Forget the glazed green cherries and other icky candied fruit. This cake relies on raisins and pecans – nothing artificial in either one. And you’ll likely have these ingredients, plus brown sugar, flour, and spices, in your pantry. You don’t have mask up and go to the store if you want to make a last-minute batch of something festive in a season that feels anything but.
This recipe is slightly adapted from the Food Editors’ Favorites Cookbook, edited by Barbara Gibbs Ostmann and Jane Baker (Newspaper Food Editors and Writers Association, Inc, 1983), a collection by professionals who once set the standards for newspaper readers across America. Ostmann, who edited the food pages of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, contributed this 1979 favorite. The well-spiced, not too dense cake will never double as a doorstop!
Holiday Raisin Cake (1979)
1 pound raisins 2 cups hot water 1 cup cold water 1/2 cup margarine or butter 2 cups dark brown sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 teaspoon each ground cloves, allspice, and nutmeg 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons hot water 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup pecans, whole or chopped
1. Simmer the raisins in the 2 cups of hot water in a large (5 quart) Dutch oven or saucepan for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add cold water. 2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 3. Stir in the margarine or butter, sugar, egg, cloves, allspice and nutmeg. Dissolve the baking soda in the 2 teaspoons of hot water and stir into the raisin mixture along with the flour. Mix well. Fold in the nuts. 4. Pour the mixture into a well-greased, 10-inch angel food cake or fluted tube pan. Bake 1 hour or until done. 5. Eat plain or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.