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Cake for the working class

If there was one thing that the First World War taught Canadian cooks, it was how to be frugal.

If there was one thing that the First World War taught Canadian cooks, it was how to be frugal.

With water as one of its prime ingredients, Economy Cake was a dessert that was resurrected during the Great Depression and found its way to many a Toronto table. The baker needed no eggs and no milk, and some versions even omitted butter and used only lard.

Economy cake
Also known as Poverty Cake, Poor Man’s Cake or — a favourite — Mom’s Minus Cake, this costs pennies to make and tastes pretty good. Adapted from How We Do It, Budget-Designed Recipes from the 1930’s, a collection of recipes gathered from Montreal homemakers.

INGREDIENTS:
• 1/2 lb (226 g) raisins
• 1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar
• 1 cup (250 ml) cold water
• 1-1/2 tbsp (7 ml) each: butter, lard
• 1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) cinnamon
• 1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) salt
• 1-1/2 cups (375 ml) all-purpose flour
• 1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda

METHOD:
Bring first seven ingredients to boil on high heat in medium pot; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Cool.

Sift flour and baking soda together. Add to raisin mixture; mix well.

Bake in a greased 9-inch cake pan in 325F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

 
 
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