Quebec cooking: War Cake

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The War Cake has a strong caramel flavor reminiscent of molasses. It is sweet as desired and therefore requires no frosting. This recipe dates from the time of the First World War. Governments were encouraging people to cook without egg and dairy products so they could get enough food for overseas soldiers. They also recommended replacing sugar with honey or maple products in bakeries. The cake was sometimes baked in cans and mailed to family members hired as a soldiers. In Quebec it is found under the names of War Cake, Boiled Raisin Cake and Economic Cake. In the rest of Canada it is called War Cake or Boiled Fruit Cake. Over the years lard has been replaced with butter to improve the taste.

Examining the recipe from the book La Bonne Cuisine Canadienne (1942), we note that the economic cake recipe is prepared with maple sugar, an inexpensive commodity at the time.

 

  [kkstarratings]

War Cake

Servings: 9

Gâteau de la guerre

Prep Time15 minsCook Time35 minsTotal Time50 mins

 1 ¼ cups (190 g) Sultana raisins
 1 cup (200 g) de brown sugar
 1 tsp (1 to 2 ml ) ground cinnamon
 1 tsp (1 to 2 ml ) ground nutmeg
 ¼ tsp (1ml) ground cloves
 ¼ tsp (1ml) salt
 1 ¼ cups (310 ml) water
 ¼ cup (57 g) butter
 1 ½ cups (180 g) all purpose flour
 ½ tsp (2 ml) baking powder
 ¾ tsp (3 ml) baking soda
 ½ tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract

1

Combine raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, water and butter in a medium casserole, bring to a boil and cook 3 Minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature for about 1 hour OR faster in a cold water bath before proceeding with following steps.

2

Set oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) square pan.

3

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and whisk in raisins mixture until just combined; do not overbeat. Add vanilla.

4

Pour in pan and bake 30 to 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. To add more time: 5 minutes . Cool before serving.

Ingredients

 1 ¼ cups (190 g) Sultana raisins
 1 cup (200 g) de brown sugar
 1 tsp (1 to 2 ml ) ground cinnamon
 1 tsp (1 to 2 ml ) ground nutmeg
 ¼ tsp (1ml) ground cloves
 ¼ tsp (1ml) salt
 1 ¼ cups (310 ml) water
 ¼ cup (57 g) butter
 1 ½ cups (180 g) all purpose flour
 ½ tsp (2 ml) baking powder
 ¾ tsp (3 ml) baking soda
 ½ tsp (2 ml) pure vanilla extract

Directions

1

Combine raisins, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, water and butter in a medium casserole, bring to a boil and cook 3 Minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature for about 1 hour OR faster in a cold water bath before proceeding with following steps.

2

Set oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven at 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 inch (23 cm) square pan.

3

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl and whisk in raisins mixture until just combined; do not overbeat. Add vanilla.

4

Pour in pan and bake 30 to 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake. To add more time: 5 minutes . Cool before serving.

War Cake

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