1. Preheat oven to 350(F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. In a large
saucepan, combine sugars, water, shortening, raisins, spices and salt. Boil
together 3 minutes; cool.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda; add to saucepan,
with nuts. Mix well and pour into prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
3. Remove from oven. Let cool for 10 minutes, then turn onto a cake plate.
When thoroughly cool sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, or mix lemon
and grated lemon rind into powdered sugar for frosting.
No Depression Cake
It was the depths of the Great Depression. Several families on our block
were receiving baskets of food from the welfare people. The grownups kept
talking about it - Depression. Hard times for everyone. But it was my
I was just a little girl.
My mother said there was no money for a gift or a cake. I sat forlornly on
the front stoop and felt sorry for myself. Then Mama came out and sat beside
"Remember, there is always hope. Come and see. I have a surprise inside for
your birthday today!" I ran in to find inside was the most adorable kitten
with huge blue eyes. I immediately fell in love with it and called it
Then I noticed a cake on the table with a candle on the top. "How did you
do it Mama?" I asked, my eyes all aglow. "The kitten came from nice Mrs.
down the street. She gave us the recipe for this No Depression Cake. When
you bake it you can't be sad! Mrs. Jones said we must think of what we have
on hand, not what we don't have. We can always create something new and
useful if we think positively. That is why it is called the No Depression
Mama was right, I will never forget the happiness of that day. I took a
piece of my birthday cake to Mrs. Jones to thank her.
I remembered the No Depression Cake when my own babies were little and
my husband's dry cleaning business failed. To help him, I began a tiny
advertising business on foot, pushing our children ahead of me on a broken-
down baby stroller in the rural town of Baldwin Park, California.
Because there were no jobs, I asked the weekly newspaper to sell me space
at a wholesale rate. Then I went out and resold the space in the form of a
shopper's column to merchants. When the rocks in the road wore out my
shoes, I cut cardboard and stuck it in carrying extra pieces in my purse.
Soon I had the house payment covered.
Then I spoke to service club luncheons to promote my advertising column. I
had no car or baby sitter, so I made a deal with my neighbor. I traded baby
sitting for the use of her car. Another helping of No Depression Cake! All
of the business I run today, world-wide, began with that No Depression
As the children grew up we had many ups and downs. I especially remember
one time when we had no money for groceries. I sat down with them and said,
"Let's make a No Depression Cake! Let's see what we have on hand." My son
said, "Mom, the avocado tree is full of fruit. I'll sell them today by the
"There aren't enough oranges on our tree to sell," my daughter said. "I'll
pick them, keep some for us, and take a bag to our neighbor to see if
trade for some of their great tasting plums!"
We all got busy. With the first avocado sales, I ran to the grocery store
and bought day-old bread, a big bag of pinto beans, some brown sugar and
powdered milk. Then I baked a No Depression Cake. We had a grand lunch,
counting all of our blessings and thinking of all the good things we could
By the end of the afternoon, our son had sold many more of the avocados,
and I had a big bowl of beans bubbling and baking in the oven. Then the
phone rang. It was one of my advertisers asking me to come over and pick
up a big ad and a check.
Next time you're feeling low, trying counting the good things you have on
hand. Do with what you have. Bake up a positive-thinking No Depression
Here is the recipe. It is milkless, eggless and butterless. You can
substitute other ingredients for any you don't have. The one thing this cake
of, however, is memories of cheerfully creating with what is at hand and on