This cake often appeared on the Sunday dinner table during the depression and the war years. It's been in my family for three generations. During the olden days, many families could not afford the luxury of the traditional fruitcakes, so this recipe became the popular Christmas fruitcake of the poor.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
10 mins
cook:
1 hr 40 mins
total:
1 hr 50 mins
Servings:
18
Yield:
1 9x13-inch cake
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Ingredients

18
Original recipe yields 18 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch pan.

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  • Place cold water, brown sugar, raisins, lard, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring this combination to a boil. Let simmer for a full 6 minutes, then allow mixture to cool to lukewarm. Set aside.

  • In small mixing bowl, combine flour and soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the cooled mixture. Add vanilla, and blend into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 90 to 120 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool. Store for at least a week before cutting. This cake will remain moist for months.

Nutrition Facts

192 calories; protein 1.8g 4% DV; carbohydrates 34.2g 11% DV; fat 5.9g 9% DV; cholesterol 5.4mg 2% DV; sodium 140.1mg 6% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (3)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/07/2004
My grandmother baked this cake for my dad for his birthday when he was a boy he is now 87. I was so excited when I found the recipe it is meant to be heavy and a bit dry. To avoid that if you wrap the cake and let it sit for 7 days as suggested it will be more moist. I think the addition of pecans would be good. Grandma Julie made an icing as such. I bake the cake in a bundt pan and cover it with the following: Use a heavy skillet (I use an iron skillet) Melt 1 stick of butter or margarine to a bubble-y state stirring add brown sugar approx 1# mix well-cook till bubble-ing it will be like a heavy caramel with a fudge like texture. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of milk or cream. Stir well to mix remove from heat and quickly spoon/drizzle over the decorative side of the bundt cake. This will dry and crack as you slice the cake but oh so good. It also helps hold the moisture in. Either wrap in plastic wrap or foil for the 7 seven day period. I hope this is helpful to someone. I lowered the oven temp and checked with toothpick till it came out clean or with dry like crumbs on it. Dad says it is as "Good as Mom's" and that is good enough for me. Read More
(24)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
11/11/2002
Cooking time at start of recipe contradicts the cooking time given at the end of the recipe. Does not take long to cook - 4o minutes for 18 person size. Found the mixture very dry - 'batter' is normally a liquid consistency. Very tasty. Read More
(12)
3 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 0
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
01/06/2004
My grandmother baked this cake for my dad for his birthday when he was a boy he is now 87. I was so excited when I found the recipe it is meant to be heavy and a bit dry. To avoid that if you wrap the cake and let it sit for 7 days as suggested it will be more moist. I think the addition of pecans would be good. Grandma Julie made an icing as such. I bake the cake in a bundt pan and cover it with the following: Use a heavy skillet (I use an iron skillet) Melt 1 stick of butter or margarine to a bubble-y state stirring add brown sugar approx 1# mix well-cook till bubble-ing it will be like a heavy caramel with a fudge like texture. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of milk or cream. Stir well to mix remove from heat and quickly spoon/drizzle over the decorative side of the bundt cake. This will dry and crack as you slice the cake but oh so good. It also helps hold the moisture in. Either wrap in plastic wrap or foil for the 7 seven day period. I hope this is helpful to someone. I lowered the oven temp and checked with toothpick till it came out clean or with dry like crumbs on it. Dad says it is as "Good as Mom's" and that is good enough for me. Read More
(24)
Rating: 3 stars
11/11/2002
Cooking time at start of recipe contradicts the cooking time given at the end of the recipe. Does not take long to cook - 4o minutes for 18 person size. Found the mixture very dry - 'batter' is normally a liquid consistency. Very tasty. Read More
(12)
Rating: 3 stars
11/24/2019
My husband grew up eating this cake which his grandmother made for special occasions. The first time I made it it was very dry and not good. I made changes based on the Poor Man s Cake I recipe and he says the result tastes like what his grandmother always made: Add 1/4 tsp ginger 1 tsp baking soda Cook for 25 minutes or until toothpick is clean. Cooking something 7 days ahead is not likely to happen in our house! Read More
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