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Poor Man's Cake Recipes

Recipes of this type have been popular since the Great Depression and can be served as a simpler, less expensive alternative to the traditional fruitcake during the holidays too. This page contains poor man's cake recipes.
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13 found this helpful
May 19, 2010

Very similar to spice cake, this recipe has been handed down in my family for generations. It is called Poor Man's Cake because you don't need milk, butter or eggs to make it. During the depression, these were expensive and during the War (World War II) they were rationed. It is an excellent, moist cake that needs no frosting. It is always a big hit at potlucks.

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Ingredients:

Wet: Dry:

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in saucepan, bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into a large, generously greased and floured cake pan (I use a 13 x 9 inch pan) and bake at 325 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes. Center should be firm and a clean knife or toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean. Allow to cool before cutting.

Source: Knox family recipe

By dove947 from Millinocket, ME

Comment Was this helpful? 13
May 19, 20100 found this helpful

This is also called a 'War Cake'. It is a great one too!

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0 found this helpful
November 10, 2006 Flag

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. soda
  • 2 rounded Tbsp. shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of each of the following:
  • salt
  • allspice
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • ginger

Directions

Cook raisins and water down to 1 cup juice. Add soda and shortening to liquid while warm. Add sugar and flour (enough to make light batter - will not be stiff), baking powder, salt, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Mix well and bake at 350 degrees F until done.

By Robin from Washington, IA

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March 5, 20150 found this helpful

What suggested amounts for salt and spices?

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Questions

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0 found this helpful
December 5, 2005 Flag

I lost my recipe for a very moist poor man's cake. it was dark brown in color and very moist. I tried a recipe from the internet, and it was not at all like my favorite one. It came out lighter in color, and somewhat dry. Does anyone have this very moist poor man's cake recipe? I would appreciate it!

Thanks,
P.J. from Delaware

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December 6, 20050 found this helpful

Hi P.J.,

This is my grandmother's recipe from 50 years ago and is the best in the world. I usually don't share special recipes but since this is the season for sharing. I hope you will enjoy!

POOR MAN'S CAKE

2 CUPS SUGAR

2 CUPS WATER

1 CUP VEGETABLE OIL

1/2 BOX RAISINS

1 TEASPOON CLOVES

2 TEASPOON CINNAMON

1/2 TEASPOON NUTMEG

1/2 TEASPOON SALT

MIX TOGETHER AND BOIL FOR 5 MINUTES, COOL

ADD COOLED MIXTURE TO 2 CUPS SIFTED FLOUR + 2 SEASPOON BAKING SODA.

ADD 1 CUP OF NUTS IF DESIRED

MIX WELL PUT IN TUBE PAN. BAKE 350* UNTIL DONE, IT TAKES ABOUT A HOUR.

LET ME KNOW IF YOU DON'T FIND THIS THE MOST DELICIOUS CAKE. I STILL CAN'T UNDERSTAND WHY THEY NAMED IT POOR MAN'S CAKE AS IT IS EXPENSIVE TO MAKE.

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December 6, 20050 found this helpful

Hi. That looks like a great recipe! I have also found that adding buttermilk to recipes makes a superb cake.

Cheers!

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December 7, 20050 found this helpful

I printed this recipe from yesterday's newsletter. I do have a question .The recipe calls for "1/2 box of raisins" What size box?? Would it measure out 1/2 cup, 1 cup or....?

Years ago I believe this was referred to as "War Cake" here in Canada. Thanks - Mairmie

Editor's Note: It looks like a box of raisins is 9 ozs. I think that would be slightly over 1/2 cup of raisins. Susan

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December 7, 20050 found this helpful

Hope this is what you are looking for. Found this from the Italian Catholic Federation cookbook which was published in 1980.

Boiled Raisin Cake (Poor Man's Fruitcake)

1 lb. seedless raisins

1 cube butter

1-1/2 cups sugar

3 cups flour

1 cup raisin liquid

2 tsps. cinnamon

2 tsps. nutmeg

2 tsps. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 eggs, slightly beaten

Boil raisins for 30 minutes, drain and reserve 1 cup of raisin liquid for later use.

Cream butter and sugar. Add sifted flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt. Add the raisins and raisin liquid with eggs. Mix thoroughly. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

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December 9, 20050 found this helpful

Is this a dark chocolate cake. I'm thinking of Wacky cake. It's made with Cocoa. Very very dark & moist. No fruit of any kind. No eggs. It's mixed in the same pan it's baked in. Delicious. Let me know if you want the recipe. Noni in Homewood, Il.

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December 18, 20050 found this helpful

Here is my late mother in law's and it IS the ONLY one I ever liked lol Hope this is what you were looking for!

2 c sugar

2/3 c crisco

2 c water

1 and 1/2 c raisins

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 small cloves

1/2 lb walnuts or pecans

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 and 1/2 cups cut up dates

4 c flour

1 tsp baking powder

Combine all EXCEPT soda,nuts,powder and flour into a pan. Bring to a boil on the stove , remove from heat and let it cool. Dissolve soda in 3 tbs of hot water.

When cooked mixture is cooled add all the other ingredients pour into square cake pan (or what you prefer--we used to put them in cupcake pans sometimes) bake 325 degrees for 1 hour.

Happy Holidays

Jo

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December 8, 20060 found this helpful

PJ...I love your comments about the cake being expensive. My mother said that same thing! She said they only thing it is missing is eggs.

It was about 50 years or more ago that she made this cake. I couldn't find her receipt...so thanks for sharing yours.

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August 21, 20080 found this helpful

I think this may be the recipe you were looking for. I got it off the internet because I'd lost my recipe, too. Thanks to Mrs. Dorothy David, we can both enjoy an old favorite. Good luck.

Bonnie N.

Title: Poor Man'S Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

3 c flour

2 c sugar

6 tb cocoa

2 ts baking soda

1 ts salt

12 tb oil

2 tb vinegar

2 ts vanilla

2 c cold water

Instructions

Notes: By Mrs. Dorothy David, Albrightsville. The Times News, PA

In greased pan 13x9, mix all ingredients until smooth. Bake 350ø 40 to 45 minutes. Do not overbake. Frost if desired. (see below)

Poor Man'S Frosting -- Yield: 4 To 6 Servings

Ingredients

1 c milk

1/4 c flour

1 dash salt

1 c sugar

1/2 c margarine

1/2 c vegetable shortening - such as crisco

1 t. vanilla

Instructions

In saucepan, cook milk, flour & salt till thick.Cool well. In small mixing bowl add sugar, margarine & shortening. Beat well with electric mixer. Add flour mixture & 1 t. vanilla. Beat till fluffy and stiff like whipped cream.

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August 21, 20080 found this helpful

I sent you feed back regarding your search for the Poor Man's Chocolate Cake, but just now I found another recipe on line that I think is much closer to the one I remember and may be the same for you. Good luck!

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September 15, 20080 found this helpful

This is the one my grandmother always made. It is dark and very moist.

Stew one pound of raisins in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes. In the same pot add 1/2 cup of shortening and stir until melted. Add 1 cup cold water, 2 cups brown sugar, 2 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Then add 2 more cups of flour on top of the baking soda (if the baking soda hits the warm water it will start to fizz too soon). Add 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and either allspice or cloves (I used allspice). Mix in original pot and pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, turn oven off and leave cake in for 5 more minutes. Cool completely before covering.

hdharley @ verizon .net (remove spaces to email)

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