War Cake

Happy Canada Day everyone! In celebration for our great nations 150th birthday, I’m going to post a family recipe for war cake. This cake came into life during WWII by women trying to work with what little they had.

I think that it’s important to remember the past while we celebrate the present. My Aunt Paulette sent me this recipe for me to post and normally I would write a little bit about the history behind the recipe but my Aunt did such an eloquent job writing the history herself, I think that I’m going to let her take the lead…

Lisa this is a cake my great-grandmother ( Pillon ) my grandmother (Parsons)  and my mom ( Trudel ) use to make when I was young.
Raisins were the most readily available dried fruits during WW ll.
This eggless cake was developed by resourceful cooks during the war when eggs, butter, and milk were rationed.

War cake or boiled raisin cake was a popular cake as it used no butter, milk, sugar or eggs.  It could be made with molasses, honey, syrup or brown sugar – depending on what was available.  Because it has a long shelf life and was a dense, hardy cake it was often wrapped up and sent overseas – a journey that could take several months.

Shortly after the commencement of WW ll , rationing was introduced in Canada (on January 24, 1942), to limit the use of imported food and to free up supplies for the military and their allies. The government introduced rationing because certain things were in short supply, and to ensure that everyone got their fair share.

Each household filled out an application and ration books were mailed out on Monday 31 August 1942. Every family member was issued a ration book. Six different series of books were issued, however, only book one had serial numbers printed on them. Subsequent books had the same serial number, but handwritten. Each book contained coupons for tea, coffee, and sugar, along with spares in the event that other products would be rationed. Butter was added to the list of rationed items in December. The last Canadian ration book was issued in September 1946, with rationing formally concluding in 1947.

  • 2 cups seedless raisins
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
Place the above ingredients into a large sauce pan and bring this to the boiling point. Let simmer for 6 minutes. Set aside to cool until lukewarm.
Add 2 cups of flour sifted with 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix well. Flavour with vanilla. Turn into a greased pan, my mom and grandmother used a deep round pan( I use a Bundt pan)
Bake in an oven 350 F. for 45 minutes depending on your oven…..how they did it in a wood stove is beyond me.
Hope you enjoy the little added history.

Happy Canada Day everyone and happy baking!

2 thoughts on “War Cake

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