Cake Of The Week: War Cake

While surfing the web looking for the next old school cake, I came across Vixen Vintage’s blog.  Her post was about War Cake, a recipe featured in the book Our Mothers’ War by Emily Yellin.  Strict rations during World War II left women with little room for baking creativeness.  This simple bread-like cake has a nice balance of spice and the additional of raisins make it seem quite similar to cinnamon raisin bread.


The recipe calls for two teaspoons of baking soda, added at different times during the mixing process.  I wish I was a little more schooled on tweaking recipes, because I did think the soda taste was a bit strong.  Also, a note on that baking soda, when you add your diluted baking soda and salt to your boiled wet ingredients and you feel deep in your soul this is about to remind you of a high school science project… you are dead on!  Be ready, it’s going to be a sugary volcano!  Plan ahead with your saucepan size with that factor in mind!

This was the first time in my whole life I bought and used vegetable shortening (which I still felt was a step up from lard).  For giggles, you should read the can’s warning label.

Warning:  Shortening will catch fire if overheated.  Damage or serious burns may result.

Do heat shortening carefully, uncovered, on medium heat.

Do reduce heat if smoking occurs.

DO NOT leave unattended while heating.

DO NOT refill can with hot shortening.


Do turn off the heat.

Do cover pot until cooled to room temperature to avoid reignition.

DO NOT carry pot until cool.

DO NOT put water on hot or flaming shortening.

And my very favorite:

Not intended for use as a spread.

That shortening!  Makes you feel like you are living on the edge!

A sucker for vintage desserts, I do dig this recipe.  I’d take it over any super frosted cake any day of the week.  The beau had a lot of trouble rating it.  He still sides that it is completely unfair that we have to rate breads to cakes to puddings to cupcakes.  As a bread, he rated it at a seven, as a dessert he rated it at a five.

The recipe can be found here.


2 thoughts on “Cake Of The Week: War Cake

  1. LOL! I love how he found it unfair to compare! That’s hysterical!

    Tip: In an emergency, insert a wick into shortening and it will burn as a candle for, like days!

    Needless to day, I don’t cook with it (much) anymore! I don’t even have a can! I will admit that I do have some of the butter flavored shortening in block form in the cabinet. And now that I’m thinking about it – I moved them with me, and I’ve been here 4 years… Sadly, they are probably still safe to use!

    1. He has found his end of the ‘Cake Of The Week’ deal to be very overwhelming at times! Who knew judging sweets could be so complicated.

      That is so funny, because when I was describing the shortening at work yesterday I’m pretty sure one of my coworkers said, “I think you can use it as a candle!”

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