29 January 2014

One-Bowl Chocolate Cake - Depression Cake - Vegan Cake


My husband often asks me, as he loads the dishwasher, why everything I make takes so many bowls, pans and utensils. So I decided to make a one-bowl cake, using just a bowl, a whisk, a pan, two measuring cups and two measuring spoons. It's a cake, with no eggs or dairy, that was called "depression cake" during the Great Depression when eggs and dairy products were often hard to come by. Now we can just call it a vegan cake. Or, maybe, a recession cake.

Anyway ... If my dad were alive, I would not be making this cake for him or even talking to him about it. Even though The Depression was ancient history, he could still get pretty riled up about it. As I mentioned in my Vegan Applesauce Spice Cake post two years ago, if the subject came up and my mother (whose family had not experienced the same hardships his had) said anything at all, he would have to tell her once again (loudly and at length) that she didn't know anything about it. I can still see that vein popping out ... and me thinking "Here we go again!"

But back to the cake ... Back then, a dusting of powdered sugar might have been quite extravagant. But since this is just the Great Recession rather than the Great Depression, maybe we can splurge on a little whipped cream or buttercream frosting (unless you're vegan)? Please leave a comment about the cake, that era, vegan cooking, stuff your parents argued about, anything at all! 


PS I saved a piece for three days, just for test purposes, and it was still fresh and fabulous! I had thought it might dry out since it has no eggs.




One-Bowl Chocolate Cake - Depression Cake - Vegan Chocolate Cake

(Makes one 8-inch round layer)

1 1/3 packed cups (6.67 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water (or cold coffee, if you have it)
1/3 cup organic canola oil (I know, I know, they didn't have organic canola oil back then!)
1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 Grease, grease and flour, or spray with cooking spray one 8-inch round 2-inch deep cake pan (Don't even bother with shallow cake pans!). And a circle of parchment paper in the bottom will ensure successful removal from the pan, if you have that concern. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Note: If you want to get fancy and make a sweet little layer cake (the size I make for an afternoon tea), divide the batter between two 6-inch round 2-inch deep cake pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

2 In 2-quart bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about a minute, or until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Run a knife through the batter a few times to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until it tests done with a toothpick.

3 Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert onto the rack to cool completely.

29 comments:

Mike said...

I remember my granddad talking about eating "Hoover hogs" during the winter; I thought maybe it was some sort of govt. assistance and that being able to have bacon, ham and pork chops wasn't so bad. My pop told me later that he meant wild rabbits and that he was the one who went out and got one or two in the evenings after school so they could have some meat w/ their beans. Rabbits were only safe to eat during the cooler months, the risk of Tularemia being much greater during warm weather, the months without an "R" in their names.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Wow! I've never heard of "Hoover hogs." It's hard for me to imagine. Most of us are rather spoiled now, at least by comparison - I don't think we could manage nearly so well as that generation! Thanks, Mike.

Richard Sheppard said...

I like simple things and a one bowl cake sounds great! My dad is vegan and when he's around I'm always on the look out for recipes that look good that are also vegan. I've made great vegan frosting before with three simple ingredients. Vanilla soy milk, melted chocolate, and sugar. Put it all together in a blender on high for a few minutes and wow! I can hardly tell the difference from other frostings.

Anonymous said...

Well, it looks like a tasty cake!

Christine said...

Wow, that cake looks delicious. And even though I have eggs coming out of my ears, I want to try making this one. I have quite a soft spot for chocolate cake.
(Oh, and your apple pie from the previous post looks delicious, too!)

Melissa AuClair said...

Love, love, love one bowl cakes and baking recipes! This looks so good. I enjoy the stories you share with these posts; very rich and special.

Angie Schneider said...

I wouldn't worry about the freshness at all as a beautiful chocolate cake like this doesn't last that long :-))
Well done, Jean!
Angie

Unknown said...

What goes around comes around? That's the first thing I thought. Meaning everything old is new again. Hmm. I must have another cliche in me. GREG

Thomas "Sully" Sullivan said...

Cold Coffee Chocolate Cake – C4. Very explosive recipe! Love it. Have to laugh at your one-bowl motivation. Seems more and more that I become adept at cooking and eating all in one pan. Sometimes even getting efficiency down to the food containers in the fridge – swilling juices from the bottle or adding ingredients into a store carton. Ah, the pleasures of bachelorhood! And most interesting background stuff, e.g. the Great Depression/Recession. Ditto Mike’s anecdotes. 5 cleavers!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Richard, thanks! I remember your mentioning before that your dad is vegan; hope he tries the cake! Your vegan frosting sounds good, too.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Christine! Yes, you do have eggs coming out of your ears, don't you! :D Hope you can try the cake, and pie, soon.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Melissa, thanks so much! I'm glad you appreciate my little stories. I'm an introvert, so telling them doesn't always come easy.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Angie, thanks! I usually have to hide a piece of something that I want to test as to how long it will stay fresh.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Greg, sometimes when one cliche pops out, it's hard to stop! :D

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks for the 5 Cleavers, Sully! I can just see you standing at the refrigerator, swilling stuff down; but DO TRY to sit down and have a civilized solo bachelor meal once in a while! :D

Cranberry Morning said...

Doesn't that look delicious! Here I am, trying to stay away from things like that right now because I seem to be expending almost no energy! But it looks wonderful.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks so much, Judy! You'll be expending plenty of energy when you get back on your feet - I imagine you trying to catch up, making up for lost time. Can't keep a good woman down!

Rosita Vargas said...

un postre lleno de chocolate sabroso e irresistible me gusta,hugs,hugs.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Muchas gracias, Rosita! And hugs to you as well!

Charles said...

I thought the name might be alluding to the fact that it looks like the kind of thing you shovel into your face-hole in great quantities when you're feeling down!

I can't believe how rich and moist and generally all round wonderful it looks for what it's got (or rather hasn't got) in it - lovely post Jean!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks so much, Charles! I hope you'll try it soon.

LANA said...

My mother was a child during the Depression and she says the worst thing was eating spaghetti with ketchup. I have a wonderful book written by a 93 year old called "Clara's Kitchen". She is also on Youtube. You will fall in love with her. She lived through the Depression and talks all about it and shares frugal recipes. My favorite is "poor man's meal". I like your one-bowl cake concept. I love good food but am all about simplicity so that vegan cake is something I will make. It looks delish!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Lana! I hope you'll try it soon. And thank you for telling me about Clara - I'll definitely check her out! Spaghetti with ketchup sounds just awful.

Jenn S said...

My grandmother used to make depression cake... and mayonnaise cake too. I loved both and still do, of course :) How could you not love a good chocolate cake? Especially one that uses only one bowl!!

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Jenn, don't you admire women like our grandmothers who really seemed to know how to make something from nothing?!

Janice Pattie said...

What a fantastic recipe, will definitely making it. Thanks for visiting my wartime recipes at Farmersgirl Kitchen.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thanks, Janice. I love developing or re-creating recipes with a bit of history, such as things my grandmothers (one English, one Southern) made, which is why I was drawn to *your* site.

Blackberry Lane said...

This looks delicious, Jean. I've signed on to follow you. I appreciate your visit and comment on my blog earlier today.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

Thank you so much! Greatly appreciated!

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