Sunday, October 2, 2011

Emergency (Wartime) Chocolate Cake

In 1918, the Royal Baking Powder Company of New York created a book of recipes, called Real War Recipes, designed to save on eggs, butter, milk and wheat flour.  The book was written in response to a call by the Conservation Division of the United States Food Administration, who was shipping such ingredients to Europe in support of our allies in the war effort and feeding a starving populace. While this modern recipe for Emergency Chocolate Cake didn’t appear in their book, it is inspired by typical recipes of the time.

Many people are under the impression that the name, Emergency Chocolate Cake, is in reference to the fact that it can be cooked to quickly, and with little effort, to quickly appease their chocolate cravings. While I can sympathize with that sentiment, it’s simply not the case. It refers to to the wartime situation and takes into account rationing during wartime efforts. Because of that, it's also a great cake for using food storage staples.

This cake is very easy to make. It’s moist and super rich, jam packed with chocolate flavor. It’s so rich, in fact, that you may want to make sure you’ve got a glass of milk on hand. It can be served straight from the pan or turned out and dusted with powdered sugar or a bit of whipped cream.

Equipment Needed
Measuring cups and spoons
8-inch square baking pan
Mixing bowls
Rubber spatula
Cooling rack

Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutch-processed is best)
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Confectioners sugar (optional)

Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and water together until smooth. Add the mayonnaise and vanilla. Whisk until well blended and smooth. Add the mayonnaise mixture to the flour mixture and mix until well combined into a smooth batter.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with only a few crumbs, about 40 minutes. Remove the cake  and place the pan on a wire cooling rack. Let cool in the pan 1 to 2 hours.

Cut into squares and serve straight from the pan or turn the cake out onto a serving plate. Dust with powdered sugar if desired, or serve with whipped cream.

Makes 9 servings.

1 comment:

Ryan Mercer said...

So we got back from my company picnic today and the 7 of us are just relaxing around the house. We planned on making a cake for the missionaries who would be coming a few hours later to do another lesson with some neighbors but... no cake mix! A few minutes later I'm checking my twitter feed and BAM 3 tweets down the feed is this recipe! A literal Godsend! Thank you so much it was pretty good!