Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Joyfully Accepting Depression Cupcakes

Malcolm and I were away for 2 weeks traveling for support raising and Thanksgiving/family time, and we just got back on Sunday - just in time for Monday's couple's night!! I LOVE couple's night for multiple reasons, but one of them is that I get the chance to try out new recipes on a few guinea pigs.

Since we just arrived Sunday with not a ton of time to go shopping yet, I almost caved and didn't make my traditional cupcakes (I LOVE making cupcakes, which I can explain more of at a later time). But then I thought to myself,

"Hmmm.... maybe I shouldn't take this as defeat, but rather as a challenge...."

And, thus, I took the challenge!

If you haven't discovered allrecipes.com, you really, truly need to! Whenever I need to use up stuff in my fridge, or if I want to make something specific but don't have certain ingredients, I use this website. So I typed in for ingredients I didn't want: milk, eggs, sour cream, sugar. Ingredients I wanted: flour and brown sugar (I seriously pretty much had nothing). I wasn't expecting too many recipes to show up, but much to my surprise quite a few recipes popped up!

Quite a few recipes with "war" and "depression" in the title. During times where there were rations on food, or money was short  and what not, human ingenuity still thrived - if not greatly increased. Just because times were hard didn't mean that the sweet tooth stopped calling out, or that birthdays didn't happen. People truly used bleak times to still make delicious things.

Tuesday in my quiet time, I came across Matthew 9:27-31, and for some reason it made me think about how it's like making depression cupcakes. Two men cry out to Jesus to help them in with their blindness. I can only imagine their life to that point to be bleak indeed - stumbling around in darkness with no real way to take care of their needs. But in their despair, they had the sweetest thing of all. They had faith that Jesus, the Messiah, could heal them.

While I was reading this, I thought, "Gosh! These guys could see more clearly than I can!" I get so wrapped up in myself, my circumstances, my issues - but I don't give them back over to the Lord. I don't see Jesus as healer and completer always. I have so much, but lack everything in those moments because I don't trust my Savior! Another thing that got me was how Jesus, after healing the men, told them not to tell anyone. But the men couldn't keep what happened to them to themselves! Jesus tells me to tell THE WORLD about Him, and yet I get scared and keep Him to myself. What the heck?!

So this is what I decided: I need depression cupcakes. I need to see every day that I can lose everything, barely have anything to live on, have my rights and liberties taken from me and I would still have the sweetest thing in the world - JESUS!! 

Mark 8:36 says, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" 

Lord, help me to continue to rely on you. Help me to realize daily my need for you, and that you are my sweetness in every situation and in every circumstance.

Depression Cupcakes
(from allrecipes.com Depression Cake II recipe)


  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease (I used butter since I haven't made bacon in a long time, but isn't that cool how resourceful they were in the day?? I love it!)
  • 2 cups raisins (I have a thing about dried fruit, nor do I keep it on hand. So I didn't use it. I reading some comments on allrecipes that someone just added a bad of frozen fruit and it turned out good. May be worth experimenting to you adventurous folk.)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves (You may want to cut this down because you can definitely taste it. I didn't mind it really.)
Put your brown sugar, hot water, bacon grease (or substitute), and raisins (if using), over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then set aside to cool. 

Either preheat your oven to 325ยบ, or plug in your cupcake maker (since I use my cupcake maker, and I forget to count how many that makes... you're on your own). The website says this recipe can make two 8x4 loaf pans, and I also saw that someone would make this in a bundt  pan. The batter is a bit sticky, so much sure you use baking cups, or grease and flour your pans.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Add the ingredients from the saucepan and mix until well blended.

If you do this cake, it says it takes 45 to 50 minutes. Each set of cupcakes in my cupcake maker took about 10 minutes or a little less since it was a little thicker batter. What I liked about making these in the cupcake maker it that it made the edges a little crispier than a normal cupcake since I didn't use baking cups. I like spice cakes to be a little crispy.

While I was cooking up the cupcakes, I made this super easy caramel frosting. 

Okay, it may not be technical caramel, but it tastes like it and it doesn't include melting sugar (I tried to do the melt sugar way... I failed, needless to say) or boiling sweetened condensed milk for hours (which I wanted to try, but I'm usually so short notice on what I'm going to bake, so I never have time to try it).

Caramel Frosting
(From Yahoo Answers - yes, I'm one of those people who type in their question into Google instead of using key word searches. Hey! It works, and it gets the job done.)


3/4 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup evaporated milk
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

In a saucepan over low heat, heat butter and brown sugar, stirring until smooth.

Stir in evaporated milk.

Let it cool like Luke's hand. (Get it? Cool Hand Luke? BAHAHA! Alright, bad pun.)

Gradually, add powdered sugar and vanilla. If you have a sifter or some way to sift it, the frosting will turn out a lot smoother. I did it for the first time this last time make this frosting, and I must say it made quite a difference. I just used a wire strainer thing and it worked... I did get more powdered sugar on my stove top than usual though.

Beat till a soft spreading consistency. I think it spreads better after it gets to room temperature. But if you're last minute baking like I do, I usually just put it on top anyway and it tastes great. I'm not one who cares too much about how it looks. I care more if it tastes awful than looks funky. Anyway, it will just be drippy and not stay right on top of the cupcake.

The most joyful depression cupcakes you ever did make!


  1. Great Post Leah!!! I've never made depression cupcakes but man am I intrigued by them....

  2. You sure are one little inspiring one you are. :)