Tag Archives: cake

Rations, rations, rations. That is what motivates people to cut out eggs and dairy from their cakes. So I have yet another cake to share that was already vegan. Naturally I made some modifications, but let’s start with the history.

Many kids in America has played The Oregon Trail. I have not. But if you haven’t played it, the premise was pretty easy. It was a computer game where you traveled across the United States on the Oregon Trail to get to the west. On the REAL Oregon trail, you probably would of made this cake. Or if you were traveling anywhere really, whether you were a cowboy or relocating. Most everything in this recipe is shelf stable, making it great for most pioneers.

The recipe may look familiar with other cakes- boiled raisin cake, war cake, depression cake, or my favorite milkless eggless butterless cake (thanks wikipedia) What makes this version pretty awesome is that you don’t dirty up too many dishes. Unlike the Wacky Cake, which tries to only use one pan, this one really isn’t mess when mixing the batter. Sure you will have to dirty up another small pot, and something to drain the raisins, but overall it is a pretty easy clean up

Now I could of just made the recipe line by line, but I thought this could use some jazzing up. First I stuck with raisins, but you can easily swap out any other dried fruit. The recipe even suggests it. Just chop up any large fruit, and just follow the recipe. 

But I thought I would use a little booze in the recipe. I thought and thought about what kind- and finally settled on a gose beer (pronounced go-suh). A Gose is a sour beer originating in Germany. It is spiced with coriander, and is known to be salty. It gets it’s name since it originally was brewed in the town Goslar. The style almost disappeared in obscurity, but it has recently become really popular since the rise of sour beers.

Can’t find a gose beer? Any sour beer will work just fine. If you don’t know a lot about beer, just ask someone who is working at the liquor store or look for any bottle with sour, lambic, or wild ale. If you choose just a sour beer (or any type of sour juice) remember to add a pinch of salt, gose beers are naturally salty.

I used Sixpoint Jammer. It is a gose that is vegan and American, so I like that. I was lucky enough to buy the can individually from Total Wines and More, but you can also see if you can order it online. But remember, this isn’t the ONLY vegan gose out there. There are tons, and it might even be from the country you live in.

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Welcome to Vegan MOFO 2017! Yey! This year I’ve got this! lol nope, I don’t. I am crazy to think I can balance a baby and a blog post each day. But I love Vegan MOFO, so whatever. I’m going to try and make it work.

This year I decided to try and do a theme. Way back in March I wanted to try and bake cakes from my cookbook American Cakes. I thought I would do a cake a month or so… and I got only one done. In my defense I tried several different cakes, but haven’t found the perfect veganized version. Since it has taken me so long, I decided to make it be my theme for Vegan MOFO- Historical Vegnaized American Cakes! If you want to read more about my mission, check out the original post.

KIND-OF working with the weekly themes, this week is Changing Vegan Perceptions. So I thought I would pick recipes that are vegan to begin with or near vegan. Yes, vegan baking is historical. Who knew? There are actually quite a few recipes that needed little to no modifications in the book- enter the Wacky Cake.

There are lots of stories surrounding this cake. Some people say it came about from the depression since butter and eggs were so readily available. But it seems more likely it would of been made during World War II because of rations. But author Anne Byrn focuses on the popularity of this cake as an “emergency dessert.” 

This concept cracks me up, but is a very real social requirement of the 50s. You must be prepared to feed a guest at any moment! My boss talks about how guests would show up, and there was routine that the dinner portion would shave down just a little for everyone to make up for the extra table setting. Then his Mom would cook up some potatoes to make up for plate space. Since this recipe didn’t have any perishable items, it made it easy to whip up. Heck I made the whole cake and topping in one nap time (aka less than an hour)

The original recipe is suppose to be made in just the cake pan. You sift the flour, create little holes in the flour, and fill them with the liquids. Mix all together and bake. I found this to be a pain in the butt, and it didn’t mix all the way. So I just mixed it all together in my kitchen-aid mixer and got much better results.

At first I felt a little odd making this cake without making any modifications, but after a quick search- I found that this cake is ALL OVER THE PLACE. Heck, even when reading the recipe I thought “this looks like the recipe my Mother in Law made..” Yup- it was. She used the recipe from Mayim Bialik’s cookbook, she even makes it on Rachael Ray. So I felt a lot less weird about posting this recipe. I did try and keep the caramel topping in the book. I personally love it. I even tried to make it a little more “shelf stable” by using coconut oil instead of margarine. But you can use whatever frosting you want- or just some powder sugar.

And if you are wondering why it took me so long to post a recipe that I didn’t really alter? Well, it is because I kept not getting very good photos. First time making it, I didn’t bother with photos, for whatever the reason. Then the second time I made it for a party and someone cut tiny little squares and they just weren’t very photogenic. Then I made it again, which annoyed my husband (this isn’t his favorite cake) and I kind-of over cooked the caramel. *sigh* but I HAD to get the photos this time. So there you have it. Three cakes in total. Yikes.

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I love cake! It was always my favorite dessert as a kid- next to ice cream (for obvious reasons?). I never quite could relate to friends who thought cake was lame. I always had homemade cakes for my birthday. My favorite part was the actual cake part, not the frosting. Having a good frosting is especially important, and something I always remember is my friends having really gross cakes and frosting (probably because they would get cheap sheet cakes with Crisco frosting. Yuck.). 

I also remember admiring The Cake Bible. Baking seemed fun and exciting. But as I got older, it seemed that the American baked goods scene was boring. It is dominated with desserts that are made to taste like other things (like french toast covered in crushed sugary cereals, PB&J flavored everything, birthday cake flavored cookies, etc) or cakes that look like other objects. Nothing compared to the creativity with edible ingredients found in The Cake Bible (hello meringue swans on a blueberry jam pond)

Then Jon and I started to watch The Great British Bake Off. I fell back in love. I loved learning about all the different cakes, pastries, and desserts. Even the savory dishes were fun, mostly when they didn’t involve meat. It got me wondering, what about America? Do we have distinctive desserts?

I heard about American Cake from the podcast Stuff You Missed in History Class. I knew I needed that book. It combined so many things I loved, history and cakes. I also knew these cakes wouldn’t be vegan, so I would have to alter the recipes.

I originally was going to make this into a project for Vegan MOFO, but decided to post as I go along in the book. I won’t be making every single cake in the book. Some I am honestly not sure how to make vegan, or rather not sure how similar it would end up being to the original. For example there is an early colonial cheesecake that uses ricotta cheese. Do I bother trying to recreate that? Also there are three or four different pound cakes. Should I even bother? And don’t even get me started with angel food cake.

So follow me in my journey. I will either post about my adventures trying to make the cakes, and if possible, I will share my recipe. I naturally started with the first cake recipe, and one of my favorite types of cake- Gingerbread Cake. Hopefully, I will post it soon.

Recipes:

Applesauce Cake
Blackstrap Spiced Cake
Chocolate Sauerkraut Cake
Cowboy Cake
The Wacky Cake