Baking with Yeast... Chocolate Yeast Cake

Before 1900 most cakes were baked using yeast instead of baking powder which became available about then. Baking soda was introduced a little earlier. While I would not make it a habit to bake a cake this way, (I don’t bake cakes often anyway) this recipe for chocolate cake using Red Star Instant Blend dry yeast was quite good. It is a different texture than cake mixes and even cakes make from scratch but not hard to make and it is good to try something different. 
 It is not overly sweet which we all liked and the brown butter frosting was just the right touch. You could always just dust it with powdered sugar when cooled.
 Keep in mind that the batter will have to rise for 1 hour after it is in the pan and before baking it. 
 Company Chocolate Cake
3 cups all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups milk
2 squares unsweetened chocolate (the newer packaging will require 4 squares 2 ounces in all)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package instant dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110°-115°)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup soft shortening such as Crisco
3 eggs
½ cups finely chopped nuts

Stir flour, soda and salt together.
Scald milk; add chocolate, stirring until melted; cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Using large mixer bowl, but sugars and shortening until fluffy. 
Add yeast, than eggs beating on low speed with each addition. 
Add the dry ingredients and milk alternately. Start with and end with flour.
Turn batter into greased and floured 9x13x2 inch pan, Let rise in warm place for one hour.
 Bake in preheated 350° oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand in pan for 10 minutes before removing to rack. When cool frost with Browned Butter Frosting
Brown Butter Frosting
Brown ½ cup butter in pan over low heat; when brown remove from heat add 2 cups powdered sugar and 3 to 4 tablespoons of whole milk or cream till of spreading consistency.


  1. I saw a show where they were making Election Day cakes back in the day before yeast. They used flour that they wet and let sit for hours to make it yeast like.

    1. Wonder if it was like a sort of sourdough bread, interesting though.

  2. Just love 'vintage recipes, and yeasted cakes are new to me. Makes sense concerning baking powder's original dating. Gotta love brown butter frosting. Yum! Thankyou, may just try this, D.

    1. The frosting is the best part of this cake. Love things made with brown butter.


Hi...we'd love to hear from you.
Comments are moderated before appearing...Thanks.