After long winters and slow arriving Spring here in Maine, there is a moment when it feels like we have turned the corner towards warm days. We hear the peepers and birds announcing the new season. The light floods the screen porches in our home and it hangs around past dinner time. The chives, sorrel and the rhubarb came back in the raised beds. The muddy ground is firm again. Soon, we dare to hope that we will slice fresh tomatoes from the garden and eat on a slice of sourdough bread. And there will be birthday cake requests to celebrate the Summer births in our family.
We rely on our memories to see us through to the next season. Or someone else’s memories feed us the possibilities. We have faith that those tiny tree buds will open into leaves and when they open up, they will color and adorn the trees. And it will smell so amazing to walk by them we think. It will also smell so amazing to take the chocolate cake out of the oven and add a layer of frosting.
But we need not to wait for that season for cake. The daily everything in our lives is a cause to celebrate with cake. So I made the Depression Era Cake (wacky cake some call) to perfume our house. I used “aged sourdough starter (discard) from the fridge and there is no need to use the 1 tbsp of vinegar (but you can) as the secret ingredient that makes this cake that doesn’t use eggs, butter or milk so fluffy. The fermented flour is sour and when we add the baking soda, it does the trick! The sourdough starter in baked goods tenderizes, flavor and extends the cake shelf life.
Sourdough Depression Era Cake ( sourdough wacky cake)
1) Combine Dry Ingredients:
1 cup of flour
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2) Combine Wet Ingredients:
½ cup of fermented flour (sourdough discard)
½ cup of water, coffee, or desired liquid
⅓ cup of oil or melted fat of choice
1 tbsp of vinegar (optional)
3) Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined.
4) Bake 350F for 30-35 minutes for 9×9 or divide the batter between two 8 inch circle pans for a layer cake.
For cupcake size, bake 18-20 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
For regular Wachy cake and some variations: