Every day I watch the stock market fluctuate and my heart races when it dips. Our economy is screwed and my hard-earned retirement savings are now half of what it had been just months ago. Obviously, I’m not alone and we all are experiencing a variety of economic issues in our lives. I’ve resisted the urge to speak my mind about politics on my blog … *sigh* … and I’m continuing to resist the urge now … but I can hardly wait for next Tuesday’s Presidential election.
On a positive (and food-related) note, I held my ‘Making History’ event on my other blog where readers made an old recipe and shared their results (view recipe round-up) . Ginny from Just Get Floury enlisted her mother to participate (how cool is that?) and her recipe struck a chord with me. Ginny’s mother shared a recipe she lost and later found for ‘Depression Cake‘ (also known as Fruitcake Bars). I remember having something very similar while growing up but we called it simply, Snacking-Cake. I decided it would be the perfect thing to make this week to take my mind off the economy.
The recipe appears to have been created during the 1930s economic depression when eggs and butter were scarce. The cake utilizes a boiled mixture of sugar, dried fruit and shortening. The boiled mix is allowed to cool and is then mixed with the dry ingredients and baked. The outcome is a moist and fragrant cake which is perfect for snacking.
My great-grandmother made a similar recipe (since lost) which she called a snacking cake. I think it’s because the cake is baked in a 9×13 pan similar to brownies. You can cut it in small squares or bars and munch on it for a delicious snack. I’ve enjoyed eating it with my morning coffee every day this week. See, the hidden brilliance of this recipe is that if you call it fruitcake ‘bars’ or ‘snacking’ cake then you can eat it at ANY time of day. It’s no longer reserved for dessert only!
I made the recipe as Ginny’s mother’s recipe is written. I didn’t have raisins on hand so I used a mix of chopped dates, apricots, and prunes. I also opted to not make the frosting in order to save myself a few calories. However, with frosting the cake would have been gone in half the time :-)
Oh, I nearly forgot … I made one more alteration to the recipe. I happened to have a fresh pear which was going downhill quickly. As I cooked the wet ingredients for the cake, I saw it sitting in a bowl on the counter. I grabbed the pear and sliced it into thin pieces and dropped into the mix as I brought it up to a boil. Ok, that’s it. Those are the only changes I made.
I have a fascination with old recipes like this one. I love the historic use of ingredients like brown sugar, molasses, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, dates, walnuts and other brown things :-) I’ve been on a brown food kick lately as my Pumpkin Pie and Gingersnaps prove.
Hmmm, what brown food should I make next?