02 June 2009

Depression-Era Cooking.

I'm standing in the grocery aisle a few weeks ago nearly in tears. Since we've found out that Woodjie has a milk and egg allergy, that means that almost NOTHING in the instant mix aisle is useable for homeschool if we're going to be sharing. You know Woodjie wants you to share your brownies with him, even if he doesn't want to share his puzzle and doodleboard with YOU. (So he has the sharing thing halfway down, anyway.)

God sent an angel.

That, or a really nice woman in the supermarket that I was chatting with a few aisles before my snifflefest by the Betty Crocker. She had some strange curly-topped plant that she was going to give as a gift. It really was the coolest thing; you wouldn't believe ordinarily that a nice, healthy-looking plant could be had for a decent price at the local Hy-Vee and not a greenhouse.

(Aside: I refuse to shop with you, Price Chopper, because you required my Social Security card number or I wouldn't be able to get a ChopperShopper card and be in your stupid club so I could get the best prices. It's been 11 years. I'm not forgetting. The only thing I've bought since then was one box of sanitary pads, and obviously there's a long story behind that and why I was at Price Chopper that day, but I WILL spare you the details, ok? Sure, you say you've changed your ways. But you didn't listen to ME, random lady who walked up to the counter and got miffed at the Customer Service department attendee, because she refused to change the entire company's rules when I stated the obvious about wanting to keep my number private. True story.)

So anyway, here I am at Hy-Vee snuffling with the bread mixes, and of course I'm chatting again with the poor lady with the plant about all the troubles *sniff* in my life *sniff.* (Oh, come on. You've probably done that once or twice before, yourself.)

Do you know what she did? She got on her cell phone and started calling all her relatives, demanding they find great-grandma's Depression Era Wacky Cake recipe. This lady here I'm standing with in aisle six needs it. No, I mean now. Look in the cabinet near the cookbooks. It isn't? Look in the drawer to the left of the telephone. No? Ok. I'll call Derek...

She took the time. She flagged down the meat department guy and took his pen and a business card. Yup, here's his email on the other side (number)meatmgr@hy-vee.com. On the other side she's written this recipe:

1 cup water
3/4 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. soda
1 1/2 cup flour

350 degrees 25-30 minutes.

Yup, just mix it all together and throw it in a margarined pan. I gave Woodjie a piece where it didn't touch the margarine. He isn't deathly allergic to margarine or eggs, but we are following the diet anyway... we just don't get FREAKED OUT about "contact" like you would if he had a peanut allergy.

We love this recipe! I almost never do the recipe thing on the blogs, but I'm telling you that it's a very cheap alternative to the cake mixes you'd buy at the store. It just takes that initial investment into vanilla, salt, oil, etc. If you're already cooking and have this, you'll save a fair bit of money over the mix.

The cake is unusually soft, so I'm not sure how well it would frost. The frosting would have to be applied carefully, and this would not be the sort of cake you could cut and shape into unusual forms. But I would *highly* recommend it for people with milk and egg allergies. You could just use the vegetable Crisco instead of butter on the bottom of the pan if your allergies are severe. I get *sick* eating stuff with Crisco. So does Emperor. Everyone else tolerates it well, but I'll tell you, it makes Emperor and I most unhappy. So I will bake pizza, homemade pretzels and the like for Woodjie first with Crisco, then wash the pan and use margarine for the rest of us.

I hope you try the recipe if you like chocolate cake. Let me know if you do and what you think of it! Sorry there are no pictures. Our regular computer is going to be in the shop for about the next month or so. Am typing this on the old TRS 80. Ok, this part of the story is a slight exaggeration.

9 comments:

  1. lol I never use packet mixes & you should have contacted ME! I have several *replacement* recipes for chocolate cake. On the other hand I think they use pure chocolate & are very rich & I almost never make them because of the expense. Nah, the lady with the curly plant did better ~ but then she's an angel so you would expect that, wouldn't you?!

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  2. The blog I read Only Sometimes Clever (on my sidebar) has a child with severe diary issues. You might contact her too because she has lots of good advice. I also think that you can substitute flax meal for eggs in recipes. I have read that it ends up being cheaper and bakes up just as good.

    That is so awesome that you might an angel. The Bible says that we might meet angels unaware.

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  3. Oh, you made me cry this morning! Isn't that neat how God sends people just when we need help?! Just maybe she was an angel in disguise. I got that same recipe from a friend when I was lamenting the butter shortage we were having last year. She couldn't believe I didn't know the old "Wacky Cake" recipe. That's what she called it, anyway, and it is quite good.

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  4. That's interesting. My neighbor makes a Depression era chocolate cake that uses no eggs or dairy. It's delicious. It might be that same recipe. She's told us what's in it, but since I haven't made it, I don't remember what's in it.

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  5. What a nice lady!!! There are still nice people in the world!!! Yeah!!

    I have a chocolate cream pie recipe that is totally vegan and totally yummy! Want it? Not one person in your family will know that there are no eggs or cream in it. It's that good.

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  6. Paul was allergic to eggs until he turned six. Found out the first time he ate scrambled eggs at nine months andbroke out in hives, screaming his head off and scratching his face til it bled.

    A local mom just wrote a cookbook for kids with allergies, maybe you can get some ideas:

    http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/638626?utm_source=badge&utm_medium=banner&utm_content=140x240

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  7. What a nice lady. Usually people just nod their head as they run away.

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  8. Hi! I popped over from Kim's Dancing with Frogs blog.
    What a wonderful lady!
    That's a great recipe, I might give it a go tomorrow, thanks for sharing :)

    Got a fruit cake one for you -
    1 cup of bran soaked in 1 cup of fruit juice/non-dairy substitute then mixed with 1 cup s/r flour, 1 cup mixed dried fruit and 1 cup (or less to taste) sugar, in a loaf tin in the oven 30-45 mins.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)