this past week has been a little insane, so my plans to post during the week just didn’t happen. then, i cancelled the photo/video shoot that i had planned for yesterday– my dad is in the hospital so i didn’t know if there would be any emergencies, and since my mom was leaving today, i decided it was the right thing to do to cancel the shoot and spend some time with her. the ironic thing is that while sitting on my grandmother’s couch with her she explained to me that she was going through withdrawal from me not having any new blog posts for a week. i will tellya, i had some fun things planned for the shoot, so i sure hope i get to do it soon! i will admit though that spending some time with mom and going for a relaxing shea butter swedish massage sure was a nice way to spend a saturday!

it was my friend sheryl (aka sherbs)’s birthday a couple days ago so i felt it my duty to make her a spectacular cake! the problem was that her schedule is crazy busy and the first time it seemed she was available for receiving a cake was today, which actually worked out pretty well for me. she is vegan, so i knew i would either have to veganize one of my recipes or try out a new one. i recalled reading about wacky depression cake on savory sweet life a couple weeks ago which noted that it was accidentally vegan, and knew this would be the base. there are tons of vegan cake recipes out there, but i tend to think that accidentally vegan baked goods are better than purposely vegan ones. this is obviously also good for those with dairy and/or egg allergies!

this cake gets its name from the great depression, when most folks couldn’t afford butter, milk, nor eggs, so they had to work with what they had. this cake is so tasty and moist that it managed to stick around for all these years, even though most of us can afford these animal ingredients.

now, i think it would be wrong to make someone something called depression cake for their birthday, so i had to counter-balance. i did the best i could, short of throwing some actual anti-depressant drugs into the cake, by adding more chocolate and of course some peanut butter. afterall, unless you are allergic, it is pretty difficult to be sad when you have chocolate and peanut butter!

i crushed up some chocolate wafer cookies to make a nice crunchy bottom for the cake. the frosting i used was quite tasty and worked well as a filling, but wasn’t perfect for covering a cake; it was intended for cupcake usage and i am certain it would have been perfect for that. since the coverage was a little rough i did what any good baker does– i found ways to cover it with deliciousness. i considered throwing some ganache on top since it looked oh-so-yummy when smitten kitchen completed a peanut butter chocolate cake this way, but i know the birthday girl is trying to eat healthier so i went with crushed peanuts on the sides, chocolate chips around the edge, and chocolate shavings/squares on the top. i must say, the cake looks much prettier this way than it did with just the icing!

i brought the cake over to sheryl and her boyfriend justin (yes, justin who got that pb pancake cake from me) this afternoon and it was a hit! she said it was delicious and washed it down with a nice glass of soy milk! hurrah!

the happy birthday girl!


cake (this is the doubled version, you could halve it for an 8×8 or single 9-in round)-

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups white sugar

1 teaspoon salt (optional)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup cocoa powder

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

2 cups water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together by hand.  Add all the wet ingredients until well combined.  Pour into two 9-inch round pans which have been prepared with non stick spray.

Bake for 30 until done.  Allow to completely cool before serving. Cake is even better if eaten the next day.

icing (from vegan cupcakes take over the world; i doubled it below)-

1/2 cup margarine, softened (NOT melted; if you melt it, you will need a bag of powdered sugar to make it the right consistency)

2/3 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tsp vanilla extract

2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

2 tbsp soy milk, plus a little extra

Put everything except soy milk into a bowl. Combine with an electric mixer. Once it’s well-blended (it will be very stiff), add a tablespoon of soy milk and blend some more. Add a little soy milk/keep beating until you reach the right consistency. It should be very light tan and fluffy.

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9 Responses to sherbs’ vegan wacky anti-depression cake

  1. AllisonMN says:

    for a vegan cake, it looks damn good!

  2. sharon says:

    thanks! since it had all “normal” ingredients it tasted just like a regular cake, which was awesome! i suggest making it for anyone with an allergy to dairy or eggs

  3. Laura says:


    So, I was in a panic because I have guests coming over with special dietary needs. Some of them are vegetarian and some of them are lactose intolerance so I figured a vegan dessert would satisfy everyone’s needs. I remembered you posted this recipe (honestly, I think it stuck out most in my mind because of the creative name!) and I am so excited to try this…especially because there are no really unusual or hard-to-find ingredients! Appreciate it!!


  4. sharon says:

    you are very welcome! that is definitely the thing i liked most about it, nothing unusual, no running out to the health food store to search for something that you aren’t familiar with (and expensive). i hope your guests enjoyed it!

  5. […] For those with a sweet tooth, I figure that I’ll make some of this delicious-looking vegan cake (vegetarian and dairy-free friendly, although I think a little vanilla extract will make it even […]

  6. I am also a vegetarian and my body has never been in a very good shape. Being a vegan can really make you much heathier.”.`

  7. […] friend sheryl, who i made the depression cake for, was planning her gad school graduation party, and in the discussions I agreed to make her a […]

  8. i also have lactose intolerance that is why i always avoid dairy products.,;~

  9. sharon says:

    yes, this cake is great for those with lactose intolerance as well- a few of my friends at work were my test audience, and i was happy to provide them with a treat since they usually don’t get to enjoy cupcakes!

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