Depression Era Chocolate Cake

Saturday 11 May 2024

Depression Era Chocolate Cake 





With it being Mother's Day this weekend, I wanted to bake something to honor my mother.  Mom was brought up during the Great Depression.  She and her parents lived on her grandparents farm up on the South Mountain. They were poor, but always had lots to eat.  


One of mom's favorite memories was of she and her older sister sitting together in a chair on the front porch of their grandparent's house.  The house was situated on the South Mountain here in Nova Scotia, looking down over the  beautiful Annapolis Valley.  Mom remembered sitting there together scraping pieces of a raw turnip with a spoon, and eating the scrapings for a treat.


My great grandmother was a very capable cook and used to make good use of the vegetables from their garden.  They also had an apple orchard and my great grandfather had chickens, sheep, cows (milking), pigs, etc.  They did not go hungry. He grew all of the feed for the animals.


My great-grandmother sold eggs and was also the local midwife, helping out in the birthing of many babies in the local area.



The old homestead




This is the old homestead now. It is largely derelict. My great grandmother sold it after my great grandfather passed away in 1938.  She could not take care of it. They ended up moving together down to a much smaller house in the town that my mother used to look down on at the base of the mountain.  I think the farm was sold to some cousins.  It has not been lived in or farmed for years.


My sister and I are always saying would that we could win the lottery. We would buy the property and restore it, saving a small part of the old house and incorporating it into a new house.  Our mother was born in that house and it means a great deal to us.



Depression Era Chocolate Cake

  


Mom passed away 5 years ago now.  There is not a day go by that I do not miss her.  I wanted to bake something that would honor her in some way this weekend,  and I  felt this Depression Chocolate Cake Recipe would do that perfectly.  Mom loved a good cake.  I have adapted the recipe from a recipe  I found on Simply Recipes



It is actually a very similar recipe to a Wacky Chocolate Cake recipe which my best friend's mother gave to me back in the 1970's.  It is an eggless, dairy free cake and a very simple cake to make. My friend's mother's recipe did not use coffee in it.



This one does. Coffee has the wonderful ability to really deepen the flavor of chocolate, and this is a fabulously delicious chocolate cake recipe.  I think you will be really happy with it.  Moist, dark and delicious with a lovely chocolate glaze.


Depression Era Chocolate Cake





WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE DEPRESSION ERA CHOCOLATE CAKE


Simple everyday ordinary baking ingredients.  Really. There is nothing complicated about this cake.  It is the perfect cake for anyone in the family who cannot eat dairy.


For the cake:
  • 1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot coffee (or boiling water)
  • 2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (71g) soft light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) neutral oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the chocolate glaze icing:
  • 1 cup (113g) icing sugar
  • 2 TBS (13g) cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 TBS hot coffee




Depression Era Chocolate Cake 




I used instant coffee to make the coffee for this cake. I made it pretty strong also, using probably twice as many coffee as you would normally have in a cup of coffee. You can also just use hot water, but do use the coffee if possible. It adds a lovely depth of je ne sais quois!


Do not use drinking chocolate powder, use only the cocoa powder that is good for baking. Chocolate drink powder has things added to it including sugar and milk.  Chocolate powder is just ground up cocoa and is not sweetened.


Icing sugar is also known as powdered sugar and confectioner's sugar.  


I used Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar and Avocado oil. You can use any mild flavored oil. Use pure Vanilla extract if you can.  There are no eggs or milk in this recipe. Don't worry I have not left them out.





Depression Era Chocolate Cake 



HOW TO MAKE A GREAT CAKE EVEN BETTER 


This simple cake is delicious as is but there are also a few things that you can do to make it even tastier. Here are a few swaps and subs you might want to try.


For a denser fudgier cake - Increase the cocoa powder to 1/3 cup (37g).  Use 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, and 1/2 cup (100g) soft light brown sugar, packed. You can also add 1/2 cup (90g) of semi sweet chocolate chips.


To make an Olive Oil Chocolate Cake - Use extra virgin olive oil in place of the oil and swap out the cider vinegar for balsamic vinegar.





Depression Era Chocolate Cake




HOW TO MAKE DEPRESSION ERA CHOCOLATE CAKE


Nothing could be easier. I know. I say that a lot, but it's true! If you are looking for a really simple chocolate cake recipe, you just struck gold!


TO MAKE THE CAKE:



Preheat the oven to 350*F/ 180*C/ gas mark 4. Grease an 8-inch square pan really well. Set aside.


Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.


Whisk the cocoa together in another bowl with the hot coffee. Leave for a few minutes then whisk to make sure the cocoa powder is totally dissolved.


Whisk in both sugars, the vanilla, oil and the vinegar. The oil may not totally integrate, but that's okay. Just do your best.




Depression Era Chocolate Cake



Add all at once to the dry ingredients and slowly fold together with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Don't overmix, but make sure it is smooth with no pockets of dry flour.


Pour into the prepared cake tin.


Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. The top should spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.


Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes.



Depression Era Chocolate Cake 



TO MAKE THE GLAZE:


Whisk the icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt together until well combined. Add the vanilla and enough of the coffee/water to make a thick but pourable glaze. (I needed a bit more than the 2 TBS)



Pour the glaze over top of the cooled cake and spread it out to cover the cake in an even layer, using a rubber spatula. Leave for 150 to 15 minutes so that the glaze sets before serving.





Depression Era Chocolate Cake 



My in-laws were taking me out to lunch and I wanted to invite them back after for coffee and dessert.  My sister in law is allergic to milk and so I wanted to make a milk free dessert. This cake fit the bill perfectly.


They loved it, so much so that they took half of it home with them!  I think you will love it too!  It is moist and rich. Simple to make.  Delicious and chocolatey!



Depression Era Chocolate Cake

 



I have a few really good chocolate cake recipes on here that everyone loves. If you like chocolate cake and you like to bake, you might also enjoy the following:




BUTTERMILK CHOCOLATE CAKE -  This is the most delicious and moist chocolate cake and is one of the more popular chocolate cake recipes here on the blog. It is a lovely layer cake, with a fabulous chocolate buttercream frosting.  A four generations old recipe, this is a fabulously old fashioned one-bowl chocolate cake, and perfect for family celebrations!



CREOLE CHOCOLATE CAKE - A moist and rich fudgy chocolate layer cake.  Sour cream in the cake itself makes for a lovely tender crumb. The two layers are sandwiched together with a date and nut filling, and a layer of whipped cream. A sour cream chocolate ganache frosting is spread over the whole thing to finish.  If I had to choose from all of the chocolate cakes, I would choose this one as my personal favorite.




Yield:
one 8-inch square cake
Author: Marie Rayner
Chocolate Depression Cake

Chocolate Depression Cake

Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 45 Min
Simple, simple, simple and incredibly delicious. An old, old recipe that never fails to impress.

Ingredients

For the cake:
  • 1/4 cup (25g) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (240ml) hot coffee (or boiling water)
  • 2/3 cup (133g) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (71g) soft light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) neutral oil (I used avocado oil)
  • 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) plain all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
For the chocolate glaze icing:
  • 1 cup (113g) icing sugar
  • 2 TBS (13g) cocoa powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 TBS hot coffee

Instructions

To make the cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350*F/ 180*C/ gas mark 4. Grease an 8-inch square pan really well. Set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Whisk the cocoa together in another bowl with the hot coffee. Leave for a few minutes then whisk to make sure the cocoa powder is totally dissolved.
  4. Whisk in both sugars, the vanilla, oil and the vinegar. The oil may not totally integrate, but that's okay. Just do your best.
  5. Add all at once to the dry ingredients and slowly fold together with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Don't overmix, but make sure it is smooth with no pockets of dry flour.
  6. Pour into the prepared cake tin.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. The top should spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool in the pan for at least 45 minutes.
To make the glaze:
  1. Whisk the icing sugar, cocoa powder and salt together until well combined. Add the vanilla and enough of the coffee/water to make a thick but pourable glaze. (I needed a bit more coffee.)
  2. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and spread out to cover in an even layer with a spatula. Leave for 10 to 15 minutes so that the glaze sets before serving.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #TheEnglishKitchen

Depression Era Chocolate Cake





Thanks so much for visiting! Do come again! 



 If you like what you see here, why not consider signing up for my newsletter and/or subscribing/following me on Grow. You can also bookmark my recipes via the Grow platform. Check out the heart on the right hand side of the screen. 

2 comments

  1. Mary Lou Stirling Knight13 May 2024 at 12:41

    I love all the suggestions you offer for making changes to the recipe. I’m going to make this as written the first time and then I’m going to try some of the alternatives like switching out the apple cider vinegar for balsamic. That sounds delicious to serve with some fresh strawberries this summer macerated with balsamic vinegar!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I made this cake and it was absolutely delicious. I used grapeseed oil. Impressive recipe considering there is no egg or chocolate. Excellent flavour and so easy to make! Thank you for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you so do not be shy!


BEFORE LEAVING A COMMENT OR RATING, ASK YOURSELF:
Did you make the recipe as directed? Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.

Is this comment helpful to other readers? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Remember that this website is run by a real person.

Are you here to complain about ads? Please keep in mind that I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising helps to defray my cost of doing so, and allows me to continue to post regular fresh content.

Thanks so much for your understanding! I appreciate you!