Gram's Poor Man's Cake (Eggless & Milkless)

"From an old cookbook that belonged to Gram. It had section in it called Depression Era Cooking!"
photo by Derf2440 photo by Derf2440
photo by Derf2440
Ready In:
1 10in tube cake




  • Bring to a boil the fruit, nuts, extract, salt, sugar, shortening and coffee.
  • Continue to cook until raisins swell and liquid becomes syrupy; cool completely.
  • Stir together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Add to fruit mixture and combine thoroughly.
  • Pour into a greased 10-inch tube pan and bake at 325° about an hour (if heavy with fruit). Check with tester to be sure cake is done.
  • Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
  • At this point I soak a clean piece of cheesecloth in liquor; brandy, rum, even wine.
  • Wrap the cake with the cloth and in foil--store in COLD place--check often, resoak as needed.
  • There are no exact measurements for the fruit in this recipe--the original recipe stated "fruits, nuts & peels-whatever you have on hand".
  • This was done because it was wartime and things for fancy baking were not always available.

Questions & Replies

default avatar
Got a question? Share it with the community!


  1. Jeanne H.
    My mom made this cake thru all my childhood and I have been looking for the recipe for years because mine was destroyed . This is the only one I 've found that has coffee in it .and I remember that because I was helping watch it boil. We had spices (cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg) , the only difference from yours. I'm going to give it a try this week thank you.
  2. Bokenpop aka Mad
    This is the tastiest cake! I have made this with various combinations of fruit - both fresh and dried combined and it has been delicious each time. I have even replaced my family recipe for Christmas Cake with this one! I don't soak the cake in brandy after it is baked, but I do boil a 1/2 cup brandy with the fruit and coffee. Thanks for a wonderful keeper recipe!
  3. Jeannette 108
    I made this recipie except for the soaking in wine at the end. It only needed to be cooked half as long as the recipie stated. I am going to try it again with the addition of allspice.
  4. Derf2440
    I too passed up the soaking step, we liked it very much the way it came out. Kind of like a thick cookie filled with nuts and raisins, I cut it into small wedges. The coffee taste was quite prominent, almost a mocha taste with no chocolate. I used vanilla extract. I will make these again, they do bring back childhood memories, thanks for posting.
  5. Elly in Canada
    When I saw this recipe it was like a trip back in time! I grew up in a large family, Mum always used 'frugal'recipes, I remember she added raisins to the batter. I had to make it this weekend! I used raisins, cherries and pecans. Instructions are easy to follow.I skipped #7,8 as we wanted to eat it today, will keep the rest in the frig, I know it will not last long!! Mum sometimes used this as her Christmas cake, all the candied fruits and peels were too expensive, she sometimes added spices to the batter. Thanks for a trip down memory lane IB.



Find More Recipes