Discover Eggless, Butterless, Milkless Cake

7 December, 2005 (11:23)

RECIPES: Eggless, Butterless, Milkless Cake from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook, 1944

By Rae Udy

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on this day in 1941 forced the United States to enter World War II, the Office of Price Administration introduced rationing. Americans received ration tickets to control the national stock of sugar, butter, meat, gasoline and shoes.
Food rationing required home cooks to be creative in stretching supplies, in preparing healthy, balanced meals while satisfying the family taste buds on limited menus. Thrifty wartime chefs made do with less and substituted more. Home cooks made sugarless, cookies, eggless cakes and meatless meals.
According to American Home Menus, November 1943, a typical meatless breakfast would include applesauce, corn meal griddle cakes with syrup. Lunch would be a bowl of bean and barley soup, cottage cheese and prune salad, enriched bread and orange slices. Scrambled eggs and carrots with toasted bread cubes would be a common dinner main dish. Side dishes of stewed tomatoes, cole slaw with evaporated milk dressing and whole wheat bread served with assorted nuts and raisins would complete the meatless menu.
Because dairy products were sometimes difficult to obtain, Crisco, salad and vegetable oil and even mayonnaise commonly substituted for butter. Water and canned soup replaced milk in batters. Baking powder and baking soda helped cakes and cookies rise without eggs. And baked goods and candies relied on brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, molasses and maple syrup for sweetness instead of white sugar.
Clever types often served Butterless, Eggless, Milkless Cake as dessert. The inspiration for this frugal cake actually dates to the Medieval Ages; early European settlers brought it to America. The recipe made a comeback during World War I, then returned in the Depression. During World War II, many cooking magazines published recipes for what was also called “War Cake” or “Depression Cake.”
In fact, the recipe below comes from “The Good Housekeeping Cook Book,” dated 1944. This light, fluffy cake contains no cholesterol and is rich in B vitamins, thiamin and riboflavin. Each serving provides 11 percent of the daily value of iron and three grams of protein while totaling a mere eight grams of fat. My cake only needed 30 minutes baking instead of 50 minutes called for in the recipe. This cake is perfect for vegans to bake for special occasions.

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2/3 cup raisins
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons water
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Boil brown sugar, 1 1/4 cup water, shortening, raisins and spices together for three minutes in a saucepan. Cool until lukewarm. Dissolve baking soda in two teaspoons of water and add it and salt to the mixture. Sift together flour and baking powder and add it by thirds to the mixture, beating smooth after each addition. Bake in a greased and floured 8 x 8 inch pan in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 50 minutes or until done. Needs no frosting.

Sources: “The Good Housekeeping Cook Book,” new edition, completely revised 1944, Farrar & Rinehart, New York;;

Posted in Vegan Snacks, Vegetarian Desserts


Comment from cooking recipes in micravwae
Date: March 4, 2015, 2:35 pm

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