By 1945, rationing and shortages had created challenges for home front housewives. Cooking practices changed due to the lack of ingredients needed for certain recipes or meals. It was difficult for families that were used to eating meat and potato meals to adjust to less appealing cuts of meat and dishes made with ingredient substitutions.
Women’s magazines of the time period often had articles that helped women figure out how to make new wartime meals appealing to their families. In the January 1945 issue of Women’s Day, there is an article called “You Can Bake Without…” and has ideas for recipes made without eggs, sugar, milk, or shortening. As a series, I’m going to make the recipes from each of these categories. This month, I’ll bake without eggs. Next month I’ll bake without sugar, and so on. Join me this week for the egg-free desserts.
Cocoa Cake with Chocolate Glaze
The cocoa cake recipe recommended using a large loaf pan, but we chose to use a bundt pan instead so we could add a glaze. The cocoa cake recipe was from the Woman’s Day article but the glaze was from a period cookbook. A fun tidbit–this cake cost 23 cents to make in 1945.
Addie from Sugar Addie’s baked this cake. She makes more than just wartime food and is an especially talented baker. You can follow her on Instagram: @sugaraddies. Of course, History in the Kitchen is also on Instagram. Come join me at @history.in.the.kitchen.
On to the recipes!
1/2 c. shortening
2 c. brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. buttermilk
2 1/2 c. sifted cake flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c. hot water
Cream the shortening, sugar, and vanilla. Then you add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk and beat well. Then add the sifted dry ingredients, alternating with the water and remaining buttermilk, and mix well. The recipe calls for a greased and buttered 12 x 8 x 2-inch pan, but the bundt pan worked great for us. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.
We thought the cake needed something to top it off, so we looked through my cookbook collection to find the perfect chocolate glaze. This one came from The Good Housekeeping Cookbook‘s 1944 edition. It’s actually a chocolate coating to cover frosting, but it worked perfectly as a glaze for this cocoa cake.
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 tsp butter or margarine
Melt chocolate and butter and blend. Let the cake cool. Use a spoon to pour the frosting over the cake. The recipe says that this frosting can also be used as a coating for other types of frosting, as well. We used it by itself for this cake.
The cake was fluffy, bouncy, and moist with a fudgy layer at the bottom. It had a nice milk chocolate flavor, and the frosting was smooth and mild. This was a big hit with everyone who tried it. I liked that the chocolate isn’t too intense. It was pretty quick to throw together, but the bundt cake pan and the chocolate glaze made it attractive enough to take as a potluck dish or to a family get-together.