Smaller families and tighter budgets mean less is more these days. One way to cope is to resurrect the desserts of the Great Depression. These typically used simple ingredients and simple techniques to turn a little bit of something ordinary into something special, and what more could a person ask for today?
Some things haven’t changed much since the Great Depression. Mothers still love their families, and try to make the best of things even with hard times and tight budgets. Many women work outside of their homes these days, even when they have small children, and come home tired and cranky themselves, only to be faced with the issues of dinner, hungry children, housework, bills, and worries about money.
This recipe is not only easy, it is also easy on the wallet, and translates well for the smaller family, rather than the original 9×13 cake that required a large oven and then created a large cake. This version is virtually identical, but can be baked in a small countertop oven as well as creating fewer servings and being more small family sized.
Leaving off the frosting is an excellent way to leave off some calories too. For a little bit of “something” to dress it up, you can dust it with a bit of powdered sugar, instant cocoa mix, or even broken chocolate bars (allow them to melt, spread them thinly, and then cut the cake before the chocolate hardens.) Want something fancier? Try a couple of spoonfuls of cherry pie filling and a bit of whipped topping or whipped cream for a “Black Forest” version. Top it with a scoop of ice cream and some hot fudge topping for a more decadent dessert. Even a couple of spoonfuls of vanilla yogurt, chocolate or peanut butter pudding, or a mocha yogurt could turn it into something awesome.
A little bit of crazy cake
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup cold water
Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a ungreased brownie pan (7.5″x11″). Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into squares.