Thursday, November 20, 2014

Depression Era Cake

Our mother finds the most interesting recipes when she is reading.
This one was in the novel "Friends And Family" by Susan Page Davis. 
It is, as the name suggests, a cake from the depression era that does not use any eggs, butter, or milk. It is dense and spicy, almost like a fruit cake, except different. 
See.... I don't like fruit cake but I like this cake. I find it to be like a dense spice cake with raisins. 
Apparently I need to start reading more books. 
Who knew?

Depression Era Cake
(From "Friends And Family" by Susan Page Davis)

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup oil
2 cups raisins (dark)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 cups flour
pinch salt
1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9 X 9 pan with cooking spray (I also lined mine with parchment paper.) Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, water, oil, raisins, and spices. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, and then boil for 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool while you prepare other ingredients.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
In another small bowl, dissolve the baking soda in 2 tsp of water and then stir into the raisin mixture (it will foam!).

Stir the flour mixture into the raisin mixture until well combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared 9 X 9 pan.

Bake at 350 for 45 - 55 minutes, until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Serve warm or room temp.

My mother brought this to her senior's center for a Remembrance Day get together and everyone loved it.

This is a super quick and easy recipe to whip up. 
I find it interesting that it has no eggs, butter, or milk and the texture is still very cake-like. 
Looking for an interesting conversation starter that also happens to be a delicious treat?
Have we got a deal for you!


  1. This is the recipe I recall eating, not only decades ago but at many of our family dinners and church potlucks. Woo hoo.

    1. That's awesome Gregory! Thank you for letting us know :) We hope you give it a try.

  2. Could I soak this cake in alcohol after it has been baked? With a couple of additions of Fruit and nut this would make a great vegan Christmas cake!

    1. Hmmm.. good question Sharon. I really don't know what would happen if you soaked it in alcohol. Please let us know if you give it a try. You have me curious now. :)

  3. Looking for a war time recipes gingerbread cake made a can of fruit cocktail use in it.can help.please☺

  4. Can you make this in a 15x10 jelly roll pan

  5. A light dusting of powdered sugar would make this pretty.

  6. My Grandma used to make this. She added maraschino cherries and walnuts. She soaked cheese cloth in Rum. Then wrapped the cake for a week. So delicious.

  7. Making this now … the text above says heat oven to 250. Later it says 350 … I’m assuming it’s 350 F. I’ll find out in 45-55 minutes! Haha