Guest Recipe: Depression Cake

This comes from my friend Colleen. She is exceptionally talented in the kitchen and has a way of making something from nothing, which is particularly notable since she has a child with severe food allergies. From her mouth…

Being a completely untalented baker and having a child with severe food allergies is totally not a good combination. For years while other children devoured cupcakes and pastries, I was selling my kid on the decadence of an Oreo (surprisingly free of nuts, eggs and dairy!). I am also pretty sure I’ve tried my hand at every box of vegan cake mix. These cakes, if you can call them that, are usually super dense and tasteless. My son ends up just licking the frosting and leaving behind one sad looking piece of ‘cake’ on his plate.

Well lucky for my little one I have found the perfect vegan chocolate cake recipe! This cake is so super easy to make that even I was successful. What’s even better is you can make the cake in the pan that it cooks in, saving you the trouble of cleaning a mixing bowl. This ‘Depression Cake’ originates from the depression era in American history around 1929. People at that time were suffering extreme economic hardships and could not afford luxuries like milk, butter and eggs. From that absence the best chocolate cake ever was created!

There are tons of Depression cake recipes online. The one I modified comes from Sweet Little Blue Bird.

Here’s what you’ll need;

1 1/2 cups of flour

3 tbsp cocoa

1 cup of white sugar

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp white vinegar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

5 tbsp vegetable oil

1 cup of water

Preheat your oven to 350 F

Take your 8″ square baking pan and grease the bottom and sides. I used Smart Balance Light (vegan spread).

Most original recipes suggest mixing the ingredients directly in the pan you cook it in. I find the ingredients are better blended in a mixing bowl.

First, put the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt into a bowl and mix it with a spoon until it’s all integrated.

Then add the vinegar, oil, vanilla and water. Mix all of it together until it’s well blended.

Pour it into the pan and bake it in the oven for 35 minutes.

After the cake is cooled, I frosted it with Pillsbury Chocolate frosting. This frosting is dairy, nut, egg-free and delicious! I also had some Enjoy Life (allergy friendly) chocolate chips left in my pantry so I sprinkled those on top.

I served the cake to my son (who then had another slice!) and to my non-vegan family members. My father tried a bite and said, “It tastes like real cake!” Hey, I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that as a compliment!

Michael's Depression Cake


About emellt

I love all things food and my plan is to my children feel the same way, one meal at a time. By sharing my recipes, activities and adaptations of others, I hope to get my, and your kids in the kitchen!
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