2 c. brown sugar (light or dark will work, though I prefer dark if I'm buying it)
2 c. water
2 tsp. shortening
¾ c. raisins (or the dried fruit of your choice)
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
3 c. flour
Put everything but the baking soda and the flour in a large saucepan. Put over high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until it boils for 5 minutes, starting the timer when it comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let cool completely*.
When the syrup has cooled, heat the oven to 350°† and grease a loaf pan.
Dissolve the baking soda in 2 tsp. hot water (if you have one, a shotglass works well) and stir it into the pot. Then mix in the flour.
Pour into the pan and bake for 1 hour or until a knife, piece of spaghetti, or whatever you have on hand comes out clean.
*If you don't cool it all the way to room temperature, the flour will clump up when you try to stir it in and it'll taste funny when you bake it. You can put the pot in the refrigerator if you want cake that day, or you can just put a lid on to keep things from landing in it and leave it out overnight.
†The first time I made this, I started the oven when I started the cake and didn't realize it'd take all day for the pot to come down from boiling to room temp. Ever since, I turn on the oven a few minutes before I stir the flour in.
It definitely looks like it will be a failure of a cake. There's no eggs, and only 2 tiny teaspoons of shortening. But somehow this thing works. I first made it in high school and have kept the recipe ever since. Here's the page in my little recipe journal.
|And this is why I didn't just scan the recipe and put it at the top.|
|It starts out looking like this.|
|After it's cooled, you've got this.|
|The syrup and flour may not want to mix at first.|
|This looks so good I could just turn off the oven and eat it.|
|"How many segments do you want?"|
And why did I have friends over, you may ask? Well, because for once I found a day when most of us could get the night off at the same time and try the pie recipe I'm making for the...
Edit: I linked the friend I lived with at the time to this asking if it looked familiar. The reply: "Lifesaver cake. Better breakfast cake."