I like baking in the philosophical sense. I like the idea of baking–the whole Tollhouse cookie, Pillsbury Doughboy image of cookies and biscuits being pulled out of the oven, a toasty golden brown, fluffy, and identical in size and shape, usually while wildly smiling and suspiciously clean, blonde children stand watching, on the ready. Me in an old sweatshirt, cursing under my breath when I realize I don’t have any eggs–something I only realize after I’ve creamed the butter and sugar and added three cups of flour–does not fit this image.
Please understand. The scene of an angry me storming around my kitchen because I have to go to the store now is not a “one time only” showing. This scenario unfolds with very little variation whenever I am possessed of the random impulse to bake. I never have eggs. You think I’d learn to check for them before I start, but I don’t. I start recipes. I don’t have eggs. It’s a universal given on the level of death and taxes.
Then one day, desperately searching the internet for a dessert recipe that didn’t require me to go to the grocery store, I discovered the gem that revolutionized my “Last Names Beginning with A-H Bring a Dessert” life: THE DEPRESSION CAKE.
Don’t panic! This cake gets its name from the three holes (depressions) you make in the dry ingredients to pour various liquids into–it does not cause, worsen, or is in any way related to any medical condition (except maybea sugar coma if enough is consumed?)
I honestly don’t remember where I found it anymore, or I would totally give the webpage its due, because this cake is truly amazing. Not only is it a good “take to a party” 9×9 size, (since nobody wants to look like a pig eating half a cake straight out of the pan when there are other people present,) it’s light, fluffy, moist, and generally delicious. You also can mix the whole thing in the pan you bake it in, so there are aren’t a thousand bowls to wash.
And (even better!) no one who eats it will EVER guess that the recipe calls for no butter, no milk, and (most importantly in my case) NO EGGS. Unless you tell them, and I do, because I think this recipe is genius–and also because then people of the vegan persuasion can’t make everyone else feel guilty for eating dessert without them.
It’s now my party go-to, because, let’s be honest, you tell people you made a cake “from scratch,” and most of them will elevate you to a culinary place somewhere between Julia Childs and Betty Crocker. They will never know that this recipe is basically one step up in difficulty from a grilled cheese sandwich. The way I see it, what they don’t know can’t hurt them. Happy baking!
(If you’d like to try the Depression Cake for yourself, you can check it out under my “recipes” tab.)