Sunday, March 22, 2020

SHELTERED AT HOME CHOCOLATE CAKE aka Wartime Ration Chocolate Cake

It's a new world out there. Because of the Pandemic, we're all Sheltered at Home, and there's a lot of baking going on..

In the past, I've posted recipes from Wartime (WWII) when times were hard during the War, on the battlefield and on the Homefront. Things are hard now, too, and we're fighting something totally new and different.

This recipe is for War Time Ration Chocolate Cake, but for today, I'm calling it Sheltered at Home Chocolate Cake as we fight a battle against the Coronavirus.

During WWII, it was slightly easier to get sugar and cocoa in the U.S. than other countries, although I've seen several versions of War Time Chocolate Cake in various British war time cookbooks. Milk and eggs were rationed, too, so this cake, which is quite spongy, does without.

We haven't seen rationing yet here in the U.S., but during the Second World War, you couldn't just walk into a store and buy as much sugar or butter as you wanted. Because these items were rationed, you were only allowed to buy a small amount (even if you could afford more). The government introduced rationing because certain items were in short supply.

Some things were scarce because they were needed to supply the military - gas, oil, metal, meat and other foods. Some things were scarce because they normally were imported from countries with whom we were at war or because they had to be brought in by ship from foreign places. Sugar and coffee were very scarce. Coca-Cola even stopped production during the war because sugar in great quantities was not available.

Everyone was given a ration book that contained ration stamps for different items. Grocers and other business people would post what your ration stamps could buy that week, but it was up to the individual to decide how to spend the stamps and possibly save up the items for a cake like this.

So here's a recipe you can make today with what you have in your pantry. We got through the War, we'll get through this Pandemic!


1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

In large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt.
Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one put vanilla; in another the vinegar, and in the third the oil. Pour the cold water over the mixture and stir until moistened.
Pour into 8 x 8-inch pan.
Bake at 350°F. oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

1 comment:

Bridget Ryan said...

This was the favorite cake of one of my great-uncles, but although I'm an avid baker in a small family, I only recently learned about it! I desperately need to make up for lost time, since I'm a chocoholic in a small family (So 8X8 cakes are great). Since he asked for it for his birthday every year, my great-aunt decided to make it for his memorial service lunch (it was a small gathering of family). My mom and I, both avid bakers, were conscripted to help my great-aunt make the cake!