Poor Man's Cake

An old-fashioned dessert that was especially popular in the 1930s and is sometimes known as Depression Cake. Notice how low in fat this recipe is! Try it with a cream cheese frosting.


2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
1 package (15 ounces) raisins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
3 cups all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan.

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, salt, shortening, raisins, and spices. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Sift together the flour and soda, add to the batter, and mix well. Pour into the pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan.

Cooking & Recipes


12 to 15 servings


Ruth Gagen Brentwood Historical Society, Brentwood, New Hamp

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