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Chocolate Cake... but with a catch

You know I love old recipes - they offer incredible insights into peoples' tastes in the past, what was available at what time and where, as well as the wider trends that extended far beyond single communities.

Throughout the ages, certain things have endured, though. Namely, our taste for chocolate cake.

This common dessert has changed with time to adapt to different needs and wants. For Savour Strathcona this year, we are highlighting three different approaches to chocolate cake over three decades: the 1940s, during the rationing years of World War II; the 1950s, with the advent of new technologies and creative new culinary uses for those technologies; and the 1960s/70s, when vegetables started getting incorporated more widely into (supposedly healthy) desserts.

Want to get baking, and see which decade makes your favourite dish? Here are the three recipes for you to try at home:


Imperial Chocolate Cake

Yield: 2 round cake pans

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup lard or shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup Crown brand corn syrup

3 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 eggs

1 3/4 cups pastry flour, sifted

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup milk

Preheat the oven to 350*f.

Cream butter and lard/ shortening thoroughly with sugar. Gradually beat in corn syrup; add melted chocolate and vanilla. Add unbeaten eggs one at at time, beating well after each addition.

Add together sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk. Turn into prepared cake pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Fill and ice to taste.

Recipe note: when in good supply, use 1/2 cup butter and omit the lard/ shortening.


Chocolate Tomato Soup Cake

Yield: 2 round cake pans

1 ¾ cups flour

2 cups sugar

¾ cup cocoa

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 can condensed tomato soup

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup oil

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350*f.

Sift together the first 5, dry ingredients. Mix the following 5, wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Using an electric mixed, combine all ingredients together, beating on medium speed for 5-6 minutes.

Pour into prepared cake pans.

Bake for 35-45 minutes.

Our note: This cake tends to take longer than 35-45 minutes to bake. Make sure a toothpick inserted into the centre of the baked cake comes out clean!


Chocolate Saurkraut Cake

Yield: 2 round cake pans

2 1/4 cups flour, sifted

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2/3 cup butter

1 tsp. vanilla

3 eggs

1 cup water or strong coffee

2/3 cup saurkraut

Preheat the oven to 350*f.

Sift together the first 5, dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla.

Add dry ingredient mixture alternatively with the liquid. Stir in saurkraut.

Pour into prepared tins, and bake 25-35 minutes.

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