It is a very autumnal day here - rather chilly and gray. Strange, but not unheard of for June in New England. The seasons are fickle in these parts - and this week it seems spring is giving us one last cool parting shot before allowing summer to take over. Raw as it is, it's a perfect day for baking and, as I type this post, I have just popped a cake in the oven. Its fragrant spices - cinnamon, clove and nutmeg - are filling the kitchen with what can only be considered a cozy homey mood.
But it's not the fragrance or flavor for which I chose this cake today but the name of the recipe itself ~ Poor Man's Cake. Because yesterday was the Feast of St. Anthony, the patron of the poor, and I thought this would be a fitting snack for our teatime this week.
It's an old-fashioned cake, one my grandpa loved and my grandma baked quite often. I haven't had it in years, but I remember it fondly from childhood visits to their house. I have just learned (thank you, Google) that Poor Man's Cake was also called Depression Cake and was quite popular in the 1930s.
It is so called because it uses no butter or eggs (expensive staples at that time), but relies on strong flavors and simple ingredients for its wholesome goodness. Poor it might be in terms of ingredients, but in taste it is rich and delicious. Our particular version today would have to be called the Even Poorer Still Man's Cake because I used no raisins or coffee. ;)
Poor Man's Cake
- 1/2 box seedless raisins
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water or strong instant coffee
- 3 cups flour, sifted
In a large saucepan add 2 cups cold water (or coffee) with raisins, sugar and shortening. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and let cook slowly for five minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Add remaining ingredients to cooled liquid; mix well. Pour into a tube pan (I used a Bundt pan) that has been greased and floured (I used canola spray). Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean.
As the cake baked, we looked at this week's Magnifikid to familiarize ourselves with Sunday's Gospel. I next talked with the boys about the St. Vincent de Paul Society which works so tirelessly for the needy in our community. This week our church is having a special collection for the Society; I showed the boys the envelope and read from our Parish Handbook about the ways the group helps those in need. As I read aloud, the boys made their own special collection envelopes, pictured below.
A simple afternoon activity and a tasty, teatime treat. :)
Well, thanks for stopping by my little corner ... I wish you a peaceful evening!