This cake is delicious (not just “good for a vegan cake”), super easy to make, uses ingredients you probably already have, and is suitable for all your vegan and milk/egg/butter-allergic friends.
Hundreds of variations exist (also known as Wacky Cake or Depression Cake because this cake was popular when eggs, milk, and butter were unaffordable), but I’ve never tried another recipe because this one works every time.
I found this recipe on Sweet Little Bluebird ~10 years ago. The author, Mary Neumann, has recipes for crazy vanilla cake, mug cakes, carrot cake, spice cake, snickerdoodle cake, and more.
- 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose) (187.5 g)
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder (unsweetened, natural, not Dutch-processed) (15.4 g)
- 1 cup sugar (white, granulated) (200 g)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. white vinegar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 Tbsp. vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup coffee
- Semi-sweet chocolate chips (1-2 handfuls)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F (176° C). Line your baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Whisk dry ingredients—flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt—together in a large mixing bowl.
3. Press down in the dry ingredients with the back of a tablespoon to make three “wells.” Pour vinegar in one well, vanilla in the other, and vegetable oil in the third. Pour coffee over all. Whisk until smooth.
(The idea is to pour the wet ingredients into the wells, keeping them separate from each other, until you pour coffee over the whole thing.)
4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter into pan and bake for 30-35 min. Cake is done when a toothpick (or skinny knife) inserted in the center comes out clean, with no crumbs clinging to it.
Frosting (chocolate ganache)
- Splash almond milk (1-2 Tbsp.)
- 1-2 handfuls chocolate chips (about 3 oz, or ½ cup)
1. Melt the chocolate chips. (I put them in a large glass measuring jug and microwave for 1-2 min on 70% power, pausing every 30 seconds to stir with a whisk.)
2. Pour the milk into the melted chocolate and whisk until smooth.
3. Allow the cake to cool for 30 min before pouring the ganache over top.
 I used decaf coffee, freshly brewed and allowed to cool to room temperature. You could also just mix instant coffee with lukewarm water. Or if you don’t have any coffee, use almond/coconut/soy/regular milk, or just water.
 I used almond milk. Any milk works: almond/coconut/soy for vegans, or heavy cream (the traditional ganache component), sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, or yogurt!
Cake ingredients, doubled
- 3 cups flour (375 g)
- 6 Tbsp. cocoa powder (31 g)
- 2 cups sugar (400 g)
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. vinegar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 cups coffee
- Chocolate chips (3-4 small handfuls)