Vegan Chocolate Cake ("Chocolate Happy Cake")

February 9, 2016

Author Notes:

This is the little black dress of chocolate cakes - a recipe that everyone should have in their arsenal because it is so simple and satisfying. This cake is my version of a very old fashioned recipe with roots in the Great Depression when eggs and butter were scarce. It is often referred to as "Depression Cake" or "Wacky Cake" but it's so easy to make and so scrumptious, eating it will make you anything but sad. Because it is vegan, there's a good chance you have every ingredient listed in your pantry at all times. And because it's a one bowl deal, you can have your chocolate cake that much quicker...and eat it, too.

Samantha Ardry

Makes: 1 - 8" or 9" round or square cake


  • 2 cups (212 g) unbleached pastry or all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (21 g) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (198 g) sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 cup hot water or strong coffee
In This Recipe


  1. Preheat a conventional oven to 350 F. Line a round or square 8" or 9" cake pan with parchment paper and grease it.
  2. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda. Whisk in the sugar.
  3. Pour the oil, vinegar and hot water or coffee into the dry ingredients and whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to combine.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a cake tester comes out clean. Start checking around the 25 minute mark. Let the cake cool for about half an hour before removing from the pan.
  5. This recipe will make about a dozen small cupcakes and can easily be doubled to make a layer cake.

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