Chocolate Depression Cake
Whereas this chocolate cake may be just the cure for your winter blues and SAD, there's a much deeper history to this delicious chocolate cake.
During the Great Depression, supplies were in demand and families were forced to stretch their budgets and some fed their families for a mere $5 a week. Dessert became a luxury because of expensive ingredients like eggs, milk, and butter. That's where women got creative and found alternative substitutes for the pricey dairy products.
It's tradition was passed down and the recipe is still popular today, even when the ingredients are easy to find! This is very similar to the one-pan cakes that are becoming ever popular thanks to Pinterest. No mixer, just a mixing bowl, spatula, 2 8-inch cake pans, and maybe a whisk (if you want).
Plus, it's so easy to make... it's a piece of cake!
3 cups unbleached flour 2 cups water
2 cups white sugar 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
6 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa 2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons baking powder
I used my stand mixer to make this cake, because it's easier, but feel free to use a bowl and a spatula to fold together the ingredients.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl, mix together the water, distilled vinegar, and vegetable oil. Give it a quick stir to blend up the water and vinegar. Slowly start adding the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking cocoa, and baking powder). Mix together all the ingredients until it's well blended. This batter will be a little stiffer than normal cake batter.
Prep your cake pans using some oil and flour. If you have nonstick cooking spray, that works great. If not, pour a little vegetable oil in your pan and use a cloth or paper towel to spread the oil around in the pan. Sprinkle a light layer of flour in the pan to help prevent your cake from sticking. Evenly divide your batter between the two cake pans. Gently, tap the bottom of the cake pans on a flat surface to reduce air bubbles in your cake.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the cake is cooked through.
Let your cakes cool for about 20 minutes before removing from the pan. Slide a knife around the
edge of the pan to loosen the edges, and gently turn the cake pan upside down. The cake should come out relatively easily, but it may require some light tapping on the bottom of the pan. Place cakes on a cooling rack and let them cool off before icing.
These cakes weren't always made with icing, sometimes they were just sprinkled with powdered sugar. But i find that since there is no dairy in this cake, it can be a little drier than regular cakes. I like to use a simple vanilla buttercream. Find the recipe here.