Quick, Easy, and Delicious Chocolate Depression Cake


I’m in a new boxed set, The Golden Legacy. My story, Race for the Gold, takes place in the 1930s when times are hard.  The hero, Matthew Connor, has three big problems. As his horse farm fell on hard times in Depression-era Maryland, his wife left him for another man, abandoning their five-year-old daughter, Jenny. Now he suspects someone is trying to sabotage his business. When Hannah Henry snatches Jenny from the path of a speeding car, Matt is sure fate has intervened and hires Hannah as the girl’s nanny. As he watches them bond, he falls for the young woman who is giving his daughter a renewed sense of security. Yet he’s reluctant to risk his heart again. When Hannah comes into money from the Golden Legacy, she tries to find a way to banish his financial worries without wounding the pride of the man she loves. But will the saboteur succeed before Matt realizes that Hannah’s heart is the only treasure that matters.

While he’s worried about finances, Matt is trying to save money any way he can. And he’s delighted when his housekeeper comes up with this cake that’s rich, moist, and simple to make, but surprisingly cheap because it has no milk, eggs, or butter. After baking, top with creamy chocolate frosting. For modern cooks, this cake is a real time-saver. I assembled and combined the ingredients in eighteen minutes. And I baked it in the toaster oven.


9 Servings



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup bland cooking oil such as canola
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup water


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350º F. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder until well combined.

In a two-cup liquid measuring cup, combine water, vinegar and vanilla extract.

Add the oil to the bowl of dry ingredients, followed by the water mixture. Stir until the chocolate cake batter is mostly smooth. Make sure no dry flour remains on the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the cake batter into an 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking pan. Transfer to the oven and bake the cake for 32 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.


When the cake is completely cooled (for at least 1 hour): Combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and stir to mix well. Add the vanilla extract.  Begin adding water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring, until it forms a thick but pourable icing (about 3 tablespoons total).

Immediately spoon the icing over the cooled cake and spread until the cake is evenly covered. Slice the cake into 9 pieces and serve.


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About Rebecca York

NY Times & USA Today best-seller, Rebecca York, is the author of over 150 books. She has written paranormal romantic thrillers for Berkley and romantic thrillers for Harlequin Intrigue. Her new romantic-suspense series, Decorah Security, is set at a detective agency where agents have paranormal powers or work paranormal cases. She also writes an Off-World series where each story is a science fiction romance taking place on a distant planet in the far future.  View website

4 Replies to “Quick, Easy, and Delicious Chocolate Depression Cake”

  1. Thanks for telling us about “Race for the Gold.” It sounds intriguing. As does your recipe for Chocolate Depression Cake. I could actually bake this right now if I had cocoa powder and confectioners sugar. I will definitely try it!

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