War Cake …a.k.a. Poor Man’s Cake

Posted on Dec 7 2012 - 11:59am by Barry C. Parsons

War Cake …a.k.a. Poor Man’s Cake – an easy to make, simple raisin spice cake using common ingredients to create a moist and delicious version of this timeless classic.

War Cake ...a.k.a. Poor Man's Cake

War Cake …a.k.a. Poor Man’s Cake

I had been getting requests for War Cake on our Facebook Page for the last couple of weeks and although at first I replied that I had never heard of it, in fact, our family has been making it for decades. Said to be a recipe adapted to the limited available ingredients such as eggs and dairy products due to rationing during World War II, we know this cake in our family as Poor Man’s Cake and my Mom’s recipe for it is absolutely delicious. By either name this is one delicious, moist raisin spice cake and although it is made without eggs or milk, you would never know it. It stays moist for days in a covered container but you may want to try it warm out of the oven with some rum sauce for a terrific dessert especially now as the Holiday season approaches.

War Cake ...a.k.a. Poor Man's Cake

War Cake …a.k.a. Poor Man’s Cake


4.0 from 1 reviews
War Cake ...a.k.a. Poor Man's Cake
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War Cake ...a.k.a. Poor Man's Cake - an easy to make, simple raisin spice cake using common ingredients to create a moist and delicious version of this timeless classic.
Recipe type: Cake
Serves: 16 servings
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  1. In a small saucepan combine the raisins and water. Bring to a rolling boil and continue to boil for about 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and butter.
  3. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. This step can be done a day in advance if you prefer. Let this mixture cool for at least a couple of hours until it reaches room temperature.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices.
  5. Pour the raisin mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until well blended but do not over mix the batter. Pour the batter into a well greased and floured bundt pan or tube pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container or cake tin.

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15 Comments on "War Cake …a.k.a. Poor Man’s Cake"

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Oh, my! This must be my grandma’s
“spice cake” they’d make and put in cold storage. By the time the recipe had trickled down to our generation, we called it a doorstop as somehow the leavening must have been left out. Fond memories of it (when moist) with a vanilla buttercream which did, indeed, last for several days covered at room temp. Ty


I have this baking even as I type. Smells so good, sweet and spicy. I made it vegan by using oil in place of butter. And, I used apple cider instead of water, to add another layer of flavor and use up some cider I had in the fridge. I did reduce the sugar to 1 cup because of the sugar in the cider. Can’t wait for it to be done!


Does it freeze well?

Barry C. Parsons

Absolutely Brett!


My mom made this for years, and now I do. It is wonderful, and over the years, I have added mixed fruits and even nuts as well as raisins. It makes a wonderful dark fruit cake.


help!!! Sooo want to make this cake but it must be gluten free. Total novice at gf baking. Uncertain of flour combo to use. My grandmother made this wonderful cake


This cake has become my new favorite! Its the first successful fruit cake I ever made.Super moist and bursting with flavor. I made a triple batch with mixed fruits,added a little black treacle and reduced the sugar to a cup and it was wonderful!!!!
Thanks for this recipe.xx


Made this cake today, very easy and excellent results my family really enjoyed it and asked me to add it to my recipe box to make again. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Jeanielou Kaufman

This could not be a war cake…sugar and butter were rationed as I am 93 and remember it very well without these ingredients. I love your recipe and shall try it.. thanks for all your time to share these recipes.


Just made this cake ,add vanilla to it smell incredible while cooking

Debbie Donahue

Just took it out of the oven, yummy