Recipe for a Depression Cake

This is a recipe that came from the original Sun-Maid raisin box. This cake is named after the stock market crash of 1929. Depression cakes were made with little or no milk, eggs, sugar or butter, items that were scarce or expensive.

Don't be surprised when the mixture bubbles when combining the wet and dry ingredients. I also used a Granny Smith apple, and overall, this is a nice, not-too-sweet dessert.


2 cups sugar

2 cups strong coffee

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups raisins

1 apple, peeled and grated

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts


In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, coffee, shortening, raisins and grated apple. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, blend the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg and walnuts.

Stir dry mixture into wet mixture. Pour batter into a well-greased and floured 9- by 13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

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