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Poor Man's Cake

Poor Man’s Cake
7 votes, 4.43 avg. rating (87% score)

Yield: 12 to 15 servings

Poor man's cake is an old-fashioned dessert that was especially popular in the 1930s and is sometimes known as Depression Cake. Notice how low in fat this recipe is! Try it with a cream cheese frosting.


  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
  • 1 package (15 ounces) raisins
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3 cups all-purpose white flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan.

In a large saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, salt, shortening, raisins, and spices. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Sift together the flour and soda, add to the batter, and mix well. Pour into the pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan.

Updated Thursday, May 23rd, 2002
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2 Responses to Poor Man’s Cake

  1. Deborah Kirby January 17, 2004 at 8:33 pm #

    GREAT!!! The cake was very moist & very tasty.

  2. Butch Smith December 19, 2004 at 11:22 am #

    Great recipe. Moist and tasty. Also great if you add 2 oz of citron or lemon and 1 cup of chopped black walnuts.

    Makes me think of home and Christmas. Make it a family tradition.

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