American WW2 Chocolate Cake Recipe

You would assume with the lockdown that I’ve had lots of time to keep up to date with everything, but no!  I have kept working pretty much all the way through, so am glad for that! But it hasn’t left me much time for my other interests.  I hope that this post finds everyone well and not completely stir crazy!

I have come across a lovely American WW2 recipe for chocolate cake that doesn’t use eggs or butter, so makes it a little cheaper, even for these times. It is the magic combination of vinegar and baking soda that gives the cake its’ rise.  Only use a maximum of half a cup of added ingredients such as chocolate chips / dried fruit, as this will stop the cake from rising properly.

Chocolate Cake

Serves 8


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cooled coffee or milk, regular or dairy-free
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider or distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or dried fruit, or a combination
  • Powdered sugar for dusting, or 2 cups frosting (optional)


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F / 175°C / Gas mark 4. Lightly grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch square baking tin and set aside.

  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the coffee or milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir until the batter is smooth; it will be thin. Add the chocolate chips and dried fruit if using and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

  3. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out cleanly, about 25 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Storage: Leftover cake can be stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for up to 3 days.


Flour Shortage – 2 – tips

I’ve been lucky enough to manage to get a large bag of bread flour from the internet – 16kg!

It’s surprising what you can use it for – including making cakes – add 2 tsp baking powder per 150gm flour in a recipe to turn it into self-raising flour.

I’ve also used it to make pastry.  As long as you follow the general pastry rule of handling it as little as possible – it will be just fine.

Here’s a recipe that I’ve just tried using my bread flour:

Carrot Cookies

1 tbsp margarine  (as it’s VE Day tomorrow – I treated us and used best butter!)
2 tbsp sugar and a little extra for sprinkling on the top
a few drops of vanilla or almond or orange flavouring
4 tbsp grated raw carrot
6 tbsp plain flour and 1/2 tsp baking powder (or 6 tbsp S R flour)
a small amount of water to bind (1-2 tbsp)

(To get a full tablespoon of margarine, plunge the spoon first into boiling water, then cut out the fat with the hot spoon. In this way, a piece of just the right quantity will be obtained.)


Cream the fat and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.  Beat in the flavouring and the carrot.
Fold in the flour and baking powder.
Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into small greased patty pans.
Sprinkle the tops with the extra sugar and bake in a brisk over for about 20 mins. – I cooked them at 200 degrees C / 180 degrees C fan oven

WW2 Carrot Cookies

We’re going to have these with our celebratory lunch tomorrow x

“Menu” for Thorpe Camp

In the final stages of preparation, I have sorted out the things that I am going to make this weekend.  Please come along and have a try!


National Loaf – this is always on our stand
Eggless, Fatless Walnut Cake (v)
Mock Fish Cakes – these will be cooked around lunchtime

Mock Fish Cakes

Mock Fish Cakes with Mushy Peas

Eggless Mayonnaise (vegan)


National Loaf
Lentil & Tomato Sausages (v) – these will be cooked around lunchtime

Lentil & Tomato Sausages

Lentil & Tomato Sausages

Mock chocolate spread
Golden slices – a leftover recipe to use up the National Loaf

I hope that you will be able to come along and share your stories with us, whilst we share our food with you x

Preparation for Thorpe Camp

We will be at Thorpe Camp again this year – 6th and 7th July – and are in the throes of preparing for it.

I’m still trying to decide what recipes to showcase and have come across a couple of possibilities:

Eggless, Fatless Walnut Cake

500gm flour
150gm chopped walnuts
240ml milk
200gm sugar
4 tsp baking powder
good pinch of salt

Mix the flour, sugar and walnuts together.
Add the salt and baking powder, and then the milk.
It should be slightly wetter than a normal cake batter.
Pour into a greased cake tin and leave to rise for 10 minutes.
Bake in a slow oven until risen and brown.

I will also bring along the National Loaf – and possibly re-make the Parsley Honey!

I am still looking for a couple of easy, but different things to try out.  I have had to change our caravan and so am more limited with cooking facilities – but refuse to be deterred – wartime spirit and all that!!


One-Pot Meals – Leaflet no. 35

As the Ministry of Food leaflets kept being produced throughout the war, they developed and changed as time went on with ideas for whole menus, one-pot cooking, cooking for the elderly or children.


This recipe transfers well to more-modern tastes, particularly for children and looks like a meat-loaf.

8oz sausagemeat
2 tbsp finely chopped onion
1 tbsp chopped pickle
3oz breadcrumbs
Pinch of mixed herbs
Pinch of pepper
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp beef stock or milk

Mix all the ingredients together, place in a greased tin, cover with a lid and steam for one and a half to two hours.

I have tested this recipe in a small loaf tin, covered with foil and baked in the oven on a moderate temperature and it worked just as well, though it turned out a little more firm. The steamed version remains quite soft.

Good Ole Potatoes!

Potatoes are a versatile food, readily available and cheap. And so it was, that the Ministry of Food promoted “Potato Pete” and his range of recipes to encourage the use of potatoes in a wider variety of dishes than had previously been known.


Along with Doctor Carrot, Potato Pete gave a more cheerful image to the serious matter of food, so much as that they began to enjoy something of a cult following!

The following two recipes, I have taken from a book entitled Victory in the Kitchen (a collection of recipes by the Imperial War Museum).

Surprise Potato Balls

1lb cooked potato
1 large carrot, grated
1 tsp chopped parsley
A little sweet pickle
Salt & pepper
A few tsp milk, if needed
Browned breadcrumbs (you can do these yourself under the grill or may substitute golden breadcrumbs)

Mash the potatoes well and add the grated carrot, parsley and salt & pepper. Add a small amount of milk, if needed, to bind the mixture but do not make it wet. You should be able to form it into balls, and for it to retain the shape without breaking apart.

Make a hole in each ball and drop a small amount of pickle in and close the hole. Roll the balls in breadcrumbs and place on a baking sheet.

Cover with a sheet of greased baking parchment and bake in a really hot oven for approx. 15-20 mins. Serve piping hot with good gravy.

Potato Piglets

One potato per person
One sausage per person

Remove a centre core, using an apple corer, from the length of each potato and stuff the cavity with the sausage. Bake in the usual way and serve by arranging the piglets on a bed of cooked cabbage.

The removed potato is useful for soup.

Food is a Weapon – Don’t Waste It!


You were actively encouraged to clear your plates and not leave a scrap of food – if there were scraps, then they were to be fed to chickens or pigs, put on the compost and the government even collected bones to turn into glue!

I’m sure we all remember our Grandma’s encouraging us to clear our plates!

A whole raft of recipe ideas were born on the back of this – using up every last morsel.  I used one during my Ration Week Diet for using up left-over cake – Florida Pudding, which was very tasty.

Here’s a recipe for using stale bread to make another dessert or sweet treat.

Although bread was never rationed during the war, the usual white bread disappeared and was replaced by the National Loaf which was a more coarse, even, grey bread which most people did not find particularly appetising.

Golden Slices

Stale Bread
2 eggs (they would have used reconstituted eggs in WW2)
1 heaped tsp of grated orange or lemon peel
1 dsp of orange juice
Margarine or oil for frying

Cut the bread into 1/2″ thick pieces.
Beat the eggs with the grated peel and orange juice.
Soak the bread pieces in the egg mixture.
Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Serve hot, sprinkled with a little sugar.

As this resembles French Toast, I even been known to serve this as a “treat” for breakfast!

Eggless Mayonnaise

During rationing, you only received one fresh egg per person, per week, plus a box of dried eggs per month.  The latter were not terribly appetising to eat as “eggs”, but adequate in recipes.  Lots of “mock” versions of foods soon appeared, most of them based around potatoes which were in plentiful supply – such as the Mock Chocolate Spread that I used at an earlier event.

dried eggs 11

Ministry of Food ‘War Cookery Leaflet No. 11’ on ‘Dried Eggs’ 1940s

Although the following recipe seems quite simple, getting the right consistency can be a little tricky.

1 small baked potato
1 tsp mustard
approx. 2 tsp vinegar
1/4 pint of salad oil

Peel and mash the potato.  How well you mash the potato depends upon how textured you like your egg mayonnaise.  Also, remember that when adding the vinegar and oil, you will be beating the mixture well, so the potato should break down a little further still.

Stir in the mustard and salt.

Add the vinegar, beating well, then beat in the salad oil very slowly, adding only a little at a time and mixing well.

You could even add a drop or two of yellow food colouring to make this appear more convincing as “egg”.


Carrot Jam

In the process of looking for inspiration for this year’s upcoming shows, I revisited this recipe and think that I will bring it along with me.

Carrot Jam goes back centuries and there are versions printed in Mrs Beeton, but was brought back to popularity during the war due to fruits being harder to come by, and commercial jam being rationed.

This jam was created by Dr. Carrot, who was a creation of the Ministry of Food during the Second World War.

doctor carrot best friend


2 1/2 lb small carrots, peeled and sliced thinly (or grated)
2 1/2 lb caster sugar
Finely grated rind and strained juice of 2 lemons
Finely grated rind and strained juice of 1 orange


Put the carrots into a large saucepan and add just enough water to cover. – Bring to the boil and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, or until soft.

Strain off and reserve the cooking water. Puree the carrots with 1/4 pint of the reserved cooking water in a food processor.  Return to the pan.

Pour a further 1/4 pint of the reserved cooking water into a separate pan and add the sugar. Stir over a low heat until dissolved, brushing down the sides of the pan with hot water to keep it free of sugar crystals.

Add the sugar syrup to the carrot puree and stir in the lemon and orange rinds and juice. Bring to the boil over a low heat, stirring occasionally, and then boil rapidly for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and test for a set. If necessary, boil the jam for a further 5 minutes and test again until setting point is reached. Pour the jam into sterilised warm jars and cover immediately with waxed paper discs and cellophane covers. Label when cool and store in a cool, dry airy cupboard.