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Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake

close up shot of a slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake on a spatula
This easy depression-era chocolate peanut butter crazy cake comes together with basic pantry staples and comes out moist and decadent.
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Table of Contents
  1. CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CRAZY CAKE INGREDIENTS
  2. HOW TO MAKE THIS CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CRAZY CAKE RECIPE
  3. HOW TO SERVE
  4. STORAGE
  5. MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

A super moist chocolate cake topped with dreamy peanut butter frosting makes this cake the ideal choice for an easy dessert. This eggless and dairy-free depression-era chocolate peanut butter crazy cake is a budget-friendly cake that uses everyday simple ingredients you have on hand to satisfy your chocolate peanut butter craving.

This cake is a twist on the original chocolate crazy cake. For another crazy cake recipe, try the vanilla crazy cake version.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CRAZY CAKE INGREDIENTS

You will need:

For the Cake

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water

For the Peanut Butter Icing

  • 8 tablespoons (½ cup, 113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter, creamy
  • 3 tablespoons half and half cream, room temperature
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

Icing: You could skip the peanut butter icing and use your favorite frosting instead, such as chocolate frosting or vanilla frosting. Or you could leave off the icing altogether and dust with powdered sugar.

Sprinkles: For an extra crazy cake, add colorful sprinkles to the top.

Chocolate Chips: You could top the peanut butter frosting with a sprinkle of chocolate chips or peanut butter chips. 

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice could be substituted for the vinegar at a ratio of 1:2. For this recipe, 1 teaspoon of vinegar can be replaced by 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

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HOW TO MAKE THIS CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER CRAZY CAKE RECIPE

STEP ONE: Lightly spray an 8×8 square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. All of the cake ingredients will be mixed in the baking dish. 

STEP TWO: Add the flour, cocoa powder, white sugar, baking soda, and salt to the baking dish. Whisk the dry ingredients together until well combined.

STEP THREE: Using a dry ladle or small measuring cup, make 2 small round impressions and 1 larger impression in the dry ingredients.

STEP FOUR: Pour vinegar into 1 of the small impressions. Pour the vanilla into the 2nd small impression, and pour the vegetable oil into the largest impression.

PRO TIP:

The vinegar is a must in this recipe, it reacts with the baking soda to give the cake the desired texture, doing the work eggs would do in other recipes. The cake does not come out tasting like vinegar!

STEP FIVE: Pour water over all of the ingredients. Use a wooden spoon to stir all the ingredients together, making sure to get into the corners. Stir until all of the ingredients are well incorporated and no dry streaks are visible.

PRO TIP:

If there are bubbles in your wet batter, gently tap your cake pan on the counter to release the bubbles.

STEP SIX: Bake the cake on the middle rack in an oven preheated to 350°F, for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.

PRO TIP:

Keep a close eye on the cake at the 30-minute mark as you don’t want to overbake it.

STEP SEVEN: If using a stand mixer, or a medium-size mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and creamy peanut butter until no streaks of butter are visible.

STEP EIGHT: Lower the electric mixer speed to low and add the vanilla and half and half. Mix for another 30 seconds.

STEP NINE: Keeping the mixer speed on low, slowly add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Once all powdered sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the icing is smooth, about another 45 seconds to 1 minute.

STEP TEN: Using a silicone spatula, frost the cake.

HOW TO SERVE

Serve this chocolate peanut butter cake for every day or a special occasion. Add a scoop of our vanilla ice cream on the side and whipped cream and hot fudge sauce on top to make this cake extra fancy. I guarantee this cake will get great reviews from all those peanut butter lovers.

Serve with our iced tea, raspberry iced tea, sweet peach iced tea, or our southern strawberry sweet tea on the side.

STORAGE

IN THE FRIDGE: Cover any leftovers with foil or cling film in the refrigerator. If your cake is frosted, let it chill in the fridge for 15 minutes before wrapping it. It should stay fresh for 5 to 7 days.

IM THE FREEZER: To freeze your crazy cake, wrap it in plastic wrap or an airtight container. If your cake is frosted, let it freeze fully first, uncovered, and then wrap it. You can freeze your cake in slices or whole. It will stay good in the freezer for 4 to 6 months.

Sometimes known as chocolate peanut butter wacky cake, war cake or depression cake, this cake is made without eggs or milk yet comes out so delicious and rich. Bring the taste of history to your table, and your family will go crazy for it. This is a fun cake to make with the kids as it is so simple, and they love watching the vinegar and baking soda react.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I use lemon juice instead of vinegar in the cake?

Lemon juice could be substituted for the vinegar at a ratio of 1:2. For this recipe, 1 teaspoon of vinegar can be replaced by 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

Can you freeze this chocolate peanut butter depression era cake?

This cake freezes well. It can be stored in plastic wrap in the freezer.

Is this wacky cake recipe vegan?

Since this recipe does not have any eggs or milk, if you leave off the peanut butter frosting because it has butter in it, this cake is a great vegan cake option.

MORE RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE

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close up shot of a slice of Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake on a spatula

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crazy Cake

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This easy depression-era chocolate peanut butter crazy cake comes together with basic pantry staples and comes out moist and decadent.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 10

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1 cup water

Peanut Butter Icing

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter softened (½ cup, 113 grams)
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons half and half room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (all of the cake ingredients will be mixed in the baking dish).
  • Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt to the baking dish. Whisk the dry ingredients together until well combined.
  • Using a dry ladle or small measuring cup, make 2 small round impressions and 1 larger impression in the dry ingredients.
  • Pour the vinegar into 1 of the small impressions. Pour the vanilla into the 2nd small impression, and pour the vegetable oil into the largest impression. Pour the water over all of the ingredients.
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir all the ingredients together, making sure to get into the corners. Stir until all of the ingredients are well incorporated, and no dry streaks are visible.
  • Bake the cake on the middle rack for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.
  • If using a stand mixer, or a medium-size mixing bowl and a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and creamy peanut butter until no streaks of butter are visible.
  • Lower the mixer speed to low and add the vanilla and half and half. Mix for another 30 seconds.
  • Keeping the mixer speed on low, slowly add the powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Once all powdered sugar has been added, increase the mixer speed to medium and mix until the icing is smooth, about another 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Using a silicone spatula, frost the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 228mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 296IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
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  1. Chris says

    Hey there I noticed the powdered sugar for the frosting isn’t included in the recipe or written tutorial. How much powdered sugar is needed?

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