Crazy Cake| Poor Man’s Cake| Mixed-Up Cake| WW II Cake| Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake| Depression Cake| Whacky Cake| 3-Hole Cake

It was very recently that I came across a recipe for something called Crazy Cake. The recipe sounded very simple, and promised to deliver some amazing cake. I just HAD to try it out! The end result, I must say, was absolutely gorgeous!

This is a no-egg, no-milk, no-butter cake, which in itself was astonishing to me. In spite of these missing ingredients, the cake tastes lovely, a far cry from the soggy messes that boxed cakes usually turn out to be. Apparently, this recipe was discovered during World War II or the Great Depression, when the rich ingredients needed to make cakes were very hard to come by. People resorted to making cakes that were low on ingredients, but high on flavour, such as this one. That is why this cake goes by the names of WW II Cake and Depression Cake. Some prefer to call it Poor Man’s Cake or Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake, too. (Necessity is the mother of invention – point proven!)

As I stated earlier, this cake is super easy to make. You don’t even need a separate bowl for mixing the batter – you can do that in the same tin you are going to bake the cake in. That is the reason the cake is also called Mixed-Up Cake.

In the olden days, the flour and soda bicarb and sugar needed for this cake would be taken in a cake tin, mixed up, and three holes would be made in the dry ingredients for the liquid ingredients to go in – oil, white vinegar, and vanilla extract. Everything would be whisked together, and bam! The cake tin would go into the oven. (Something to do with having fewer bowls to wash up later?) Anyways, so that is what got this cake another name – 3-Hole Cake.

Thanks to the very limited number of ingredients it requires, many are doubtful, when they read the recipe, of whether the end product will actually taste like cake! This fact earned the cake the name of Crazy Cake and Whacky Cake.

How do I not go ahead and prepare this cake, which has so much of history behind it? Ingredients were assembled quickly, and the cake was made, to be received by much love and the licking of fingers and spoons by the extended family. This is so going to be made again and again and again in my kitchen!

There are a number of recipes for this cake on the Internet, each with a few little variations. I decided to follow this particular one, because it appealed to me the most. I took her advice and went for a chocolate ganache for the cake, too, which uplifted the taste like anything. Even without the ganache, the cake tastes moist and delicious, but I would say go the whole hog!

A slice of Depression Cake!

Without further ado, here goes the recipe for the cake. I absolutely recommend trying this out to you!

Ingredients (yields a medium-sized cake, about 6 big pieces):

For the cake:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour or maida

1 cup sugar, powdered

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsweetened chocolate powder (cocoa)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 tablespoons olive oil (I used olive oil, but the original recipe calls for vegetable oil)

1 cup water

For the chocolate ganache:

200 ml whipping cream (I used Amul)

150 grams good-quality milk chocolate, grated (I used Amul)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil (Again, the original recipe calls for vegetable oil, but I used olive oil)


Prepare the chocolate ganache first and then go on to bake the cake. This way, the ganache will have time to chill in the refrigerator while the cake is getting done.

For the ganache:

  1. Keep the grated milk chocolate ready in a large bowl.
  2. Heat the whipping cream in a saucepan, on a high flame, stirring intermittently.
  3. Switch off the gas just when the cream begins to boil.
  4. Mix the olive oil with the cream, thoroughly.
  5. Pour the cream mixture over the grated milk chocolate in the bowl.
  6. Whisk well to form a smooth, creamy ganache with no lumps.
  7. Let the ganache cool down a bit.
  8. Let the ganache chill in the refrigerator for about half an hour.

For the cake:

You could mix the cake batter in the same tin that you are going to bake it in, but I used a mixing bowl for the sake of less messiness.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix the flour, salt, powdered sugar, baking soda, and cocoa well in a mixing bowl.
  3. Add the olive oil, white vinegar, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients.
  4. Add the water to the mixing bowl, at room temperature.
  5. Whisk to form a smooth, lump-free batter.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased cake tin.
  7. Bake at about 160 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of cake comes out clean.
  8. Let it cool down a bit, and then remove it onto a serving platter.


  1. When the cake has cooled down a little, pour the chilled chocolate ganache over the cake evenly.
  2. If you want to, you could decorate the cake using sprinkles or dry fruits.

Simple, right? Why don’t you try it out, too? Don’t forget to let me know how it turned out for you!

PS: This cake tastes better the day after you actually bake it, as I have found all home-baked cakes behave. If you plan to make the cake for a special occasion, do take this into consideration!



16 thoughts on “Crazy Cake| Poor Man’s Cake| Mixed-Up Cake| WW II Cake| Old-Fashioned Chocolate Cake| Depression Cake| Whacky Cake| 3-Hole Cake

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