Making History by my mother…

October 14th, 2008

My dessert tastes tend to be seasonal. With the fall days upon us, my cravings seem to be for spice cakes, gingerbread, apple or pumpkin anything! There is nothing more comforting than the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves permeating the house.

When Ginny sent me the link to Allen’s “Making History Food Event” by Recovered Recipes, I instantly thought of “Depression Cake.” As a child, this is a cake we would make usually at Christmas time. At some point, we stopped making it and the recipe was lost. When I was in high school, I was visiting a friend and looked through an old Betty Crocker cookbook. They had a recipe that was what I remembered as “Depression Cake” only it was called “Fruitcake Bars” and contained chopped nuts. I was happy to discover an old favorite and I’ve been baking it ever since.

I did talk to my mother to ask why they called it “Depression Cake.” She said that during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, it was difficult to afford butter and eggs and this cake didn’t use either. Once WWII started and rationing occurred, this cake was a perfect dessert. The icing is very different, more like a glaze and dries to a hard crust.

(aka Fruitcake Bars from Betty Crocker)

1 cup brown sugar, packed 2 cups flour
1 & 1/4 cups water 1 tsp salt
1/3 cup Crisco 1 tsp baking soda
2 cups raisins 1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix brown sugar, water, Crisco and raisins in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Mix the dry ingredients together on a wax paper and add to the cooled mixture. Mix well. Spread in a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35min.

1 – 2 egg whites (depends on the size of the egg)
Confectioners’ sugar
Stir sugar into egg whites until you have a thick, white paste. Spread on cooled cake and put colored sprinkles on top.

13 Responses to “Making History by my mother…”

  1. VeggieGirl on October 14, 2008 2:57 pm

    What a fabulous cake, linked with a pivotal historical event.

  2. Manggy on October 14, 2008 5:48 pm

    Thanks for the entry, Mrs. C! It looks delicious (the kid in me loves the sprinkles)! I can’t believe it has no eggs, that’s just awesome.

  3. Deborah on October 15, 2008 8:43 am

    I love recipes like this with a historical background!

  4. LyB on October 16, 2008 6:23 pm

    I just love that pic of the written recipe. The instructions are written so simply! Reminds me of the recipes my mom wrote down from old magazines and cookbooks. Thanks for sharing! :)

  5. cakewardrobe on October 17, 2008 11:56 am

    This cake is well in time for our second great depression.. I mean recession! Butter and eggs are SOOO expensive now! I can’t go grocery shopping for one thing these days without taking out a $10 bill from my wallet!

  6. cakebrain on October 18, 2008 2:41 pm

    I concur with cakewardrobe. This is a perfectly delicious cake that speaks of the economic times. However, it’s also a fantastic way to hook up with your family history through food!

  7. Emiline on October 19, 2008 12:17 am

    I need to try this recipe! I love historical recipes.

  8. Mom on October 19, 2008 10:37 am

    Glad you all liked the recipe. Cake, history and sprinkles-it doesn’t get much better than that. I stock up on baking supplies whenever there is a sale. I recently bought butter at Kroger for $1.88 per pound and Ghiradelli semisweet chocolate chips 12oz bag for $0.99. Happy Baking!

  9. Recipe Round-Up: Making History #1 | Recovered Recipes on October 28, 2008 1:18 am

    [...] Chicago, IL / North Carolina Ginny’s mother is actually the one who shared her recipe for Depression Cake (aka Fruitcake Bars). She explains that the cake received its name from the fact that it [...]

  10. Sylvia on October 28, 2008 1:41 pm

    Wonderful recipe,I love spicy cakes..and without eggs are awesome

  11. Elle on October 28, 2008 6:50 pm

    Looks wonderful! And I love the little doodle on the recipe copy, hehe.

  12. A ‘Depression Cake’ for Our Recession Aches | Eating Out Loud on October 30, 2008 7:16 pm

    [...] struck a chord with me. Ginny’s mother shared a recipe she lost and later found for ‘Depression Cake‘ (also known as Fruitcake Bars). I remember having something very similar while growing up [...]

  13. Recipe Roundup: Making History Event #1 — Eating Out Loud on October 1, 2010 11:28 am

    [...] mother is actually the one who shared her recipe for Depression Cake (aka Fruitcake Bars).  She explains that the cake received its name from the fact that it [...]

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