Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sugar Bank Cake: A Blast From The Past

This is a recipe that was tucked away from 1943, during the onset of wartime rations. The original description reads:

Pass up that second spoonful for coffee: put fresh fruits for their natural sweetness atop your morning cereal;  have honey on your grapefruit for a change - then immediately deposit the sugar you saved in a "sugar bank" made from the jar your real mayonnaise came in. It makes a game of the sugar shortage and when your mayonnaise jar is filled to the brim with the sweet stuff bake a special cake for a special event - one could go to the USO or to your favorite soldier at camp! 

The original recipe called for "vitaminized margarine" in place of butter, which was also being rationed at the time. I think it's so fascinating that a relatively short period of time ago, a cake like this was a such a special treat. We now make and buy sweets like this regularly, even daily for some. Maybe we should all start "rationing" our intake of sweets, not for lack of availablity, but for own own healths. 

Sugar Bank Cake

2 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 ½ squares unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup water

Sift together flour, soda and salt, Melt chocolate over hot water; cool. Cream butter until soft. Add sugar and continue creaming until light and fluffy. Add beaten eggs and beat mixture until smooth. Stir in vanilla and cooled chocolate. Combine buttermilk and water. Add alternately with sifted flour to creamed butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour and beating until smooth after each addition. Line two 8-inch cake pans with wax paper and grease the sides; fill with batter. Bake in a moderate oven (350° F.) for 27 to 30 minutes. Turn out onto cake racks and cool.  When cool, spread with any desired frosting.

I used a basic buttercream frosting. Adjust sugar and milk levels as needed.

Buttercream Frosting
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup shortening
2 1/2 - 3 pounds confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using salted butter)

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and shortening. Beat in sugar, vanilla, salt, and milk gradually, until you achieve the right consistency. Spread over completely cooled cake.

This should be enough to generously spread over cake with extra for decorating.

Happy Eating!