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Rum-Raisin Depression Cake
By Jim Bailey, a.k.a. The Yankee Chef

Depression cake was a popular treat during, of course, the Great Depression era
here in the U.S. It didn't include eggs, butter and milk because these were
rationed and expensive during this time. However, apples were abundant,
cheap and used excessively.

The topping of boiled raisins actually far predates this cake, back to a little
earlier than the Civil War, when boiled raisin cake being popular. You will
notice, as well, that there is no other leavening agent other than a pinch of
baking soda. You won't believe the reaction of soda and vinegar in this recipe.
This cake rises higher than if you used baking powder or eggs. And the texture
is out of this world, not to mention the taste.

1/2 cup raisins
3 cups apple juice or cider
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Nonstick cooking spray
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup crushed graham crackers
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons rum extract*
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 cups apple sauce

Make Spiced Raisin Sauce by boiling raisins, apple juice and cloves in a
medium saucepan over medium heat for 15 minutes, adding more if needed to
keep liquid just above raisins. Remove, stir in lemon juice and transfer to a
bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray a 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking
spray; set aside. In a large bowl, add flour, graham crackers, sugar, baking soda
and cinnamon; mix well. Add apple sauce, maple syrup, oil, vanilla and
vinegar, stirring into the flour mixture until just combined. Pour into prepared
pan and bake 36-38 minutes, or until nicely browned on top and it springs back
when touched in the middle. Remove from oven to cool slightly before
transferring to a plate or serving platter.
Remove Spiced Raisin Sauce from refrigerator, stir to combine and serve over
cake to serve. Add whipped topping if desired. This cake is also great serving
right out oven and warming raisin sauce before spooning over cake slices.

*Substitute vanilla or almond extract if desired. Old recipes for this cake often
included alcoholic rum and you desire to use this, simply replace the milk with
1/4 cup dark or flavored rum.

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About the author: Jim Bailey is The Yankee Chef™. Bailey is a third
generation chef, a New England food historian and food columnist. His
new cookbook is called
The Yankee Chef: Feel Good Food for Every
Kitchen. He would love to hear from anyone about their old family
recipes. Email Jim Bailey any questions or comments:
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont