Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Depression Cake

"We don't need to increase our goods nearly as much as we need to scale down our wants. Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~Donald Horban

Today I am going to share with you a recipe that I got from a wonderful blog site called "The Grocery Cart Challenge." If you are trying to save money on your grocery bill, and you have not been to this blog already, then you should go there immediately. Trust me on this one. You will not be disappointed.

Gayle shares some amazing ideas for slashing your grocery expenses on her blog.

The recipe that I tried from her blog is called Depression Cake. Here is a quote from Gayle about this cake: "It's called Depression Cake because of it's thrifty ingredient list...no eggs...no milk...no butter which made it popular in the 1920's during the Great Depression. And it's so incredibly moist and simple and cheap that it's our go-to cake when we are having a dessert craving. So here you go. You're going to love it."

So, without further ado, here is the recipe for Depression Cake.

Depression Cake

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon vinegar

4 teaspoons cocoa

6 tablespoons of oil

Mix all ingredients together until combined. Pour into an 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This cake is better cooled. It seems to get even more moist as it cools and is even better the next day. We cut it into 9 squares. It needs NO frosting.

If you would like, come join me in my kitchen again, and I will show you how to make this recipe come to life, so to speak.

Here is everything that you will need to make Depression Cake.

And although the recipe does not call for either of these ingredients, Shannon and I think they add a nice flavor and texture to the cake, and we had both of the ingredients on hand, so we added them.

The first ingredient that I poured into the mixing bowl was one cup of Walmart's version of Splenda. (The recipe calls for sugar, but this sweetener has NO calories, and it was only $1.00 more than regular sugar. And Shannon and I both agreed that it was a $1.00 well spent to save all of those calories.)

Then I added one cup of water.

Next up was one teaspoon of salt....

Followed by one teaspoon of baking soda.

Then I threw in one teaspoon of vinegar....

Followed by one teaspoon of vanilla.

Next up was the cocoa. I added four HEAPING teaspoons of this yummy ingredient.

Then I threw in six tablespoons of canola oil.

Now it was time to add the biggest ingredient of all....one and a half cups of flour. (The recipe calls for regular flour, but I used wheat flour, because that is what we had on hand, and it worked wonderfully.)

Now for the optional ingredients......

I added four tablespoons of chocolate chips. *sigh*

Then I threw in a handful of sliced almonds.

After all of the ingredients were safely in the mixing bowl, it was time to mix them all together. Like so.

Then I spooned all of that chocolaty, almond goodness into an 8x8 dish that I had lightly coated with a non stick cooking spray.

Once I had spooned it all out of the bowl, I then smoothed it out as evenly as I possibly could. Like so.

I then placed it into my oven that had been preheated to 350 degrees. The recipe says to bake it for 30 minutes, but with my oven it only takes 22 minutes. So, you will just have to watch yours carefully the first time to see how long it will take in your kitchen. When you insert a toothpick it should come out relatively clean. And it should look a little something like this......

After it comes out of the oven, I then cut it into nine almost equal squares.

Like Gayle said on her blog, these are even better once cooled.

If you would like, you can serve them up on a plate like this and photograph them.....

Or, if you're like me, you can just grab a plate and a piece of cake for yourself. Like so.

Mmmmmmmmmm! Come to Momma!

"You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need." ~Vernon Howard


diane said...

Mmmmmm looks good. I can almost smell it. I love your quotes and nail polish.

Tracey said...

Yum! Yum! Save a piece for me! God Bless!

Michelle said...

Wow, thanks for sharing this recipe! My little guy (4 yr old) is allergic to egg and I have never been able to find a cake recipe w/out using them. I am definitely going to try this. It looks pretty yummy too with all that chocolate ;)

Have a blessed day

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Looks good....and I would agree on your little additions....what wouldn't taste better with chocolate chips and almonds!!

Have a great day!


Krisha said...

This looks good! Thanks for sharing!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

Wow...it does look moist when you cut it.

I'm surprised at you, Amy, you actually measured the chocolate chips. Aren't chocolate chips one of those ingredients that we never measure but rather guestimate and guestimate in an overage. haha

You're my kinda girl....altern...all the way. I was so happy when Walmart came out with a generic and it's almost $2 cheaper than Spenda. Kroger also has a generic. Though Kroger is more expensive, I do buy on ocassion and for quickness from them.

Wheat flour...again, you're my girl. I've made wheat pancakes and wheat gravy.

You are a joy and I can read your humor. I love that you threw in most of your ingredients.

Michele said...

This cake has been on my list for sometime now, but I have been baking each weekend for different events and do not need a cake in the house right now! Glad to know it is so good. Ahhh and chocolate chips and almonds are a favorite of mine!
Do you notice a taste difference using Splenda (or the generic version of splenda?) I've been going to try it but haven't yet.

Gina said...

Mmmmmm!! That looks good! I wish I had a piece to go with my coffee right now. :)

Have a great day!

Megan said...

OK, I am definitely going to have to try this recipe and check out that website!!

janjanmom said...

I'll be trying this very soon!!! Thanks for sharing the website and the recipe!!

Liz said...

Oooh, I love the looks of that cake! So cool, gotta try it. Although after the gorge-fest that WAS Thanksgiving, I dont need it.

Ellie said...


Anonymous said...

Oh yes. Going to the grocery store Thursday :) I'll blog about it too - after I eat 1/2 of it of course!

valerie said...

Yummy! I'm up late and just brushed my teeth and now I'm craving some chocolate! I'll refrain, but....

I love the recipe and the pictures!

Thanks for sharing.

Nicole said...

Yum! Looks really yummy! I love your quotes. They really made me think...

Love to you my friend!

Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

Looks good! I working diligently on cutting our grocery budget...I'll have to check out that site. Thanks for the tip and the recipe.

Mia said...

Thank you for posting this. We are reading an American Girl book about Christmas during the Depression goes right along with it. So we are making this cake tomorrow!!
You are a sweetie!!

Smiling Shelly said...

Mmmm....Thanks for sharing ;)

LOL! J/K. Needed a little laughter.. as you say, feel free to completely ignore me :D

Now THIS looks like something I would eat (and enjoy!!) Maybe I'll fix this up for yours and Tina's upcoming visit ;)

Better yet....I'll have the hubs fix you up something

Anonymous said...

Depression cake! I'll take two slices. (sigh)

Dianne said...

I actually had a sharp intake of breath when I saw the pictures of this cake, it looks SOOOOO good! I'm not sure we have Herseheys here but as we had it in SA, I assume we will, I have not looked yet. But the est I know we will ahve and I think I like yours and Shannon's added ingredients.

I will try this for sure and let you know how it turned out.

Gayle said...

Oh yum! Genius idea for the additions. I love it!

griffy said...

I was googling "erma bombeck cake with vinegar" when I found your depression cake recipe. Yes, it's from an old Erma bombeck book I had many many years ago- like 40!
And it's funny you have all those Bombeck quotes on your site- she's great- wise and funny. The cake is pretty good on it's own, but I think your "upgrades" sound delicous :). Thank you!