Have you ever “needed” to make a cake and found yourself in a bind because you’re missing eggs, butter, and/or milk? If so, this Depression-Era vanilla cake recipe is for you!
All of these ingredients were hard to come by during the Great Depression, so savvy cooks made do with what they had and came up with this delicious cake base.
Maybe it’s inconsistent to make whole wheat tortillas and eat homemade yogurt sweetened with raw honey…and then turn around and make a white cake (with white flour and white sugar.) This recipe won’t win me any healthy mom brownie-points.
Part of a homemaker’s job though is to find the balance of health, taste and cost that works in her kitchen.
Depression cupcakes with fresh strawberry frosting
Rose turned five last week and requested white cupcakes with strawberry frosting.
I thought I had all the ingredients for birthday cupcakes, but when the time came to make them, I realized the eggs were used up for quiche and we were almost out of butter. Whoops!
There wasn’t time to run to the store. I searched for an egg-free, butter-free white cake recipe, but couldn’t find one.
Then I remembered this chocolate depression cake, named because it uses no eggs, milk, or butter—all of which were hard to come by during the depression.
I tweaked the recipe and this eggless, butterless white cake turned out surprisingly well.
Vanilla Depression Cake Recipe
Makes one 9×9 pan or 12-18 cupcakes
- 1 2/3 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp vinegar
- 1 tsp vanilla or almond flavoring
- 6 T oil
- 1/2 cup yogurt, optional (It really increases the moistness and flavor of the cake! See how to make your own yogurt here. It’s a huge money saver!)
- Mix together dry ingredients
- Combine wet ingredients and add to dry. Mix well.
- Pour into a 9×9 pan (or 12-18 lined muffin tins.)
- Bake at 350 for 30 (or around 12-15 minutes for the cupcakes) or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean.
- Top with icing of your choice, if desired. (I added frozen strawberries to homemade buttercream frosting.)
Enjoy Vanilla Depression Cake
So there. I’ve completely ruined any delusions you had of me as a super healthy mom. Oh well. My daughter loved the cupcakes!
If you need cake in a hurry and don’t have eggs, milk, or butter, let this vanilla depression cake save the day.