This dairy free spice cake appeared at the end of a Guidepost story by a WWII vet. His mom sent it to him when he was overseas. When he unwrapped that spice laden, fruit filled wonder, the holiday smell brought his buddies over in hopes of sharing a piece. Today he often makes that cake to remember his mother’s gift when he was lonely and far away.
I loved the idea of a cake that travels well, so I baked one, and was not disappointed. Then I was inspired to make it for my women’s Bible group, and international student dinners. Both groups devoured it and didn’t leave me a single piece. With mouths stuffed with cake while reaching for a second piece, they told me how wonderful it tasted. That is reason enough,folks, to make this moist cake, laden with spices, plump with raisins and dairy free.
While not gluten free, it IS free of eggs, butter and milk. It lasts on a counter covered with foil for several days; it freezes well, and travels well. Last, but not least, it is simple to make and never fails. Make it in a 9″ square pan and you will have a lovely high cake that looks wonderful cut into squares.
Since I often bake for a large group of international students, most of whom are from India, dairy free is always a concern. I bake it in a larger 9×12 or 13 shallow pan that yields enough to feed a crowd with a guilt free, dairy free spice cake. I always top it with a lovely spoonful of whipped cream made with coconut cream or with soy whipped cream in a can. Both taste very much like fresh whipped cream which I hated having to forfeit because of lactose issues. There are answers people. We can have our cake and whipped cream too!
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups dark raisins
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg or 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (never never use artificial vanilla, or a snake comes and bites you)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsps water 2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 325° fahrenheit
Spray a 9″ x 12″ or 9″ x 9″ baking tin with oil and then flour the tin all over before knocking out the flour. Set the pan aside.
Combine sugar, water, oil, raisins and spices in a bowl. Stir well to mix.
Pour the mixture into a heavy enameled saucepan, bring to a boil. and boil for three minutes. Stir constantly so the mixture does not burn. I know it’s boring to stir constantly, but the minute you turn away, it will boil over on you. See it boiling in the picture and see my spoon stirring away? That’s exactly what you want. After three minutes of stirring and boiling, you can take the pan off the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Using a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda and salt in the two teaspoons of water. Stir to mix and then add this mixture to the raisin mixture cooling in your saucepan. It will foam up. Not to worry. Just stir it all together. The mixture will foam. Do not be afraid. (ha ha)
Place the two cups of flour, the teaspoon of baking powder, and teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the raisin mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon or spatula until it is well mixed and no streaks or patches of flour remain on the underside of the bowl.
Then, pour the batter into the prepared cake tin. Place it in the oven and bake it at 325° fahrenheit for 55 minutes for a 9″ square pan. 30 to 35 for a 9 x 13, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake on a rack for at least ten minutes before serving it.
Here is the finished version of dairy free spice cake topped with dairy free whipped cream.