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Poor Man's Cake


Several receipt books of around 1900 carry receipts for a 'Poor Man's Cake', invariably soda-raised. Although the ingredients may not seem particularly 'poor', note the huge proportion of cheap flour, about four times as much as usually used for cake and the use of 'dripping' - rendered meat fat - instead of butter and the lack of eggs.

"..it felt rather rich for a poor man!"
Image: Rahul Khubchandani...

Original Receipt from 'Gloucester Citizen' - Monday 08 July 1912

POOR MAN’S CAKE. This recipe a good one used in several workhouses, says the “Hospital.” Slightly warm 4 oz. dripping; beat into it 4 oz. of moist sugar until the mixture is very soft and creamy. Mix together 15 oz. of flour, one teaspoonful of salt, and 1/2 oz. of baking-powder. Add these to the dripping, etc. Add next 3 oz. of currants and about 2 gills of milk or milk and water. Beat well together and turn into well greased baking-tin. and bake moderate oven for about half hour. Product, 2 lb. Cut into slabs. Add spice if wished

Original Receipt from the 'Stevenson Memorial Cook Book', 1919, Chicago, USA

Mrs. K. Larson

One tablespoon butter; one cup sugar; one teaspoonful soda; one teaspoonful baking powder; two cups flour; one cup raisins; two teaspoons vanilla; one teaspoonful allspice; one cup sour milk; one egg beaten.

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