Poor Man’s Cake

Poor Man’s Cake

It’s the holiday season!!! And that means lots and lots (and lots) of baking! I just love being home for the holidays not only for the family time, but also for the time to relax and bake. This holiday season, I am hoping to do more family recipes, so I thought what better way than to start with this one, my grandma’s Poor Man’s Cake. Not only is it tasty but it has a history and meaning in my family which adds so much to the overall enjoyment of it, making it perfect for this time year.

This is a delicious spice cake, filled with raisins, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can also ice it with butter cream for extra sweetness or add nuts for more texture (we typically leave out the nuts).

I love to have this in the morning with a cup of coffee, or with some hot tea after a long walk in the cold weather.

Below is the recipe and a short story behind this cake from a family recipe book of ours. It is that much more enjoyable knowing the history behind this recipe and what a tradition it has been.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe almost as much as I do.

Poor Man’s Cake

Poor Man’s Cake


  • 3 cups raisins
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • (optional 1 cup chopped nuts)


  1. Put the first 7 ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer and cook slowly for 15 minutes, stirring throughout.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease a bundt pan.
  4. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just until all the ingredients are mixed together.
  5. Pour into the bundt pan and bake for an hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean (this was around 50 minutes for me).
  6. Cool the cake in the pan before removing it.
  7. Frost the top with a buttercream frosting and nuts sprinkled on top, or dust with powdered sugar.

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