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Depression Cake

Depression cake, also called as war cake, was first made at the time of the great depression of 1929. It is usually made without milk, eggs, and butter because these ingredients were not easily available at that time and were expensive as well.

It is also called as an eggless, butterless and milkless cake or “boiled raisin cake” as the raisins are boiled with sugar and other spices to make a base. Such cakes were prepared during American Civil War as some ingredients were scarce or were being conserved for the use of soldiers.

Ingredients and Preparation

The major ingredients for making the depression cake are refined flour, sugar, shortening, cinnamon powder, baking soda, clove powder, nutmeg, raisins, water and allspice powder. Water, coffee or juice were used to prepare the basic syrup base.

Sugar, shortening and all spices are added to water together in a pan and mixed. The mixture is heated on low flame for about 10 minutes and then cooled. The sifted refined flour and baking soda are added to the raisin mixture. They are mixed well and transferred to the baking pan and baked in the oven at 180 degrees C for about 35 minutes.


  • Depression cake is served as a tea snack.

Health and Nutrition Facts

Serving size – 1 serving (90 g)

Calories - 265 cal, Fat – 8.8 g, Protein –3 g, Carbohydrates – 44 g, Saturated fat – 2.2 g, Sodium – 300 mg, Sugars – 23.9 g, Dietary fiber – 2 g

  • Depression cake is high in calories and fat. It does not contain high amount of protein. It is high in sodium. It should be avoided by people suffering from chronic disorders like obesity and overweight problems.
  • High sodium leads to an increase in blood pressure. It should be restricted for people suffering from hypertension.
  • Each serving contains about 80% of the recommended daily allowance of sugar. Sugars constitute empty calories in the diet. It is best to reduce sugar or partially substitute them with zero calories sweeteners like sucralose and stevia.
  • This cake is recommended for people who are allergic to eggs or milk which is very common in U.S.
  • It does not contain any vital vitamins. All the vitamins are majorly destroyed when the cake is baked at such a high temperature.
  • Depression cake is considered as a junk food or an indulgent food.


  • Depression cake was considered as a solution to satisfy the sweet tooth during the food scarcity.