depression cake

When supplies were hard to come by during the Great Depression, folks got creative with their cooking and baking. This cake has also been called War Cake and is notable for the ingredients it omits…namely eggs, butter and milk, since those were scarce or too expensive during the depression. Shortening was substituted for butter, water was substituted for milk, and baking powder was substituted for eggs.

The recipe I made was a little more generous with ingredients than the original but keeps to the spirit of the cake. It is described as “an old time favorite – heavy, moist and spicy.” (Sounds like a sleazy novel!)


Here’s the recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350F

In a large saucepan, simmer together for 10 minutes: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups strong coffee, 1/2 cup butter, 2 cups raisins and 1 apple peeled and grated.

Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Blend together 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsps baking powder, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1 tsp each of allspice, cloves & nutmeg and stir into the cooled mixture in the saucepan.

Pour batter into a well-greased 13 x 9″ pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.








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