War Cake

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I was looking for a good dessert for a canoe trip and I spotted this cake in Sheila Mills’ The Outdoor Dutch Oven Cookbook.  It is from a class of cakes developed during World War II to make do without scarce ingredients, like eggs, butter, and milk.  This also means that it was made with stable ingredients suitable for a long camping trip.  One change I made was to use butter instead of shortening, since the butter will be fine for a week’s trip.

This turned out to be a very nice spice cake.  These amounts are for a 9 inch cake pan and will make 6 good sized servings.  If car camping, a bit of whipped cream on top would be great.

This is good enough to do at home, in which case it should be baked at 325 degrees.

Butter for greasing pan

1 cup water

½ cup (one stick) butter (or shortening)

1 cup sugar

1 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans

¼ tsp. ground cloves

½ tsp. cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. baking soda

At home place in Baggie No. 1 the sugar, raisins, walnuts, cloves, and cinnamon.  In Baggie No. 2 place the flour, allspice, and baking soda.

In camp mix together Baggie No. 1 and the water and butter in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil, stir, and then remove from the heat and allow to cool.  When at room temperature mix in the contents of Baggie No. 2 to form a batter.

Grease a 9 inch cake pan, and if available, line it with baking parchment on the bottom.  Pour in the batter and bake in a low-moderate temperature (325 degrees) in a Dutch or reflector oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is well colored and a toothpick put in the cake comes out clean.


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