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Vintage Boiled Raisin Cake

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  • Author: Maureen Haddock
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


I have always credited my father’s mom for our family’s boiled raisin cake recipe. My mother’s handwritten recipe book, dated 1947, features her auntie’s boiled raisin cake recipe on the first page. Looking further, I see a star beside a similar cake, credited to a Mrs. Hardy.


Mrs. Hardy always slathered her raisin cake with chocolate buttercream icing. My mother tried it, loved it, and that’s how we ate it, ever after. My older daughter didn’t like the combination of chocolate and spice and suggested we top this recipe with cream cheese icing. Lately, I prefer this cake topped with Vintage Caramel Fudge Frosting. Sigh!

I assure you that any boiled raisin cake is a thing to savour. I encourage you to make one soon. Even my husband Gord, who has Crohn’s, is able to digest this cake because the raisins are twice cooked. On occasion, I have replaced the all-purpose flour with oat flour to accommodate my gluten sensitive daughter. It’s a pioneer recipe, after all, and you can’t ruin it.

As for the icing controversy, I look forward to hearing your opinions.


Units Scale


  • 3/4 of a cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of allspice
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 350°F

Step one:

Place 1 cup of raisins in a medium size saucepan and cover with water. Bring the raisins to a boil; boil gently for 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Step two:

Select a pan; 7 by 11 inches or 9 by 9 inches will work.

Butter the pan and line it with parchment paper.

Step three:

  • ¾ of a cup of white sugar
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 egg

Cream white sugar, butter, and egg in medium size bowl

Step four:

  • ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ a teaspoon of allspice
  • 1½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½ a teaspoon of baking powder
  • A pinch of salt

Mix dry ingredients in another medium size bowl.

Step Five:

Drain the raisins, retaining ½ a cup of the raisin juice

  • Add 1 teaspoon of soda to the juice.

Step Six: Put it all together

Add the flour mixture, in two parts, to the butter and egg mixture, alternating with raisin juice, ending with flour.

Add the cooled raisins

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for about half an hour.

Cool the cake and ice with your favourite icing. Try my Caramel Fudge Frosting, HERE. Lately, I prefer to make this amazing icing with dark brown sugar.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Cakes and Squares
  • Method: Bake

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