Born of hard times and rationing in war, here is a scarcity-dodging recipe for those of us who don’t want to go to the store for butter, eggs or milk. (And incidentally, all who are vegans, lactose intolerant and/or egg allergic.) Besides, some of those ingredients might be scant when you do get to the market.
The cake recipe came to me from Anita Angotti of Caribou years ago. It is an old Brownie Schrumpf recipe. Brownie used to do a column like one for the Bangor Daily News back in the day, as many of you will recall. I used this recipe here in the paper years and years ago, but this seems like a good time to rerun it.
Because some of us are staying home, either working from home or just staying apart from others, we might have more time or disposition for baking. Someone described this phenomenon as “distractibaking,” a way, I guess, of trying to feel normal in abnormal times. I find I crave sweet treats now more than usual, probably a comfort food urge. So here is a terrific way to take care of that.
I like this recipe because I am fond of spice cake and because this has a lovely, chewy, moist texture. It’s easy to knock together, and you can frost it or not as you wish. A sprinkle of powdered sugar will dress it up if you don’t want to go the whole icing route. Cream cheese frosting with lemon is great on it. You can bake it in a square, round or loaf pan, though you’ll have to adjust the baking time upward if you go the loaf route. If you want to turn it out onto a plate for presentation, line the baking pan with parchment paper, or else it probably won’t let go.
Eggless, Milkless, Butterless Cake
Yields 1 9×9-inch cake
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup seedless raisins
⅓ cup vegetable oil
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup water
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a saucepan mix the sugar, raisins, oil, spices and water, bring to a boil and cook for one minute.
3. Take off the heat and allow it to cool to the touch.
4. Sift together the flour, baking soda and powder, and salt.
5. Stir the flour mixture into the sugar and oil mixture, and mix well.
6. Pour into the baking pan and shake it until it fills the corners.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or more until a tester inserted comes out clean.