Economy Cake, a simple, moist molasses cake that's easy and inexpensive. 

Economy Cake

Economy Cake, a simple, moist molasses cake that’s easy and inexpensive. Made with pantry staples. Satisfying and not too sweet. 

Old recipes are a cultural archive, our window to the past. They offer a glimpse of the impact world events had in the kitchens of Canadians. This Economy Cake is an example of a recipe that was doable during tough times. Likely created during the Depression it offered women a way to serve a sweet dessert or tea cake that didn’t break the bank.

Necessity breeds invention…

Much innovation has taken place in home kitchens during tough times. Through financial stress or lack of ingredients (or both) all sorts of inexpensive recipes were invented, mostly adaptations of “real” recipes, made with inexpensive and/or available ingredients.

The eco-cake: the economic treat par excellence

Recipes that were adapted to rationing don’t always appeal to current tastes. Just follow the delightful Instagram account Cook for Victory New Brunswick for an honest review of the winners and losers in the wartime kitchen and you’ll get a good sense of what home cooks had to work with.

This cake would be considered a winner.

Economy Cake is moist and the molasses, mixed with the spices, adds a little sweet taste.

If you’ve ever found yourself a little financially stuck, Economy Cake is for you. It costs almost nothing to make and the flavors are there!


Economy Cake

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4.7 from 3 reviews

Economy Cake, a simple, moist molasses cake that’s easy and inexpensive. Made with pantry staples. Satisfying and not too sweet.

  • Author: Crosby’s Molasses
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Cakes


Units Scale
  • 1/3 cup shortening (or butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/2 cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, spooned in
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sour milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease and flour an 8″ cake pan.
  2. Cream shortening, sugar, baking soda and spices.
  3. Add molasses and ¼ of the sifted flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. Beat in egg.
  5. Alternate sour milk with remaining flour mixture.
  6. Bake 40 minutes until the top springs back lightly when touched.


  • April 27, 2024


    My siblings and I grew up on this recipe. My mom use to make it all the time. It’s great to see that the recipe is still available

  • December 15, 2023


    Love this cake. Made it a couple weeks ago and it disappeared almost immediately.

  • November 26, 2023

    Evelyn Chaput

    Nice moist cake, not sweet and a bit chewy. Good for coffee time.

  • November 24, 2023

    Catherine Luoma

    I’m so happy you have shared this old time recipe. My dearly departed grandmother (who resided in nearby Nova Scotia) considered this cake to be a staple of her baking repertoire and it was a delicious treat enjoyed by all her descendants. I remember her adding plumped raisins to the mix for special company or family occasions which added a ‘next level’ of taste and texture to this delightful and frugal recipe.
    I can’t wait to make it to offer to my family again!
    Crosby’s all the way!

  • November 22, 2023

    Celine Doherty

    I love Crosbys molasses. I use it every week and baking gingerbread. I must try this one then I will give the rating. Thanks for all the great recipes love from Canada.

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