Quick Chocolate Cake

This is actually a classic in disguise.

We met the 1-2-3-4 cake in the post for cup cake from Lutz, Florida; you can read about its history there. The name refers to 1 cup of butter, 2 cups of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and 4 eggs. The proportions on this card are exactly half that.

That said, 1-2-3-4 cake is typically leavened with baking soda or baking powder. Some southern versions use self-rising flour, so I’m guessing that’s what we’re looking at here, too.

Compare this version from the September 3, 1936 edition of The (Biloxi, Mississippi) Daily Herald:

Quick Chocolate Cake

Two ounces chocolate, 1/2 cup shortening, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 3/4 cup flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Melt the chocolate and the shortening over a low fire. Put in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, milk, eggs (unbeaten), vanilla and flour sifted with the baking powder and salt.

Do not stir until all the ingredients are in the bowl, then beat hard for several minutes until the batter is nice and smooth.

Bake in two layer tins, well greased, in a moderately hot (375 degrees F.) oven from 15 to 20 minutes. This makes a dark, rich chocolate cake.

From a notebook originally from somewhere in the general area of Sterling, Colorado from the 1930s.

This recipe is from the 37th page of the notebook; here’s the page in full (click to enlarge).

Click to expand a longer explanation...
In the words of the seller:
I acquired this book from the great granddaughter of the woman who wrote this book back in a small Nebraska town in the 30’s. She belonged to that generation of rural housewives who worked tirelessly to make ends meet and “keep body and soul together” for their families working the farms.

Later addendum:[A]fter a conversation I had with a friend’s sister who used to live in North Eastern Colorado, given the type of recipes listed we decided it might be from a small town there, i.e., Sterling or Fort Morgan. Also North Platte or Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Even Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you Google a map of Sterling, Colorado and pull back, you will see all these little towns in that tri-state area.

Quick Chocolate Cake

1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/2 c. butter, melted
4 tsp. cocoa
1-1/2 c. [self-rising] flour
1 c. milk

Mix in all at once and bake.

Yesterdish suggestion: Bake in layers, 350 deg. F. for 20 to 25 minutes.

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