POOR MAN’S BOILED Cake – Depression Era Recipe | HARD TIMES – food from times of scarcity


[calm piano music] Hello, hello my beautiful lovelies, it’s Emmy. Welcome back to another episode of Hard Times, where I explore food and recipes from periods of hardship. Today, I’m gonna be tackling another Great Depression recipe, and I got it from this book right here — and it’s called “A Thousand Years Over a Hot Stove: A History of American Women Told through Food, Recipes, and Remembrances [Laura Schenone]” So this book is pretty comprehensive: it includes narratives and stories from slave times; from native peoples; from the Great Depression; periods of war…. But what I think is unique about this book, is that it’s told from the perspective of women and what women had to do during those times. So, very interesting and lots of great recipes. But today I’m gonna be tackling this one — it’s Poor Man’s Cake, recounted by Blanche Eddy. “In its humbleness and simplicity, this raisin spice cake somehow tastes like the Great Depression, and yet it is surprisingly good, even though it has no butter, eggs, or milk. It is also easy and quick to make.” So, another reason why I wanted to make this cake is that it includes a technique that’s kind of interesting. You have to boil the ingredients a bit, before adding the flour — which I’ve never done for a cake before. But I’m gonna try it today! Alrighty. So, here we go. 1 cup (198g) of sugar. ᵇᵒᵒᵖ 1 1/2 to 2 cups (225g – 300g) of raisins — Now the author says unless you really, really love raisins, one and a half cups is plenty. So that’s what I’m going to do because I — mmm, raisins are like a, you know…. In they go. I like them, but I… I don’t know. As a kid, I really didn’t like them. As an adult, they’re fine, you know? 2 cups (472g) of water, 1 teaspoon (2.1g) of clove, 1 teaspoon (2.1g) of freshly grated nutmeg, and 2 teaspoons (4.3g) of cinnamon. And for the fat in this cake, we’re gonna use lard. We’re gonna use 1/2 a cup (104g). Now this is the OXO Good Grips little measuring cup, I will put the link down below if you are interested in this. Many of you have said “why did you get that!” and I use it a lot more than I would have expected, but it’s really, really great for something – like lard or peanut butter – when it’s really sticky, because you can do this. Just like… that, and then you just go — Yesss… And you get cinnamon all over yourself. Lovely. Well, at least you get that. [laughs] Man… Basically, what we’re making here is a fatty, spice infused syrup. So I found a similar recipe to this in MFK Fisher’s wonderful book, “How to Cook a Wolf.” I just recently started reading that book. It is so good. And there’s a bread recipe I really want to try too. Okay, so I’m gonna go ahead and boil this for three minutes. Be right back. So now we’ve let our mixture cool down. We’re going to take 3 cups (360g) of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons (8g) of baking powder, and 1 teaspoon (7g) of baking soda. Now we’re gonna add our boiled mixture to that, to form a batter. Course, all the raisins are at the bottom. [giggles] Smells pretty good. It smells like a very spicy spice cake. All the raisins have plumped up, that’s nice. Just mix everything in. You’re gonna need a bundt pan, I’ve already greased this. Okay, so now we’re gonna pop this into a 350°F (177°C) oven and bake it for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Okay, see you in a little bit! Alrighty, so here is my poor man’s cake. It’s been cooling for a little while. So it cooked for exactly 45 minutes, when I checked it with the toothpick, it came out absolutely clean. And my kitchen smells wonderful. Lovely spice smells of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. So it doesn’t say this in the instructions, but I’m gonna go ahead and dress this up with a little bit of powdered sugar. Because bundt cakes, for me, always scream powdered sugar. Oh my goodness, yes. So festive! Alrighty, so let’s go ahead and cut into the cake. Okay, here we go. Oop, there came a raisin. Ooh, look at that. ʰᵉʰ ʰᵉʰ ʰᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉᵉʰ So by the smells of my kitchen, this is gonna taste good, but the crumb looks really good as well. The cake is fully cooked. It has a beautiful kind of molasses color. Itadakimasu! Hmm! And it’s a good, moist, spice cake. It tastes a lot like a carrot cake, but it doesn’t have any of that toothiness that comes from the shredded carrots. Same flavor profile of lots of cinnamon and tons of clove. I personally would pull back a little bit on the clove. A lot, a lot of clove in there. Nutmeg too, so cinnamon to me is fine, but the clove is a bit strong. The texture of the cake is lovely. It’s very, very moist and tender. Mm-hmm. The amount of sugar in there is just right. It’s not overly sweet, but just sweet enough to make you feel like you’re having a dessert or a cake, but I’m really impressed with how moist the cake is. And if you’re wondering if the lard added any kind of flavor to the cake, it doesn’t at all. It’s just tastes like a delicious spiced cake. Mm-hmm. [chuckles] So there you have it, the poor man’s cake. Let me know down in the comments if there are any recipes that you’d like me to taste or try. Share this video with your friends. It really helps me out. Follow me on social media, like this video, subscribe, and I shall see you in the next one. Toodaloo. Take care. Bye! I like cake, yes I do.

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Comments

  1. EMMY there is a children’s book/novel titled “Everything on a Waffle” you need to give it a read because as you read there are some very peculiar recipes! Also the story is very touching. If you do give it a chance I know there’s a recipe in there I’d love to see you make on the channel but I can’t remember it right now!

  2. Make corrections on flavor profile and add a bourbon butter sugar sauce to glaze!! bet that would be a pretty nice holiday treat!

  3. I made this recipe out of curiously. I must tell you that my family loves it and today my grandson asked for a cake of his own. Lol. THANK YOU.

  4. I made this and it actually tasted like the Great Depression.

    So then I tried substituting honey and butter and dried cherries and omitting the spices. It still tasted like the great depression.

    Great video tho. 🙂

  5. Looks great. Always have been a fan of Spice cakes, or simple yellow cakes, often without frosting or even powdered sugar, and served with just coffee or milk.

  6. OMG! I have been always curious about a cake that is an old traditional recipe made on the polynesian island of Tonga, this recipe is very close to how it is made on the island, the only one thing done differently is the batter is wrapped in a sheet cloth tied and boiled in boiling water, I've always wanted to know where these island natives adopted there recipe, the cake is sooo good the boiling process leaves this really delicious skin on the cake itself that is magnificently delicious.

  7. My mom used to make fisswaylos and minwaylos for breakfast. She would put cinnamon and sugar on them or just plane sugar. Anyone have the recipe for them i would like to have it very much. I would like my grandchildren to experience them. Its like fried bread but is more of a liquid that you pour into the oil it remindes me of funnel cake. I loved them, but she forgot how to make them in later years. I'd like to taist one again. Also I would like the recipe for funnel cake if you have it.
    .

  8. If anyone likes these types of videos, I’d try out Cooking With Clara, she was alive during the Great Depression, she passed away a few years ago unfortunately, but has some great videos out!

  9. I've been binge watching your videos all evening. You're just so charismatic and fun to listen to. Funny enough, this is the second one of your Hard Times recipes that I've actually made before. This cake is delicious. Brought it to a church luncheon and the ladies there ate it all up. I didn't bring one piece home. Excellent with a cup of tea too! =)

  10. I just binged watched all of your depression cooking videos. Very entertaining and informative! (so I subscribed)

  11. If you traded out the lard for vegetable oil, this recipe would be vegan. It might change the texture of the finished product a little.

  12. My mother lived through the depression when she was a teenager, and I can remember her making this for us when I was young. She called it the "butterless eggless milkless" cake. Which is pretty descriptive. But we loved it.

  13. Hi Emmy!!! I am a new viewer & of course, now, after a couple of days of binge watching your videos, I can & truthfully admit that I am an Emmy fan!! Your channel came to me by happenstance & for once (of a VERY VERY times, I am thankful for the YouTuber recommendations!!! Now while I have admitted to binge watching your videos, I am still learning so much of how you create, what your publish just the overall information about this channel!!! I love your playlists, the ideas for the different topics!! And while I love everything that I have seen so far, I must say that your playlist on Hard times is brilliant! I love how you always through in knowledge about the video topic & exactly what it is that you are cooking! You are a great sport when it comes to the channels, you have the best speaking voice & your videos are not only educational but also very knowledgeable & fun! I will stop rambling now but just know, that I am now a subscriber to this channel & your other channel & I have also begun following you on FaceBook & Instagram. (please don't think I'm a stalker, well not as of yet, lol!!) So thank you for the great content! Please continue to create as much as you can, when you can & I (along with your other 1.4 million subscribers) will patiently be waiting, eagerly!!

  14. I'd have thought butter, eggs and milk would have been far far cheaper during the depression than nutmeg. Wars were fought over the spice less than a hundred years earlier and its value was higher than gold and silver at one time. Love the videos though. Keep'em coming. <3

  15. In Latin America we soak raisins in rum or cognac or other liquor before we use then in a recipe , Yumm. My favorite Ice cream is rum raisins. or plum vodka, or whiskey kumquat, (the Malaga)!!!

  16. Boiled cake comes from as far back as 1600s….watch the townsends 18 century cooking….used cloth to boil it…not a pan though..

  17. Hi Emmy, loved this video! It reminds me of traditional Irish ‘champ’- probably known as spring onion mash elsewhere now. Although we make it with scallions/spring onions now, original it was made with boiled nettles! It would be boiled nettles and mashed potato, and potentially with some butter and milk (although this was for people who could better afford it)!

    Edit: since potatoes were a big part of the Irish diet until the potato famine, people also used nettles as they were thought to have healing properties! And helped add a bit of nutrition into a diet of potatoes upon potatoes

  18. I think as a kid, a lot of parents used to give them to their children as "candy" instead of actual sweets / chocolates. That's why they don't have that great of a reputation with us when we grew older (and wiser) LOL

  19. When my mother made this for us she spread it into a jelly roll pan( a cookie sheet with sides) and after baking the while still warm, top it with a drizzle of confectioners sugar mixed with a little water. Cut into large "brownie sized " serving. Yum!

  20. I wonder if butter would work just as well as the lard? I want to try this recipe, but I'm vegetarian. I also would probably put dried cranberries in there instead. Just personal preference.

  21. Also know as BEM Cake if you are looking for the recipe online (Butter less, Egg less, Milk less = BEM)

  22. Love your videos. This cakes looks so good. Sadly currently in my country this would be a "richmans" cake as raisins are very expensive

  23. what ingredient could substitute lard for a vegetarian version of this recipe? butter? as butter's kinda expensive where i live, is margarine a possibility at all? thanks!

  24. Wait … "A thousand years over a hot stove" – and ""A history of american women…" – waiiit … Columbus ran into America in October 1492 – thats less then 550 years – and the bigger colonozation waves started 50+ to 100+ and more years later….

  25. I’ve eaten at “How To Cook A Wolf” in Seattle. I wonder if the book and restaurant are related? It was delicious either way.

  26. I like how your channel is exploring history and various unknown places (like prison) through food that is different out of necessity.
    It's very informative and interesting, thanks.

  27. We just ate things like this as daily food. I think when Northerners couldn’t get fresh dairy, this is how they cooked.

  28. They are like my mom’s poor mans bars. She would put a vanilla glaze on top and cut them into bars. They were baked in a 9×13 cake pan.

  29. Your such a Lovely person! I'm not a cooking person nor do I normally use the word "Lovely", but I can't think of a better word to describe you. I do enjoy your vids…LOL

  30. I've made a boiled fruit cake before! It's good because boiling the dried fruit in the syrup makes them plump up and become juicy. The spices are wonderful too.

  31. I like raisins. Always have. Probably always will. Unless I get raisin intolerance or some such thing. I got hit with Lactose Intolerance after I turned 50. I used to drink a lot of milk and eat a lot of sharp cheddar. Sour cream. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother going on living.
    Anyhow, raisins = yum.
    Your little song at the end bought you another subscriber.

  32. You will read down an old Comment of mine about that I tried it and Love it..

    However.. I also now Am Aware that it's the Oldest Israeli Recipe.
    From at least 48.

    The Rich/Connected whould have an egg in it.

    Edit: not Exactly.. but Close Enough that most people when I tell them about it find the differences negligible.

  33. If you liked How To Cook A Wolf, you should check out An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy And Grace by Tamar Adler. Her book is a modern version of HTCAW, and is beautifully written.

  34. "Raisins are like….mmmm y'know." that's the most negative and only negative thing I've heard you say Emmy 😂

  35. I used to eat raisins with every meal for a time as a kid! Now they're just, eh. They're not my favorite, but at the same time, I don't get why people would hate them. They're sweet and easy to chew. Just don't eat really old ones, they're supposed to be moist, not dried-out.

  36. im totes making this w carrots instead of raisins but thx 4 not only the recipe but describing it the way u did & sparking the idea bc i H8 raisins mol

  37. I tried this recipe out today from the Farmer's Almanac. It tastes different cause I made it with coconut flour but still good.

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