Appalachian Food

Old Timey Raisin Cake

cake on cake plate with knife

I’ve been hearing folks talk about raisin cakes made by their mother or grandmother for years, but never had the recipe myself, nor even tasted the cake.

Back in December Kathy Gautier said she would share her family’s recipe with me so that I could try the cake. Over the weekend I finally found time to try it and I’m glad I did.

Here’s the directions Kathy sent me.

Raisin Frosting

2 egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup ground raisins

In the top of a double boiler combine egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, corn syrup, water, and salt. Cook over rapidly boiling water, heating while beating with mixer until mixture stands in peaks. Remove from heat, add vanilla and raisins. Beat until thick enough to spread. I soaked my raisins in hot water for about 15 minutes before I ground them up in my mini food processor. You may also add ½ cup marshmallow cream from a jar for a stiffer firmer frosting.

Basic 1-2-3-4 Layer Cake

1 cup butter, at room temperature (2 sticks)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat three 9 inch layer cake pans with baking spray and with flour. In the bowl of stand mixer, beat the softened butter at medium speed, gradually adding sugar til the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Mix eggs, one at a time into the butter mixture. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, about one cup at a time, adding in milk after each cup, alternating. Mix until just combined and add in vanilla extract. Divide the batter evenly between the layer cake pans and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, testing to see if done as ovens differ in baking times, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cake layers to cool 20 minutes before frosting.

The cake turned out so good! I first tried soaking my raisins like Kathy did, but that didn’t work for me. I think my raisins were so plump and moist they didn’t need to be soaked. I fed the first batch to my chickens and then tried chopping up raisins straight from the bag. That worked much better. I was concerned that the raisins didn’t seem to be cutting up in a regular fashion, they sort of chopped up and then came together in a blob. I likely ran them too long in my food processor, but once I added them to the icing and beat well with my mixer they incorporated just fine. I didn’t add marshmallow cream but I bet that would be good.

I like raisins, but wondered how I would like their flavor on a cake. The frosting doesn’t overly taste like raisins, it just tastes good.

We finally got to celebrate Christmas with Granny, Paul, and the rest of the bunch over the weekend. So I made a two layer raisin cake for the occasion and since I couldn’t wait to taste it I frosted the other layer for us to eat on Saturday night. I think the cake would have been even prettier if I had been able to resist eating part of it and had made the cake three layers high.

Have you ever had raisin cake?

Last night’s video: Selling Rocks in Appalachia – A Millennial’s Dream | Part 2.


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  • Reply
    January 25, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    Glad you finally got to celebrate Christmas. Enjoy every one that you can while you have family.

    I remember having raisin cake made by a next door neighbor. It was good but it wasn’t in my Mom’s repertoire.

  • Reply
    January 25, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    Oh my goodness! It’s great to see this. My grandmother made a wonderful “Raisin Spice Cake.” It had no cinnamon, but plenty of nutmeg. She also made wonderful “Stuffed Raisin Cookies” that were a large, round vanilla cookies with a raisin stuffing. My, were they ever delicious. Thank you for posting this recipe.

  • Reply
    Angelyn McLain
    January 25, 2022 at 9:00 am

    I have never had raisin cake. I have made raisin pie. It was very very sweet. I think the cake would be a little less sweet. It sounds like it would be good with a cup of coffee.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    As much asi would love to try this, I don’t think I could pull it off. It’s sounds delicious.

  • Reply
    Barbara Parker
    January 24, 2022 at 3:36 pm

    Hi Tipper, I love raisins and I might try making a raisin cake sometime but when I saw the picture of your Granny’s pumpkin pie I immediately started craving that so it will be next on my baking agenda I guess. I’m glad ya’all had a Merry Christmas even though it was later than usual. I’m happy that you all got over being sick and I’m looking forward to hearing what your next book selection will be. Thank you for all you do to make this world a happier place in your little corner of the world. It shines out to all who are blessed by the BP&the Acorn.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2022 at 3:33 pm

    I’m going to try this one and take it to mom. She loves raisins! I’ll have to substitute that corn syrup with a mild honey though :o)

  • Reply
    Sharon Cole
    January 24, 2022 at 10:12 am

    I like raisins and I like cake!!!! Looks delicious. The date on the calendar doesn’t matter. Being with family is what is important. Take care and God bless.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2022 at 10:07 am

    I’ve never had raisin cake, but think it would taste delicious. My hubby doesn’t like raisins so I doubt I’d make it, unless I make it for a church pot luck. Sadly, now days we don’t have them due to so much sickness. Tipper your raisin cake looks delicious! Enjoy it and eat a slice for me.

  • Reply
    Ray C. Presley
    January 24, 2022 at 10:01 am

    Tipper got a fine looking raisin cake recipe from Kathy. We might just try it for ourselves one day. I agree with Randy in that pound cake with raisins is a favorite. I even like the small Lil Debbie cakes with raisins in them that Ken mentioned. …The Blind Pig is certainly no place to visit if you want to lose weight!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2022 at 9:00 am

    I don’t remember eating a raisin cake like this. My mother would make a raisin pound cake that I liked. It was just a plain pound cake with raisins mixed in the batter. A pound cake is my favorite cake.

    I read the old blog about cooking green beans and one of the comments was about the 5gal lard buckets or cans. I well remember these buckets and how serious my family and especially my granddaddy was when it came to rending out the lard. They were always fearful of scorching the lard because if you did anything cooked in it would have a scorched taste. I have read a story about a family making moonshine and hiding the jars in these lard buckets and pouring hot lard over the jars to hide and protect them. It was said that the Feds could never figure out how the moonshine was being hid , the local law knew but would not bother them. I think they would be getting a few jars of it.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    January 24, 2022 at 8:15 am

    Lil Debbie makes the best raisin cakes I ever ate. I call them fly cakes ’cause they look like flies landed in the batter and got stuck.

  • Reply
    January 24, 2022 at 8:04 am

    Glad you got to celebrate Christmas – better late than never – just like your January 17 post title. Hope you will share some video on YT of your gathering/celebration. Cake looks delicious – we love raisins. I bet the chickens enjoyed their raisin treat too!

  • Reply
    Margie G
    January 24, 2022 at 7:58 am

    Well it’s great comfort knowing you and your wonderful family finally was able to enjoy the fellowship of Christmas. I’ve always believed Christmas is in your heart every day or it isn’t there period. A day is irrelevant and I even propose since a good many animals are born in spring, it stands to reason Christ was born in the spring too. Who really knows? But the rains cake sounds scrumptious and I bet it surely was tasty! Some day I may bake it. I really like baking. Yesterday I made peanut butter cookies with milk chocolate chips- my own creation I guess. I bake for the joy of it to tell the truth. Have a blessed day all of you!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    January 24, 2022 at 7:01 am

    That cake was not only lovely, but it tasted great to, although I do have to say it looked different than any cake I’ve seen.
    We had a very nice post-Christmas, Christmas, thanks to covid. But we didn’t stop our Christmas it just delayed. We still had presents, good food, and wonderful company!

  • Reply
    Martha D Justice
    January 24, 2022 at 6:35 am

    The raisin cake sounds delicious, I ‘ll try it soon. My Mama made fried raisin pies and raisin plate pies all the time and they were GOOOOD ! Have a Great Day

  • Reply
    donna sue
    January 24, 2022 at 6:06 am

    I am glad you guys finally got to have Christmas as a family!! These cake looks interesting. I am trying to like raisins, so maybe I will try this. You mentioned using marshmallow cream to help stiffen the frosting, if you wanted. I love marshmallow cream on hot toast that is slathered with butter. Wonderful for breakfast! Hmmm. I am going to the store this morning. Maybe I will add a jar of marshmallow cream to my list.

    Donna. : )

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