Last night at knitting grope, Lisa told me she had tried making the chocolate cake and her family found it rather grainy. After chatting with one of the expert cooks in the group, we came up with some ideas for people who aren't keen on grainy cake (as we more or less are now): try whole wheat pastry flour, white whole wheat flour, or a mix of all-purpose and whole wheat in whatever proportion you'd like. Or replace some of the whole wheat with some barley flour, a very soft and slightly nutty flavor.
After the cooking consult, Amy informed me that the origins of this kind of cake--Victory Cake--are from the World War I and World War II eras when butter, eggs, wheat, and sugar were in short supply. (Well, this one certainly uses plenty of its share of sugar and wheat.) Cool!
I remember making the wells in cakes when I baked with my grandmother, who easily could have started doing it during the war. The recipe I put up was one I riffed off from a crumpled recipe for a similar cake made from white flour and the like.
Given that I am currently obsessed with home activity during the Great Depression and World War II, I am absolutely thrilled to learn the history of this cake. Thanks, Amy!