Nameless Cake: a spicy treat from Depression years

Recipe Finder

December 16, 1998|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Sun Staff

Marianne Thomas of Bend, Ore., writes that she remembers the Depression years and a spicy cake that was "our favorite." It was a nameless cake that had "chocolate (maybe cocoa) and nuts. The frosting was fluffy and contained coffee as well as chocolate. Can you find such a recipe?"

Kathy Dallam of Bel Air sent the response chosen by tester Laura Reiley. Dallam wrote:

"My mother-in-law, Louise Ackerman, always made this cake for my husband's birthday when he was growing up. Here's her recipe, unchanged. I'm not sure where she got it."

Nameless Cake

Serves 12

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon lemon extract

1 3/4 cups cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

pinch salt

3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

Mix together vinegar and milk and set aside. Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, and extracts. Sift dry ingredients together. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the creamed ingredients. Blend batter well. Put batter into two greased and floured 8-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

Mocha Icing

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

3 cups confectioners' sugar

1-3 teaspoons cocoa, to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons strong, hot coffee

Cream butter and sugar. Add cocoa and coffee. Ice cake when cool.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "The cakes were done in just under 25 minutes in my oven. Despite all the cocoa powder in the cake batter, the cake is just faintly chocolatey; the cinnamon and nutmeg actually are more prominent flavors. I added the full amount of cocoa to the icing and even a little finely ground coffee just to get a little extra 'oomph.' The result is a subtly chocolatey spice cake with a rich, buttery, old-fashioned icing."

Recipe requests

* Vernita Riebel of Algonquin, Ill., writes that she is looking for a "Dutch apple pancake that is baked. They sell it in many restaurants in the Chicago area. The apples are baked inside; it is about 2 inches high."

* Cathy Donoughe of Hannastown, Pa., is seeking a recipe for a "sugar pie my aunt used to make when I was a child. Do you think someone might be able to help me find the recipe?"

* Katherine Harrington of Albuquerque, N.M., writes that some 21 years ago she lost a recipe in her move from Florida to New Mexico. "It originated on a bag of unbleached flour (brand unknown) and was called Cheesy Dapper Apple Squares. Five people here would love to have that recipe. It included a graham cracker crust, layers of apples, nuts and cheese. Thanks for any help you can give."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The jTC Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Letters may be edited for clarity.

Pub Date: 12/16/98

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