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Depression era hipster cake.

February 22, 2016

I’m all about old timey things. I always say I was born in the wrong era- I should’ve been born around 1900 so I could have been a “flapper.” I love everything about the 1920’s/1930’s and I am obsessed with vintage everything. I collect vintage Pyrex/Depression glass/jadeite and vintage cookbooks. And vintage canning jars.

I’m just an old soul.

Anyway, I saw this cake over at and I knew I had to make it. Women during the Great Depression (and during WWII) were the original hipster vegans. Just not by choice. They had Victory Gardens, used butter & eggs rarely. And meat? It was a treat. I myself haven’t made a “cake” in quite some time. So when it involved such little effort and no eggs/butter? Hey. I’m there.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.

The best thing about this, though, is that it’s relatively cheap. And you don’t have to go run out and make sure you have the ingredients. I mean, most people have all the ingredients on hand- whether you’re vegan or not. Vinegar? Everyone has it. Canola or vegetable oil? Same. And most folks have cocoa powder. Which, by the way, is definitely vegan, whether you choose to use Dutched or regular. I like Hershey’s Special Dark myself.

The finished product kind of looks like a composition book, doesn’t it? Haha. Also: darkest cake I’ve ever made. Yes, I used dark chocolate but still. This cake is so dark it’s black.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.


Makes one 8×8″ or 9″ round pan, can be doubled to make one 9×13″ cake or two round layers


  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (make sure it’s vegan if you’re planning on serving vegans/keeping the cake vegan)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (Dutched or regular, depends on your taste/what you have)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup cold coffee
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Sift the cake flour into a 8″ x 8″ baking pan. Add the sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients together for at least 30 seconds to distribute the ingredients.
  3. Make 3 small wells in the dry ingredients. Add the vanilla in one, the vinegar in another and the oil in the third. Pour the cold coffee and water over everything and immediately whisk the batter until well combined. Be quick about it as the soda is activated once it touches the vinegar.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently poked. Dust with confectioner’s sugar when fully cooled. Enjoy!

Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex bowl.

Cake batter pattern.

Am I the only one who likes the patterns in the bowl after you scrape the cake batter? Yes? Okay.

Oh- by the way- that bowl is from the “birds of a feather” Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex line from World Market. Super duper cute! Now I don’t have to use my vintage Pyrex bowls and worry about them breaking when my dumb ass has buttery fingers (literally). I also got the “rise ‘n’ shine” set. Love them.

Anyway. Cake.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.

If you have a crazy craving for cake randomly and you don’t have enough eggs or butter or milk, then this is a great cake to have in your arsenal. It takes no time at all to throw together and you can even do it all IN THE PAN.

I did it in a separate bowl, but hey- you could have one less dish to wash.

Plus it’s just a great cake in general. It comes together in like, 5 minutes.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.

If you want your cake as dark black as mine, then use a dark cocoa powder. Otherwise, it’ll probably be just like a regular chocolate cake. You can also use frosting on yours, I just opted not to because it went with the super-easy (& vegan) theme. But hey, you could use a vegan frosting. Why not? Also whipped cream or marshmallow Fluff is a good choice.

I promise you- you will never know that this cake is “vegan” just by taste. It’s so rich and velvety. It can fool anyone.

Depression era hipster vegan cake.

Suggestions for use: Double the above recipe and make it in a 9″ x 13″ pan or two 9″ round cake pans, serve with vegan frosting or regular frosting if you’re not a vegan, serve with whipped cream and fresh berries or caramel sauce.
Soundtrack: “Sure Shot” – the Beastie Boys
Sources & Credits: Black & white tea towel; Ikea, OXO sugar duster; Bed Bath & Beyond, Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex “birds of a feather” mixing bowl;
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