I need chocolate cake.

It is so easy to make. You can do it with a mixing bowl and whisk, no fancy equipment or ingredients required! It is sure to win you over as well!

I found this old fashioned chocolate cake recipe a magazine years ago and it quickly became my go to chocolate cake. It is so easy to put together and makes the softest chocolate cake we have ever had.

It is just a classic cake with rich chocolate flavor covered in a fudgy frosting.  What’s not to love about that?

layered chocolate cake with shiny chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Why We Love This Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake Recipe

It is a rich, moist cake that begs for you to get every last crumb. The texture is soft and inviting too.

There is no mixer needed, nothing fancy to do.  Just ingredients that I always have in my pantry.  In less than an hour, with no softening of any ingredients, you have a cake!

If you are worried about the coffee granules in the recipe, don’t be.  Not one person detected it.  It just makes the chocolate flavor deeper (and doesn’t hurt the color either!)

I have gone back to this recipe as a base every time I have needed a chocolate cake for another application.  As it turns out, I need a lot of chocolate cake… so that is really saying something!

I have used it instead of a cake mix when making a Ding Dong Cake.  It really comes together just as quickly as opening the box and I don’t have to remember to pick a mix up at the store.

devilishly good chocolate cake with shiny fudge frosting and sprinkles

Chocoholics love it when we finish the cake with shiny fudge frosting. It is smooth, luscious and that natural shine looks so inviting.

When using the fudge frosting, the middle layer of frosting almost melts into the layers of cake in such a luscious way.  Mmmm!

slice of devilishly good chocolate cake with caramel frosting

If you aren’t in the mood for fudge frosting, never fear! There are so many great options. We really loved the creamy caramel sweetened condensed milk frosting on it as well!

This recipe doesn’t always have to be made as a layer cake either.  It bakes great in a 9×13 and is an excellent base for something like a rolo poke cake!

The caramel makes delicious pockets of goodness in the cake and a nice fluffy ermine frosting coats it all!

piece of rolo poke cake with caramel, fluffy frosting and rolos

I’ve also baked it up into mini bundt cakes and served it with peanut butter whipped cream. So as you can see, this recipe is super versatile.

Pretty much anything you need a chocolate cake recipe for, this beauty can fill in. Plus you are likely to have most of the ingredients on hand already!

platter of mini chocolate bundt cakes with chocolate drizzle glaze and mini chocolate chips.

Tips and Tricks:

This recipe is super versatile, use it for a 9″ layer cake, bake it in a 9×13″ pan or even make cupcakes or mini bundts out of it. 

One of my favorite parts about this recipe is there are no ingredients that need to come to room temperature. You can whip up a cake whenever you feel like it.

slice of chocolate sheet cake with fluffy chocolate buttercream on top
Devilishly good chocolate cake baked in a 9×13″ pan with fluffy chocolate buttercream.

You don’t need any fancy equipment for the cake, just a bowl and whisk will do. Just make sure to get all of the flour incorporated without over mixing it. That’s the key for a tender cake.

Have fun with it! This cake is a perfect starter cake if you want to get into making homemade cakes.  It is also a great easy recipe for seasoned bakers.

There is a reason it gets rave reviews from everyone who makes it. Do yourself a favor and give it a go!

Dairy and Egg Free Batter

When you look at the ingredient list, don’t be surprised to find there are no eggs.  It seems really strange, but it is correct… no eggs.

I think that is part of what gives the cake it’s great soft texture.  I have plenty of cake recipes with eggs and those a great too, but in this instance the recipe is perfect without.

I have had several people ask me if it’s an accident that they aren’t in the ingredient list.  While I do occasionally make mistakes like that, I assure you this time it is on purpose.

hand with whisk in mixing bowl of chocolate cake batter

There is no butter or milk in the batter either.  So the cake is great for people with sensitivities or even people who are vegan.

You will have to pick another frosting for sure, but the cake itself is the perfect base for whatever you decide to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you add vinegar to this cake?

The vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create the bubbles that give your cake lift as it bakes. That is what gives this cake its soft texture and airy crumb.

How do you store leftover cake?

As long as you use a frosting that that doesn’t require refrigeration, the best way to store a cake is covered at room temperature. It will stay good for several days that way. For longer storage you can put extra slices in freezer containers and store them for up to 3 months. Just defrost and enjoy when you need a sweet treat.

Lifting a slice of layered chocolate wacky cake out of the cake showing layer of fudge frosting between the layers and on the outside of the cake.

More Fun Cake Recipes to Try:

If you want a smaller chocolate cake, try making a chocolate mayonnaise cake. It is a single layer of chocolate cake with just enough chocolate frosting on top.

For another super soft cake, try making a lemon velvet cake. Or if vanilla is more your style, make a pink velvet cake.

Check out my full collection of cake recipes for more inspiration!

slice of moist chocolate layer cake with shiny chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Servings: 16 Servings
Author: Carlee
This chocolate depression cake recipe was developed during the Great Depression when it was hard to get eggs and butter. The cake is loaded with chocolate flavor and it is super tender and moist. It is our favorite chocolate cake recipe.
4.92 from 34 ratings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups hot water
  • ¾ cup oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
Makes: 9inch round


  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two 9 inch round cake pans or a 9×13" pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt.
    2 cups granulated sugar, ½ cup cocoa powder, 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
  • In a second bowl, mix together water, oil, vinegar, coffee and extracts.
    2 cups hot water, ¾ cup oil, 2 Tablespoons white vinegar, 1 Tablespoon instant coffee granules, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • For a layer cake: Divide batter between the two pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  • Cool cakes for about 15 minutes and then invert onto a baking rack to cool the rest of the way.
  • For a 9×13: pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean.
  • Once completely cooled, frost the cake. We will always like the shiny fudge frosting, but also love this cake with cream cheese frosting and whipped cream frosting.



Serving: 1ServingCalories: 287kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gSodium: 292mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Cooking With Carlee” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

Loved this recipe?Please consider rating it and saving on Pinterest.

Please share

Recipe Rating


Sunday 5th of November 2023

The best chocolate cake recipe ever!! I made my husband’s birthday cake using this recipe. The recipe was easy to follow, and the result was delicious! We both enjoyed it so much! Thank you, Carlee!


Sunday 5th of November 2023

I am so glad it was a hit!


Friday 7th of July 2023

Wow I so can’t believe I haven’t found this cake recipe until now. It’s got nothing to do with the fact I live in NZ at the bottom of the world I’m sure lol. However Thankyou so much for such a wonderful Choc cake recipe I’ve tried a few but really need to try this. I showed hubby and he groaned oh no my trousers won’t do up if you make that. I informed him that 1 piece will be fine. Lol. Many thanks for posting what looks like a delicious chocolate cake.


Friday 7th of July 2023

I hope you love it as much as we do!


Wednesday 25th of November 2020

Has anyone tried adding in raspberries or cherries to this recipe?


Friday 4th of December 2020

That sounds delicious. It is a really moist cake, so there is a possibility they would sink. You'll have to let me know how it goes if you try it!

Bklyn Cowgirl

Sunday 16th of June 2019

I like the fact that there are no eggs for those of us who are watching our cholesterol. Should be watching our waistlines too, but what the heck! ;-)


Friday 4th of December 2020

Ha! You have to have fun sometimes ;-)


Tuesday 12th of February 2019

Thank you!