Friday, 18 November 2011

Boiled Raisin Cake

So, we're all sitting in the office one day and one of the guys I work with turns to me and says:

Guy: "You should Google Boiled Raisin Cake."
Me: "Is that a joke?"
Guy: "No, just Google it."
Me: "Are you sure it's not something dirty?"
Guy: "No, it's my favorite cake.  Just Google it."
Me:  "If it's something dirty I'm gonna be really mad."
Guy: "Just Google."

Just to be on the safe side, I put "Recipe" in front of "Boiled Raisin Cake". 

And it turns out it's an actual thing and not a cruel joke.  I found a recipe on Allrecipes that I thought should work.  I also looked up Guy's birthday in our files and conveniently he mentioned this cake a week before his birthday.


Here's the sitch.

You boil some raisins in water, then add it to a mixture of flour, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.

Guess I shoulda taken this picture BEFORE it started to boil

And then you're supposed to pour it into a 9x13 pan and bake for 1 hour.  Well, my mixture didn't pour.  It was more the consistency of cookie dough.  So I spread it in the pan and baked away.

It probably could have been taken out of the oven up to 10 minutes before it was done.  The edges were rock hard and the top was pretty crusty - which I don't think is the point.

Obviously - I can't give it away, especially to Guy At Work.  I'd never live it down.  In the garbage it went.

Although I think it might have been a mistake on my end.  Remember how I told you that my pots get really really hot?  I think I should have reduced the heat on the burner and boiled the raisins at a lower temperature.  Because there should have been some liquid left.  So - I don't think it was the recipe's fault

Also - I really love Allrecipes, but I feel like there's essential information missing sometimes.  And you can't contact the recipe submitter and ask questions.  Like this recipe - maybe it should have mentioned that there should be some liquid left in the raisins, just reduced.  I don't know.  I'm starting to like the bloggers I follow more and more for that particular reason!

So, on my last day off, I started over - not typically something I'd do.  But I seriously need a win - after my failed attempt at Angel Food Cupcakes, the gross-bland soup, not being able to taste the Amaretto in that buttercream, and turning a cake into a rock.

I searched on and a recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker came up.... And I thought, "why the heck not".  I follow Michelle's blog and I have yet to make something that she's posted - so that was going to be the day.

And I even had 1 1/2 cups of raisins....  I'm so glad I got extra the morning before I made this.  And when I got back home - I realized that I forgot to pick up vegetable oil.  So I had to go BACK to the grocery store the NEXT morning.

It was starting to be ridiculous.

So, in the afternoon - I started all over again.

I have decided that the reason people were skinny in the olden days is because making baked goods was a giant pain in the butt and people didn't do it very much.  Stirring thick batters and whipping meringue's is the stuff of nightmares.  I can imagine that women before the invention of the electric mixer had fantastic arm strength.  That said - if you know who invented the electric mixer, let me know - I would love to send that person flowers.  Okay - that person is probably no longer around, but my point is, mixing things by hand SUCKS.  That's 100% of the reason I didn't bake before I got a few key tools.  I will say again that I'm not lazy, but I don't have the patience for it.

Sorry about that little segue.  But everything was done by hand and I've discovered muscles that I never knew existed, or maybe just forgot about.

Anyway - back to Michelle's recipe.  She said that she came across the recipe in her Grandmother's files and her Aunt also used to make this cake all the time - old school - should be good.

Same idea as the recipe before, but add in two eggs, reduce the spices, and a few other changes.

Bake to a deep golden brown and let cool to room temperature.

I will admit - this one smelled so so much better than the previous.

And the result? 
I'm pretty sure this picture is from the "garbage" batch.  But - for my own sanity, let's pretend it was the good one.

Mmmmm - moist and chewy with a little bit of a crust.  I was totally surprised.  I completely expected it to be something I wouldn't like - but I did!  Though honestly I wouldn't make it all the time for myself.

And - incredibly terrified I presented Guy with a container full of Boiled Raisin Cake.  And he smiled and the next day told me that my cake was pretty good - he ate two pieces of it the night before.  And continued to eat it even though he was sick and couldn't taste anything anyway.

So - Happy Birthday to the guy I work with!  I'm glad you liked your cake!

This is the Cane Girl - signing off.

Boiled Raisin Cake
aka Old-Fashioned Spice Cake
aka Poor Man's Cake
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I left these out)
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 9x13 baking pan.
  2. Combine water, raisins, and butter in a medium saucepan.  Boil over medium-high heat, covered, for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat, remove the lid, and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. While the raisin mixture is boiling, combine the dry ingredients (through to the cloves) in a large bowl, whisking until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour the slightly cooled raisin mixture over the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until mostly combined and moistened (the batter at this point will have the consistency of a paste).  Add the beaten eggs and stir until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the chopped walnuts.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until deeply browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Cool to room temperature before serving.  If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap to keep the cake moist.  Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.
Source: Brown-Eyed Baker

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