The Galley

WarCake: Remembering from the Home Front

By Audra Thorn
War Cake

Every year we remember. Part of how I remember is by paying homage to the people who lived through this painful time. This year I have decided to learn more about what was happening in our own country during the war years. Particularly concerning the ritual of rationing. We’ve heard a lot about it from the British and American perspective so I wanted to look a bit closer at the Canadian perspective.

Canada began its rationing program in 1942. Goods such as coffee, tea, butter, meat, eggs, and sugar were carefully measured out through the use of rationing books. A year later molasses, apple and honey butters, maple syrup, canned fruit and evaporated milk were added to the list.

By 1944 the list expanded to include cheese, canned blueberries and pie filling. A good deal of this rationing list included imported goods because many of the ships weren’t available to import food. Some though were being reserved to import shells and bombs (sugar) or synthetic rubber (molasses).

Rationing books remained in use even after the war as Canada was sending emergency supplies to Europe because many of their farms and factories had been ravaged by war.
So, in honour of this time of sacrifice, this year I am planning to keep these rations in mind when I prepare food for my family during the week of Remembrance.

I would like to pay homage to the people here at home who did their best to help those overseas any way they could. My first recipe is called a Canadian war cake. This recipe was developed during this rationing era. It contains no butter or eggs and uses limited sugar.

Canadian War Cake
1 cup cherry flavoured craisins (traditionally raisins were used but this is a modern take)
2 cups water
1 tsp baking soda
1 T lard (or a light cooking margarine)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp clove
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups flour

Combine the craisins, water, spices, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the baking soda and lard to the mixture and allow cooling.
Add the flour to the mixture and mix well.
Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes.
This makes a delicious, moist, fruity loaf cake perfect for serving 12.

Definitely a wonderful cake to serve guests eager to learn a bit more about our Canadian history.

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