Tag Archives: Wacky Cake

Camper Cookin’ Vol. 1 – Depression Cake

I’ve been thinking lately about how my cooking habits have changed since we moved into the Turtle. I don’t have as much counter space or cooking area, and when the weather is nice we cook quite a bit on the grill instead of inside. We still eat most of the same things, but how we prepare some of them has changed.

So I’ve started collecting recipes for one dish meals, foil pack recipes for grilling, and low prep dishes. I thought it might be helpful to share some of these as we try them so you can enjoy too! This will probably be an occasional series, as we try something new I’ll post the recipe and my review of it.

This one I can’t take credit for, I found it floating around on the internets, but it is so absolutely perfect for whipping up in a tiny space that I had to share it. It’s a recipe that reportedly became popular during the depression due to the necessary rationing of milk, eggs, and butter. I don’t know how true to the period it is because I’ve seen other recipes that called for boiling down raisins and other fruit instead of adding sugar, but this one is so easy that I’ll definitely be making it again.

This cake is made in one dish, with ingredients you probably already have, and turned out better than any box cake mix I’ve had. I was really surprised at how easy it is to make and how moist it turned out. I’ve tried made from scratch cakes in the past, and usually they are more trouble than they’re worth, so I always go back to the box. This one took me about 8 minutes to put together including taking the pictures. Unless you include the 20 minutes I spent refilling our propane tank, because we only run out when I’m trying to cook something and Marty isn’t here.

By the way, I hope you’ll excuse the poor photography… I took these with my phone and was in a hurry to get done and put together some sausage and veggie foil packs for dinner. I’ll share those next time!

Depression Cake

1 1/2 c. All Purpose Flour
1 c. Sugar
3 tbsp Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp White Vinegar
5 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 c. Water


Mix the dry ingredients together in an ungreased 8×8 baking pan. Keep mixing until it turns a nice chocolate brown color.


Dig out 3 dents in your dry mix, two small and one larger.


Pour the vanilla and vinegar into each of the smaller dents and the oil into the larger one. Enjoy the creepy cake face that occurs at this point.


Pour your cup of water over the whole shebang. Say buh-bye to your creepy cake face. If you’re really feeling funny make screaming noises as he disappears.


Mix it all together, smushing any little pockets of dry stuff until it’s all nice and moist.


Taste the batter, because it’s quite delicious.

Bake at 350 for 35 minutes and test with a toothpick, if it comes out clean you’re done. Mine came out perfect and didn’t need any extra time, but ovens vary.


Ice, top with powdered sugar, or just eat plain like we did.