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Lena Fay's Dinette Cake (also called Austerity Cake)

Lena Fay's Dinette Cake (also called Austerity Cake)




Back Story of this Recipe

Throughout generations, anytime food is scarce or supplies limited, homemakers have gotten innovative in doing what they can to feed their children as well as keeping their world as normal as possible. This little cake, baked in a small pan and using a minimum of ingredients has been passed through a number of the generations of my family. My great-grandmother had her version of it during the Civil War, my grandmother, during the Depression, and Mom remembers making it as a girl, for Sunday dinners during the time of rationing during WWII. I am posting the most modern version. You can use the variety with sugar, or the one that substitutes honey for the sweetening.


Two versions of a small cake, useful for when you haven't had time to get to the store, but want a sweet treat for dessert.


Calories 102 kcal 5%
Cholestrerol 85 kcal 3%


Version with sugar:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup soft shortening (lard was used at one time and could still be, if that's all that's available)
2/3 cup milk (water will work)
1 tsp flavoring (vanilla, cinnamon, lemon...whatever you have on hand...or omit if you have nothing to add. 3 Tbsp of cocoa powder can be used for a slightly chocolate taste)
1 egg
Version with honey:
Use 1 cup of honey instead of sugar.
reduce liquid (milk or water) to 1/3 cup
The honey doesn't mix well with the cocoa.


Grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 for the version using honey)
Sift together the dry ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients and beat 2 min.
Pour into prepared pan and bake until done and toothpick comes out clean. About 30 minutes.
Frost if desired, or, in keeping with the concept of Austerity Cake, sift a small amount of powdered sugar over the top for a finished look. This can also be served warm, with butter, whipped cream or ice cream. This is a very versatile dessert.