Timing is perfect for a quick raisin cake

  • By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist
  • Wednesday, December 23, 2009 12:01am
  • Life

If your oven’s not already fully booked baking goodies galore, there’s still time to bake a Christmas cake …

“You’ve probably put this raisin cake issue to bed,’’ Camano Island cook Sally Colt writes, “but I have one more thing to offer. I still have a 3-by-5-inch typed recipe for what our family called yum-yum cake.

“I loved it as a kid and have made it myself. It is somewhat similar to the raisin cake recipes which have come in to you. The main difference, to me, is that we always baked the cake in a tube pan. When you sliced it, the cake was similar to a fruitcake, but with raisins only. It was always around at Christmas, together with the mandatory fruitcake.’’

And Pat Hollister of Arlington tells us, “I am sure you will get about a million recipes for raisin cake because it was really, really popular in the 1950s. My mother made it at least once a week because it was easy and delicious — I made it all the time because my son loved it, and it was quick if I got company and needed a nice dessert.

“I still make it for my husband and me once in a while, and it is my favorite potluck dish — everybody loves it. It keeps well, if you don’t eat it all first!

“We called it poor man’s cake and I don’t know why — it’s spendy to make! I have also seen it called Depression cake, again I don’t know why.’’

Winding up, Pat adds, “This is good for fruitcake, too. Just add a container of candied fruit and some walnuts. It’s especially good with a lemon buttercream frosting.’’

Yum-yum cake

2 cups cold water

2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons shortening

2 tablespoons (yes, 2 tablespoons) cinnamon

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pound raisins

31/2 cups flour

In a saucepan, combine the cold water, sugar, shortening, cinnamon, salt and raisins, mixing well. Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let the mixture cool.

When cooled, add the baking soda and flour, mixing well. Spoon into a greased and floured tube pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Makes one tube cake.

Poor man’s cake/fruitcake

1 cup raisins

2 cups water

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 heaping cups flour

Lemon buttercream frosting (optional)

In a saucepan, stew raisins in water until only 1 cup of the liquid remains. Remove from heat, but while the liquid is still warm, add the sugar, butter, egg, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, baking soda and salt. Beat well and stir in flour.

Pour into a greased 8-by-11-inch baking pan and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. When cake has cooled completely, frost with lemon buttercream frosting, if desired.

Makes one 8-by-11-inch cake.

Note: For fruitcake, prepare recipe as described above, adding one container of candied fruit and some walnuts to the flour mixture, then add flour/fruit-nut mixture to raisin mixture, mixing well. If batter is too dry, add a few drops water to bring it to desired consistency.

The next Forum will appear in Friday’s comics pages. Meanwhile, have a wonderful, memory-making Christmas Eve!

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