Recipe: Cooks during the Great Depression baked this delicious chocolate cake with a surprise ingredient – The Boston Globe

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Depression Chocolate Cake
Depression Chocolate CakeSheryl Julian for The Boston Globe

Makes one 8-inch square

When eggs and butter were rationed during the Great Depression, cooks turned to mayonnaise, which is essentially eggs and oil, to make this simple and delicious chocolate cake. Stirred into a batter with unsweetened cocoa powder and water, the mayonnaise turns the cake surprisingly moist. Instead of water, add a cup of strong black coffee to the batter, which heightens the chocolate flavor. Butter and flour the cake pan here, or spray it with pan spray, or brush it with melted shortening and cocoa powder. The cake isn’t very sweet, so a generous sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar on the cooled cake is welcome. The batter comes together in minutes — no mixer required — which is probably the reason an entire generation knows it as the family birthday cake.

Melted shortening (for the pan)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (for the pan)
2 cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup regular mayonnaise (not light variety)
1 cup water or strong cold black coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Use the shortening to grease an 8-inch square cake pan. Sprinkle it with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.

2. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and granulated sugar.

3. In another bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, water or coffee, and vanilla. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the flour mixture just until well combined.

4. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and tap the pan once hard on the table to settle any air pockets. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Sheryl Julian

Makes one 8-inch square

When eggs and butter were rationed during the Great Depression, cooks turned to mayonnaise, which is essentially eggs and oil, to make this simple and delicious chocolate cake. Stirred into a batter with unsweetened cocoa powder and water, the mayonnaise turns the cake surprisingly moist. Instead of water, add a cup of strong black coffee to the batter, which heightens the chocolate flavor. Butter and flour the cake pan here, or spray it with pan spray, or brush it with melted shortening and cocoa powder. The cake isn’t very sweet, so a generous sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar on the cooled cake is welcome. The batter comes together in minutes — no mixer required — which is probably the reason an entire generation knows it as the family birthday cake.

Melted shortening (for the pan)
Unsweetened cocoa powder (for the pan)
2 cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup regular mayonnaise (not light variety)
1 cup water or strong cold black coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)

1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Use the shortening to grease an 8-inch square cake pan. Sprinkle it with cocoa powder, tapping out the excess.

2. In a bowl large enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and granulated sugar.

3. In another bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, water or coffee, and vanilla. Stir the mayonnaise mixture into the flour mixture just until well combined.

4. Pour into the pan, smooth the top, and tap the pan once hard on the table to settle any air pockets. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Cool on a wire rack. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.Sheryl Julian


Sheryl Julian can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.

Source: Thanks https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/05/05/lifestyle/recipe-cooks-during-great-depression-baked-this-delicious-chocolate-cake-with-surprise-ingredient/