An oil-based version, which wasn’t adopted that quickly.
An early advertisement for an oil-based cake recipe from the December 15, 1933 edition of the El Paso Herald Post
While the Romans had cakes, they were generally very dense, made of grain and fruit. The earliest cakes that we’re positive were leaveaned began as sweetened bread dough, and those included oil. But at some point, Europeans decided that butter flavor made great cakes, and thus great cake must be made from butter.
But as Dori has told us in her post Yesterdish’s vanilla cupcakes, oil makes better cakes. That’s why cake mixes have generally been standardized to use oil. (Believe me, if the people who made cake mixes thought butter made a better cake, they’d be telling you to use butter in the mixes.)
Still, this idea was regarded as a novelty until about the mid-1960s, so we can surmise that this raw apple cake recipe came from around that period or later. By contrast, a recipe from the period before Americans generally used oil in cakes appeared in the November 12, 1943 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune:
Raw Apple Cake
Try baking one-half of this recipe in a ring mold, serving it hot with a hard sauce or any similar favorite of yours.
From a box sold in Martinez, California.
Raw Apple Cake
1 c. diced apples
1/2 c. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. sugar
2 c. sifted flour
2-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs, unbeaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped walnuts
Sprinkle sugar over apples. Sift dry ingredients and mix well with apples. Stir in oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add nuts.
Bake in 350 degrees. For glass pans, bake 40 minutes at 325 deg.