In a previous post I shared very early childhood memories, and a wish to recreate my grandmother's raisin cake. Of course I realize that as long as I try to keep the cake relatively healthy and low fat, I'll never be able to have the cake exactly as I remember it. After all, my grandmother's cake was rich with butter. That said, this second version was so good that it never made it into the freezer as planned. Cake number one tasted great but was too soft and moist. (This isn't a bad thing—just not what I was looking for.) I wanted something firmer and more dense, but not heavy. I was trying for a texture more like a soda bread, but sweet like a cake. And the raisins and spices would be layered into the cake rather than mixed into the batter.
I bought a 9-1/2" bundt pan so the cake would look more like Nannie's. I planned to buy a Nordic Ware 6-cup or 9-cup classic pan, but our neighborhood kitchen store only had a 12-cup and it was enormous. It was also expensive. They had a Cuisinart 9-1/2" pan on sale for only $12.99 and it seemed really heavy and the right size, so I bought it. I was kind of disappointed at the extremely subtle pattern on the finished cake. Also, the outside of the cake wasn't as dark as I thought it should be. And I hadn't noticed that the pan is made in two parts with a seam that shows at the top of the cake. At some point I may still buy the 6-cup Nordic Ware—if I continue to make and refine this cake.
The cake was much closer to what I was looking for, and as I continue to make this cake and perfect it, I'll update the recipe. That said, we loved this cake just as it was.
I used white whole wheat flour because I was out of whole wheat pastry flour and it worked really well. I sifted it before measuring it to make it lighter.
Raisin cake #2
4 cups flour (white whole wheat or whole wheat pastry, sifted before measuring))
2 tablespoons potato starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 teaspoon cocoa
2 cups soymilk plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1-1/2 cups raisins
2 tablespoon margerine
1/4 cup sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Put the raisins in a pot and add water just to the top of the raisins. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down. Add the margarine, sugar and spices and cook gently until most of the water is evaporated and the you have a gooey syrupy base. Turn off the heat.
Put the soymilk and vinegar in a measuring cup and let the milk curdle. Add the oil and vanilla and stir together.
Sift together (or stir well) the flour, sugar, potato starch, baking soda and powder, cardamom, cocoa and salt.
Add the liquid ingredients and mix. The batter will be very thick and sticky.
Lightly oil and dust with sugar (evaporated cane juice) a 9-cup bundt pan.
Place 1/3 of the batter into the pan. Cover with 1/2 of the raisin mixture, keeping the raisins away from the edge of the batter as much as possible. Cover with another 1/3 of the batter. Then add the remaining raisins. Cover with the rest of the batter.
Bake in a preheated 350˚ oven for about 40 minutes, or until the cake tests done.