GIVEAWAY: Win a De'Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine! →

Depression-Era Hot Milk Cake

This was grandma’s favorite thing to make!

When asked to think of Depression-era recipes, what comes to mind for you? We first think of all the ingredients people had to do without, or unexpected substitutions that were found, but that are still strange to think about cooking with (e.g. when people baked cakes with mayonnaise as an egg and oil replacement), but you know what? A lot of those recipes are still totally delectable today, regardless of the fact that we have access to almost any ingredients we could want. Here, we’ve got a great recipe for hot milk cake that hails from the Depression, and that definitely stands the test of time – it’s just so good!

Other cakes – crazy cake, for example – might call for atypical cake ingredients, but hot milk cake is a pretty straightforward cake, calling for all the typical fixin’s. It’s a perfectly simple and simply perfect cake that holds its own against fancier desserts since it tastes amazing. Case in point: while we ended up throwing together a quick glaze, this really doesn’t need it. The cake is deliciously moist, with just the right balance of buttery, vanilla-y flavor, and we can say from experience that it doesn’t get better than this, folks. Whip up that glaze if you please, you’ve got an amazing dish on your hands regardless and can’t go wrong.

Serves 10-12

1 hour 15 minutes

Rated 4.6 out of 5
Rated by 30 reviewers
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and grease and flour a standard bundt pan.
  2. In a large bowl or mixer, cream together eggs and sugar for 3-5 minutes, or until fluffy and lightened in color.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook milk and butter until butter has melted and small bubbles start to form around the edge of the saucepan, but do not bring to a boil.
  4. Once small bubbles appear, remove from heat and, while beating continuously, slowly pour into egg mixture until incorporated.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, then gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  6. Pour batter into greased and floured bundt pan, then bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  7. While cake is baking, whisk together powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl until desired consistency and thickness are reached.
  8. Remove cake from oven and let cool 10 minutes, then invert onto serving platter. If using, pour glaze over the top of cake and let set before slicing and serving.

Recipe adapted from Culinary Hill

Subscribe to 12 Tomatoes