Expert Author Kelly M Illick

Autumn is such a wonderful time of the year. As the nights get cooler and the days shorter, this time-tested recipe of my grandma's is on my mind. I also start craving other wonderful fall foods; things like apple pie, carrot cake, baked squash, pumpkin nut bread and food of such a nature. Many include those wonderful comfort spices. This is one such recipe. It is wonderful spice cake my Grandma Beecher used to make. Grandma called this cake an Egg-less, Butter-less, Milk-less Cake. I've also seen recipes very similar called Depression Cake. Our family calls it a Poor Man's Cake. It was served on many American tables during the Great Depression. I have often substituted the shortening for butter, obviously canceling out the butter-less in its name. Somewhere along the years, my mom started serving the Lemon Sauce on it. We love to eat it fresh from the oven with a cup of coffee or tea. It's a great way to warm up on a cold fall day.

Poor Man's Cake

1 ¼ cup water

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup raisins

1/4 cup shortening

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch pan. Place water, brown sugar, raisins, shortening, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring this combination to a boil for a full 3 minutes, then allow mixture to cool to lukewarm. Set aside. In small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the cooled mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350 ° for 20- 25 minutes until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Tart Lemon Sauce

1/2 c. sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch (if thicker sauce is desired, add another tsp.)

Pinch of salt

1 c. boiling water

1/4 c. lemon juice

1 tbsp. grated lemon rind (for sweeter sauce use

3 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon rind)

1 tbsp. Butter

In small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually blend in water and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in lemon rind and butter. Make 1 1/2 cups. Serve over Poor Man's Cake. This sauce is also good over angel food cake and pound cake.

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