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5 from 1 vote

School Lunch Wacky Cake

This cake is my favorite! Also dubbed "Depression Cake" for it's inexpensive ingredient list, I learned how to bake this with my Mom, out of a church cookbook. This cake was popular for school lunch in Iowa, and some still serve this cake today!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Servings: 1 9x13 cake
Author: Cristen


For the Cake:

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 10 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 1 TBSP vinegar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 cups hot water *could do 1 C water 1 C coffee if desired

For The Icing

  • 5 cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 pinch Salt



  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make 3 wells, pour in oil, vinegar and vanilla. Pour hot water over the top, whisk well until smooth. Pour in greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool at least 30 minutes before icing.


  • Combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth. If too dry, add a tiny bit more milk, if too loose, add a bit more powdered sugar.