I have long wondered how on earth I could make a cake without eggs or butter—I know, these sinful baddies are good palate-wise, but I’m not quite sure how good they are artery-wise. My reason for looking for such recipes is simple: my brother is allergic to eggs and my dad’s going to have a heart attack if I cook something with butter (and cake has heaps of butter and eggs and sugar). Since our family operates in an all-for-one, one-for-all basis when it comes to food—we don’t eat anything, which a member of the family cannot eat—looking for a recipes that wouldn’t end up in a trip to the hospital has been a pastime for me—more like a crusade really. At any rate to cut things short, my search for such recipes are not exactly nutty as it may seem. As it turns out, women or at least those who baked during the Depression and war eras had the answers I was looking for. So enter the the Depression Cake—it is aptly named as such, not because it’s bound to give you depression (which in such case, it ought to be Depressing Cake), or because it has a depression in the middle, but because it was done mostly during the Depression era which I have mentioned before. So I borrowed this recipe online. There were other recipes or versions of this kind of cake but this one uses mostly weight measurements and I am bound to trust weight measurements better when baking—it’s more precise and accurate that way I suppose. And besides, I wouldn’t want to be in the same position as the boulanger who had Henri Poincaré as his customer.
Here are the ingredients:
- 200 g sifted flour
- 200 g granulated sugar (your regular white sugar)
- 75 g cocoa powder
- 16 g baking powder
- 450 mL milk or 450 g of milk
- 35 g vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 170°C (don’t ask me the equivalent in Fahreinheit, go compute it using F = 9/5 C + 32).
- Combine all dry ingredients.
- Add the milk and oil.
- Mix, but don’t overmix (tip of the original recipe)
- Pour into greased pan (preferably smaller diameter pans or in cupcake/muffin pans as this wouldn’t rise much).
- Bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes clean. :)
- Instead of cocoa powder, I used the Cadbury drinking chocolate powder, and the cake didn’t explode.
- For the sugar I used soft brown sugar not for some fancy-schmancy baking reason, but because of the simple fact that we have no white sugar, yet the cake didn’t explode.
- I suggest you use new baking powder and don’t overdo this stuff, it would taste bitter if you put heaps of it, and there’s nowhere to hide that taste unlike those diabetes-inducing artery-blocking cakes where butter and eggs and sugar can mask the taste.
- Frosting was made using microwaved marshmallows—sticky and messy but gooooood. :D
- For the baking process, as our oven is probably old enough to be my father, it’s thermostat is a bit off, so I suggest cooking it at lower say 150°C, for longer.
- And yes, the intro should be longer than the actual recipe. :)
And here’s a picture of the experiment:
It looks like a muffin on steroids, but it’s a cake. :) Swear I’m not usually inept in the domain of domesticity but I’m more of a pan-toting skewer-piercing onion-chopping and meat-marinating person than a flour-pounding egg-whisking person if you get what I mean. And the pan that I’ve used in baking is actually a jelly tin, but then it wouldn’t know the difference. :)