Japanese (Rationing) Fruit Cake

This is my favorite fruitcake, from a recipe handed down by my Bubbe Leah (Levy) Weisenfeld (z”l). This cake was a staple in our house when I was growing up. It was many years before I learned that there is nothing Japanese about the cake at all – the name came from the fact that the cake does not require butter or eggs – a great recipe when the United States entered World War II after Pearl Harbor.  Here is the original recipe.

Ingredients

1 box raisins

2 Cups sugar

3 tsp. cinnamon

2 Cups water

1/2 Cup walnuts

3 Cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 3 T oil

Instructions

1.  Boil raisins, sugar, cinnamon, water and nuts for 20 minutes, either on the stove or in the microwave.  When done, the raisons will be plump, and the mixture will be a thick syrup.  Remove mixture from heat and cool.

2.  Stir in flour and baking soda, and pour into 2 lightly greased mini-loaf pans or one bundt pan.  The batter will be much thicker than for a conventional cake. 

3.  Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees, or until a toothpick remains clean when inserted into the deepest part of the cake, and it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.  This cake freezes well.

*****

I have also had very good results with the following variation on the cake, for those who would like to use less sugar and substitute some of whole-wheat flour for the white flour.

Ingredients

1 box raisins

2 Cups sugar

4 tsp. cinnamon

2 Cups water

1/2 walnuts

1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour

1 Cup unbleached all purpose Flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 

3 T oil

The directions are the same as for the original recipe:

 1.  Boil raisins, sugar, cinnamon, water and nuts for 20 minutes, either on the stove or in the microwave.  When done, the raisons will be plump, and the mixture will be a thick syrup.  Remove mixture from heat and cool.

2.  Stir in flour and baking soda, and pour into 2 lightly greased mini-loaf pans or one bundt pan.  The batter will be much thicker than for a conventional cake. 

3.  Bake for 1 hour at 325 degrees, or until a toothpick remains clean when inserted into the deepest part of the cake, and it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.  

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