Thursday, March 10, 2016

Depression Cake Cooked with Happiness

A couple days ago the girls and I were bored and trapped in the house because of the crappy weather. Emie decided that it was her stuffed mouse's birthday, so I used that as an excuse (like I really needed one) to make a cake.

I didn't have a cake mix... or eggs... or milk... or cake flower... so I really wasn't prepared to make a normal cake. So I went with my favorite fallback cake recipe. Depression Cake! Nothing says "Happy Birthday, Mouse!" like a cake named for the worst economic crisis in our nations history!

Depression cake dates back to WWI when it was called "War Cake" because it was made without eggs, butter, milk, and very little sugar all ingredients that were scarce during wartime. It got a little updated in the time leading up to WWII when it became Depression Cake. The version we made is a much more modern version because of the amount of sugar in it. **The More You Know!**

Anyway, the girls helped put it together (which can all be done in the 8x8 pan you cook it in, by the way) and I did most of the stirring. It's a fun easy cake.

*Side note: There is frosting on the finished cake. It's also homemade, but the recipe I used kind of sucked so I'm not going to put it here. Really any frosting would work with this.

Helpers ready to help!

Gathering some of the ingredients from the basement pantry. What do you mean your pantry doesn't look like this?!

Finding ingredients in the "baking box" 

"Cocoa starts with C!"

This Nido can is full of white sugar. Not Nido. It's very confusing.

All the ingredients are together! And a funny face! (Except the Zombie Zin wine bottle... there is no wine in this cake... although... that could be delicious...)

First! Flour!


Cocoa (we used dutch!), Salt, Baking Soda! (Measurements in the recipe at the bottom!)

Now whisk all the dry ingredients together in your handy dandy pan and make three little indentations, one bigger and two smaller.

Put the vegetable oil in the biggest indentation and the white vinegar and vanilla extract in the smaller two.

Now pour a cup of water over the whole thing and whisk!

Now let small people lick the mixing tools!

 Bake at 350F for 35 minutes!

 Frost and decorate! (Travis did this part with the girls so I didn't get pictures of it in process..)

Cass approves!

Emie approves!

Dot approves!

Easy, quick, and fun for littles to help with!



  • 1 1/2 Cups flour (all-purpose)
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa (unsweetened)
  • 1 Cup sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp.  salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp.  pure vanilla extract
  • 5 Tbsp. vegetable oil 
  • 1 Cup water 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix first 5 dry ingredients in a 8" square baking pan.  Make 3 depressions in dry ingredients - two small, one larger. Pour vinegar in one depression, vanilla in the other and the vegetable oil in third larger depression.  Pour water over all.  Mix well until smooth.

Bake on middle rack of oven for 35 minutes.  Check with toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool.  Top with your favorite frosting. Devour like ravenous toddlers celebrating a stuffed animals birthday!

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