Not-So-Depression Cake


This is a variant on Depression Cakes – cakes made without eggs or milk. They also have a parallel in cakes made during wartime, which used a variety of smart substitutions or interesting innovations. Frankly I consider it proof you can makes cake without milk or eggs – and applaud the innovators.

This one is made with chickpea flour for more protein and maple syrup for sweetness – not exactly things available in the times mentioned. The major challenge is stirring the flour to make sure it doesn’t lump up – try sifting it first.

Taste-wise it’s decent. Essentially think “scratch-made homemade cake” and you’re there. Nothing to write home about, until you realize you’re eating a gluten-free, vegan, chocolate cake made from bean powder.  Then it’s pretty awesome.


Dry ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup chickpea flour (you can use regular flour too)
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup maple syrup (you can use 1 cup sugar, but then mix it in with the dry ingredients and use 1 cup water below)
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 4 tbsp oil
  • ¾ cup water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients together thoroughly. The cocoa powder helps determine if you blended it well – if the color is uniform, you’re good.
  3. Hollow out the center and 3 corners. In the center put the maple syrup, in one corner the vanilla, one the vinegar, and one the oil.
  4. Stir the ingredients together, blending the maple syrup and other “ends” together – saving the vinegar for last.
  5. Place in oven. Cook for 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at