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26 January 2012 @ 09:13 am
Karen’s Raisin Cake  
My second husband, The DSB, does not like sweets. In fact, there are maybe a handful of sweets he will ever request. His mother’s raisin cake is one of them. Which means of course I had to get the recipe. That is what good wives do, right?
Karen was given this recipe by Mary Morris, a family friend when my second husband was a small child. It was handed down to her by an elderly relative who called it Funeral Cake because it was her go-to potluck dish when someone died (my MIL still does this). Mary loved it so much that she started to make it around the Holidays for folks instead of cookies. Which is where DSB first sampled it.
I have come to really love Raisin Cake. It is fruity, moist, not too sweet and very flavorful. It is a great snack with coffee or milk and makes a yummy dessert or breakfast.

Karen’s Raisin Cake                                                      Makes: 2 regular loaves or 6 mini-loaves

1 lb black raisins
2 c H2O
1 cube butter (1/2c)
1 1/2 c brown sugar
Medium cinnamon stick  or 2 ¾ t ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves or ¼ t powdered cloves
1/2 t salt
1 T cocoa powder
Spray grease

Instant coffee
1T baking soda
5c AP flour

Small sauce pan
Large bowl & spoon
2 regular loaf pans or 6 mini-loaf pans
Measuring cups & spoons
Coffee grinder



  • Stew 1 pound black raisins in 2 cups water for 15 minutes. 

  • Take off heat and while hot add 1 cube of butter (1/2 cup) and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar.

  • Pour into a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.

  • Break up medium cinnamon stick and place in coffee grinder along with 4 whole cloves and reduce to a powder.

  • Add 1 tablespoon spice mix, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon cocoa to raisins.

  • Coat pans with spray grease.

  • In a large measuring cup make one double strength cup of instant double strength coffee per the manufacture’s instructions.

  • Dissolve 1 tablespoon soda into coffee.  Caution the mixture will foam, violently.

  • Add flour to the raisins a cup at a time alternating with coffee mixture and mix well.

  • The resulting dough should be thick and very sticky. If the mixture seems too dry up to an additional ½ of H2O can be added to loosen it up.

  • Divide dough between baking pans.

  • Bake for 45 minutes in 350 degree oven or until a toothpick comes a loaf out clean.


  • Sugar. The original recipe calls for 2 cups – one white and one brown. If you want a sweeter cake go ahead and up the sugar.

  • Spice. If you want less spicy cake reduce the cinnamon to as little as 1 teaspoon and omit the cloves. We like things spicy here hence the increase. You can also add up to a ¼ teaspoon each of allspice and black pepper.


When at all possible buy your spice whole in bulk and grind as needed. Whole spices can last up to two years in an air and light tight container without any loss of flavor. To grind simply load into your coffee grinder and pulse until powdered.  The flavor boost is worth the extra time and investment. My coffee grinder is well over 10 years old and I use it several times a week. Oh and unless you like your coffee spicy be sure to dust the grinder thoroughly before making your next pot o’ Joe. To clean out your grinder simply add bit of stale bread, cover, it grind to dust and dump in the trash. The bread will bind up all the spice residue resulting in a squeaky clean grinder.

Frugally yours-