I’ve been playing this game the past few days where I don’t spend any money—cooking from the pantry, eating from what’s already in the fridge. I’m doing it partly to cut costs (how does one person spend so much money on food?) and partly to avoid waste (we’re heading back to Chicago for a few days on Tuesday anyway), and I have to tell you: nothing shows you how much you enjoy spending money like telling yourself you can’t.
But it’s good.
I’m just telling you right now I won’t make it to Tuesday.
So anyway, yesterday, wanting to find something to bake that wouldn’t require a trip to the store, I found myself Googling such strange combinations as “flour, sugar, cocoa,” “baking with no eggs” and even “recipes from the Great Depression.”
It was the final option that landed me on this cake, posted by Alice over at Sweet Savory Life, a version of which I had actually previously posted here (we’re talking previously as in March 2009), and even though I remembered it being just OK last time, I knew I had to try again, if for no other reason than that Hannah of Honey and Jam had just told me about Alice’s site when we met in Chattanooga last Thursday.
(Have I mentioned here how much I love meeting other food bloggers in person? Hannah was sweet, smart, full of interesting info about blogging, and easy to sit and talk with for like three hours in the middle of the afternoon—just like I knew she would be, after following her site for the last few years.)
This time, I did a little more research on the cake, partly because I remembered it being just ho-hum before, looking for tips and tricks other people had posted about changing it up. I saw someone used brewed coffee instead of water, another person added extra cocoa, someone liked to add vanilla extract (I thought about adding almond?) and a few people emphasized cream cheese frosting, which, between us, is exactly what I would go for if I made this again when I was, say, able to go buy some cream cheese beforehand.
Of course I made a few obvious adaptations to ingredients because of personal preferences regarding nutrition—whole-grain spelt flour, avocado oil, Sucanat—and so, I wasn’t expecting much from the cake when it emerged from the oven, even when it was soft and springy, fragrant with cocoa.
After letting it cool, I sprinkled it with organic powdered sugar I also had on hand (I know, right? I’m really suffering here) and sliced a small square to sample.
As for how it tasted, I’ll just say this: I baked it yesterday morning, and we polished off the last morsel of it last night. Tim says we should make layers next time, putting berries and maybe a whipped cream or marscapone inside between.
But even on its own, this wacky Depression-era cake is just slightly sweet, moist, perfect for pairing with something else like maybe ice cream or coffee, and it’s so crazy simple, so easy to make with what you already have, that I have to say I am sold.
Wacky Chocolate Cake
adapted from Savory Sweet Life
1 1/2 cups flour (I used whole grain spelt)
1 cup sugar (I used Sucanat)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
6 tablespoons oil (I used avocado oil)
1 cup brewed coffee or water
1 tablespoon white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8 pan.
In a medium mixing bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together by hand. Add all the wet ingredients except vinegar until well combined. Add the vinegar, stir and immediately pour into the prepared 8×8 pan.
Bake for 30 minutes until done. Allow to completely cool before serving; top with organic powdered sugar if you like.