colourful studio shot of hand holding piece of cake on plate against green background

Food - News

The Depression-Era 'Secret Ingredient' That Makes Cakes Super Soft
With individuals losing jobs and the economy crashing during the Great Depression of the '30s, people had to innovate to make foods last longer or compromise on ingredients they could no longer afford. One such innovation was substituting dairy products like milk and butter with one simple ingredient when making a cake.
Baker and cookbook author Jessie Sheehan found that adding ice water to a batter with no dairy yielded delectably “spongy” cakes. Though Sheehan had trouble finding any Depression-era cake recipe that specifically called for ice water, there are plenty of vintage recipes for Cold Water Cake (or
Wacky Cake) on the web.
These recipes typically lack dairy and, sometimes, eggs, but people still describe the result as light and fluffy. Many assume that these recipes started appearing during the Great Depression due to scarcity of ingredients, but adding iced water to cake batter is a deliberate choice because it delays the fats from melting, resulting in a fluffy texture.