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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Canada War Cake (without butter, eggs or milk)

Found this in Better Meals for less Money by Mary Green, the same book my cheese drops recipe came from. My first try at it was a disaster. While the flavor was good the texture was extremely dense, so dense that even after an hour in the oven my three-inch high loaf cake (yes, it failed to rise) wasn’t cooked through. At that point I cut it in slices and threw it back in as if it was biscotti for another 20 minutes. It still wasn’t cooked but at least it was dry.

Obviously, something was wrong. Had I left something out? I looked over the ingredients and the instructions, but it didn’t look like it. Then I realized there was no acid in the recipe to activate the baking soda. So I tried it again, with a little more baking soda and some cider vinegar (original recipe can’t have used buttermilk since it claims no milk is required), and put it in a cake pan instead of a loaf pan. Success! It tastes like fruitcake but is a lot cheaper to make. Though I may try substituting candied cherries and pecans on my next attempt.

I’ve put my additions to the recipe in red. Those of you who want to try the recipe as I found it can just leave out those bits, though I don’t recommend it.

1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup shortening (I used margarine because that’s what I had on hand)
1 cup boiling water
2 cups seeded raisins (I used seedless)
½ teaspoon salt (didn’t use, baking soda will add enough sodium)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mace (I used nutmeg)
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda (I used 1 ½ teaspoons)

In a saucepan, combine sugar, shortening, water, raisins and salt. Bring to a boil and boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Let cool. You can actually do this the day before.

Preheat the oven to 325° F. Combine spices and flour in a 2-cup measuring cup. Pour the raisin mixture into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the cider vinegar, followed by the baking soda. It should foam up. Stir in flour/spice mixture. Batter will look a bit dry but don’t worry about it. Spoon the batter into a greased, paper-lined bread pan (I used a greased 9-inch square pan) and bake one hour (I baked it for 45 minutes).

This recipe comes out amazingly well for something that’s supposed to be economical. I’m definitely adding it to my file even though I’m the only one in the house who eats stuff with raisins in it.

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