Kirbie's Cravings

Crazy Chocolate Cake

This crazy cake is made without butter, eggs or a mixing bowl. All you need are some pantry staples, which are mixed directly in your baking pan. The result is a deliciously moist and tender made-from-scratch chocolate sheet cake. This is such an easy and quick cake to make.
close-up photo of a slice of cake

I recently stumbled upon the concept of crazy cakes and of course I was intrigued and had to try it out for myself. This recipe seems particularly fitting now, since this cake can be made with just a few pantry staples.

What is Crazy Cake?

Crazy cake, sometimes referred to as wacky cake is a cake that was created during World War II rationing, when ingredients like eggs and milk were scarce. I’ve also made an Italian water cake, which is the same concept – no eggs, butter or milk required.

All the ingredients are added directly to the baking pan and mixed before going into the oven to bake. The cake bakes up much like a traditional cake, with a tender and moist crumb.

Crazy Cake Taste and Texture

The cake tastes very much like a traditional chocolate sheet cake, though a little bit less rich. The cake reminded me a lot of my chocolate cake mix mug cake, which is not a huge surprise since that is also a cake made without eggs or dairy.
photo of cake on a plate

How to Make Crazy Cake

The process for making crazy cake reminds me of the dump cake recipes I’ve shared.

  • First, you add all the dry ingredients directly into your pan and whisk them together.
  • Then you make a few wells in your dry batter to pour in the wet ingredients.
  • Everything is then whisked together until your batter is smooth and evenly combined. The cake is then ready to go in the oven.

photo of one slice topped with frosting

More Easy Cake Recipes

photo of a slice of chocolate cake

Crazy Chocolate Cake

Servings: 12 slices
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
This chocolate cake is made without butter or eggs or a mixing bowl. Everything is mixed directly in the baking pan. The result is a delicious, made-from-scratch chocolate cake.
4.77 from 17 votes


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup olive, vegetable, or canola oil
  • 1 cup water

Chocolate Ganache Frosting (optional, not dairy-free)

  • 4 oz heavy cream
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8 inch x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Add flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt directly into baking pan. Whisk together until evenly combined.
  • Make two small wells and 1 large well in the dry ingredients. Add vanilla to one small well and vinegar to the other small well. Add oil to the large well. Pour the water over the top and whisk everything until batter becomes smooth and evenly combined.
  • Place cake into oven and bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cake cool completely before frosting. You can top with your favorite chocolate frosting, powdered sugar, or chocolate ganache.
  • To make chocolate ganache: Add chopped chocolate to a medium bowl. Bring heavy cream to a simmer on the stove. Pour heated heavy cream over chopped chocolate and immediately start to mix until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Let chocolate ganache cool at room temperature or in the fridge until it becomes firm enough for frosting the cake.


  • Recipe from Barefeet in the Kitchen.
  • If your cocoa powder has clumped up due to moisture, break up the clumps before adding it to the baking pan.
  • Do not leave out the vinegar. It is used to activate the baking soda.
  • The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Baking time should be about the same and should not be doubled.
  • Estimated nutrition does not include frosting.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 181kcal, Carbohydrates: 30g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 190mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, NET CARBS: 29

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

133 comments on “Crazy Chocolate Cake”

  1. Thank you for all your wonderful recipes so inspiring and exciting. 
    Again thank you 

  2. The recipe is great very tasty and amazing

  3. I am allergic to oil,can I substitute applesauce or yogurt?

    • We haven’t tried either of those in this recipe, but applesauce is often used as a substitute for oil – you can try using the same amount. If you try it, Let us know how it works for you!

  4. I would like to make this ahead for an event…will it freeze ok?

  5. Hi Jenifer

  6. My dear friend has restrictions due to health, she must be Gluten Free, Nightshade restricted, eggs, shellfish and Lactose free, so you can imagine the challenges she and I have when I want to treat her. I am wondering if Gluten Free flour maybe substituted in this recipe?
    Thank you for the super recipes.

    • We haven’t tried it but you can try using cup for cup gluten-free flour. Hope that helps!

  7. Can you give me the receipt of making lemmingtons I love to make some thnks

    • Sorry, but not sure what you mean by “lemmingtons”? Did you mean our Lemon Crazy Cake?

    • Amanda
      Lemmingtons are a basic vanilla cake. Made in a sheet pan. Once cold you slice them into squares dip them gently into chocolate icing and roll in coconut.
      Or you can make a raspberry jelly or hello inplace of the chocolate icing.

  8. Amazing Ive been have not seen this before ??

  9. Thank you. I have eggs may I go ahead and add it to this recipe because I don’t have these substitutes here.

  10. Can I use coffee instead of water?

  11. I’ve been making this cake since I was in college in the early ’70s (found it in Peg Bracken’s “I hate to cook” book).

    One time I was out of cocoa powder but had a box of instant cocoa mix, the kind that you make with just hot water. So I used that in place of the unsweetened cocoa, doing a bit of math to figure out how much of each packet was sugar (look at the nutrition info on the cocoa mix label, every 12.5 grams of of added sugar is a tablespoon of sugar) and how much was cocoa so I’d know how many packets to use and to figure out if I needed to add more sugar. I worried that the dry milk powder in the mix would change the flavor, it did, but it made it even better, like a sour cream chocolate cake.

  12. How long does this cake keep for if stored in a cake tin please?

    • It will keep for a few days at room temperature or you can keep it in the refrigerator for a few days longer. Be sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap.

  13. This was really helpful for me

  14. Can you substitute applesauce instead of using
    Oil in the recipe,

  15. i would like to try your crazy cake but i am diabetic do you have a no sugar version that could work for me please and thanks

  16. I’ve made ganache using a can of coconut milk removed from the fridge and only using the cream part on top, not the clear fat on the bottom of the can. Add the chocolate and whip after melting then let cool. I’m so happy to have found this recipe. Your site is awesome. Can’t wait to make it!

  17. “Crazy Cake” is an old recipe, known as “Whacky Cake”, and is in many cookbooks.
    Great cake I make it often and everyone loves it!!

  18. Would this recipe work ok in a round tin?

  19. Very difficult to make wells with lined parchment paper in a 8×8 baking pan.

  20. This sounds great. I am raising a child who is allergic to cow’smilk, peanut, wheat, egg and soy. This post gives me hope that there could be something out there i could whip up for him. Is there anything i could use to substitute wheat flour?

  21. I made Crazy Cake for many years, but totally forgot about it as I don’t bake much anymore. It is the most delicious chocolate cake ever. I would frost with creamy white frosting, but any frosting or none at all works. I now look forward, once again, in surprising my husband with this great dessert. Serve with ice cream too.

  22. I’m going to try making the recipe sometime soon. Your advice please; ok to add (say) chopped walnuts or chopped dates?

    I hope you dont mind –  its not my intention to bastardise your beautiful recipes; on the contrary, I find them very inspirational!

    • We haven’t tried adding mix-ins to the batter, but if you do it’s probably a good idea to finely chop them since the cake is delicate.

  23. That’s incredible

  24. I made the crazy chocolate cake and forgot the oil! No problem as it turned out, husband stated best chocolate cake he’d ever tasted. I also thought it was delicious. Bit high in calories, half portion eaten.
    Thank you.

  25. Thank you for sharing your recipe. So easy to make and so delicious too!

  26. Mt Grandmother made “wacky cake”fewer ingredients,no chocolate but did have vinegar and mixed in the pan, pretty good ,will try yours soon,trip down memory lane.ty for the recipe.

  27. Very interesting, will try

  28. Do you have any mocha cake recipes?

  29. i haven’t tried it yet; but, will during the next holiday and will let you know then. i am extremely excited about it though. Can’t wait to do it and experience it!

  30. I’ve done made 2 of the crazy chocolate cakes. This week. I let my family try it, they liked it and loved it. Thanks for all your suggestions

  31. I made the crazy chocolate cake. It was pretty good.

  32. Goodmorning Jennifer,
    Can l please have some microwave recipes

    • You can see all of our microwave cakes under “Mug Cakes” and “Microwave Recipes” – Go to the top of the page and hover over Recipes and you will find these categories in our recipe index.

      • You know this recipe is basically a knockoff recipe from a recipe called “STIR CRAZY CAKE” which appeared in the marlboro cookbook from years ago.

      • Yes, the concept has been around a long time as we mention in the post! This is our version – we hope you give it a try.

  33. Can’t wait to make this cake

  34. Hi Kirbie:
    Is there a substitute for white flour? I just don’t eat wht flour. It’s a long shot, but let me know…thanks.

  35. I don t know what is well or wells in the recipe I can t understand the recipe of chocolate cake. From Carmen

    • After you whisk the dry ingredients in the pan you need to make a few holes (or wells) and then pour the wet ingredients into them. Doing it this way makes it easy to mix the batter. Hope that helps!

  36. I have a question about the vinegar and baking soda does that make the cake rise ?

  37. Could u use this on o box cake leaving eggs out ect

  38. Can’t wait to try the chocolate cake. Love your recipes.

  39. Thx u?

  40. Can you substitute whole wheat flour (or half) and erythritol in this recipe?

  41. Cheap and great recipe, I’m definitely trying this out. Thanks a lot!!!!

  42. Hi granulated white or golden monkfruit is better for replacing white granulated sugar and it tastes better than stevia! 🙂
    I will try it with monkfruit I believe it will be just as yummy as granulated white sugar. Thank you for a quick chocolate cake recipe! 🙂

  43. Unbelievable easy moist tastes great

  44. I did enjoyed my chocolate cake. Very delicious.
    I also made a carrot cake using same recipe. I added a tsp of ginger juice. Love it also.

  45. My mom made this during 50’s – 80’s; She learned it from a lady in Holland, MI (great cook).
    MUCH better than any other chocolate cake I’ve had in last 30 years.
    I’m going to have to try it myself – never could find her recipe!?

  46. Hi, is it ok to use cocount flour for keto? And which liquid should I increase? Lovely recipe, thanks.

  47. Can I use an equal amount of unsweetened apple sauce in place of the oil? I have done that with corn muffins and they came out great. Also can bake it in my air fryer? Also done with my corn muffins.

  48. We baked this today. My 10 years old girl loves it . Never noticed there is no egg or dairy in it. Will bake this for her birthday. BTW it is so easy to make, no mess.

  49. Wow! This cake is absolutely delicious and super easy to make with little clean up. I’m not vegan, but like to try new recipes and this is as good or better than most nonvegan cakes and far superior to box cake mixes in my opinion. I’m looking forward to trying the snickerdoodle crazy cake recipe! Thanks!

  50. I can’t wait to try this! I’m Jamaican, so it’s nice to find recipes online that call for generic ingredients rather hard-to-get or expensive ones. Thanks, Kirbie!

  51. Hiya, do you know how long this cake will last for? Wanting to make it in advance with my son for his dad’s birthday:)

  52. Easy to use recipe! Would recommend!

  53. Nice chocolate flavor and so moist! My whole family loves this recipe.

  54. I just made this cake today! It’s so tasty ? 
    I used apple cider vinegar instead. But my cake didn’t rise up high. Is it because I didn’t use white vinegar?

    • Make sure your baking soda is still fresh. That would be the most likely cause of the cake not rising high.

  55. Can I use milk instead of cream for the frosting?

  56. How can I make it keto friendly. Thanks

  57. Nice chocolate flavor and so moist. Such an easy cake to make, this recipe is a keeper!

  58. I’m 77.  I made this cake all the time for my three kids, then grands. They liked it better than store bought or boxed!!

  59. Can you use brown vinegar instead of white?

  60. Is parchment paper used only on bottom of dish?

  61. I baked this cake last night. It is really good-even better after being refrigerated. So easy to mix up and one bowl clean up. I actually had to wash more measuring cups than any other utensils. I wanted to know that there’s a tasty dessert I can make when there are no eggs or milk in the house. I already had a bowl of cream cheese frosting waiting in the refrigerator.
    I admire the cooks, grandparents, moms and dads who lived and thrived during the Depression Era. They made miracles happen with nearly nothing. Thank you for an easy chocolate fix!

  62. Can non-white vinager be used? Thank you.

  63. Thank you! Can I use stevia – granulated Stevia – in place of sugar to make it sugar free?

  64. I just made this with my 5 year old. Comes together really easily. It is currently baking but looks wonderful. Thank you.