Super Easy War Cake

by zesty on February 20, 2009 · 31 comments

So, you might ask yourself as I did, how did this cake get the name “WAR CAKE”.  I asked my mom the same thing and she explained, “This cake is called War Cake because there are no eggs, butter, or milk among the ingredients, items often in short supply during war time.”

This recipe has been handed down through a few generations.  War Cake is nothing fancy but what a delicious moist loaf it is.  It goes amazing with a pat of butter and a cup of tea.

The combination of walnuts and raisins really set this loaf apart and give it a great contrast.  The spice mixture adds a great dimension as well.  This loaf really is super easy.  Toss in the ingredients and throw it in a pan.  For this loaf I tend to use a bigger pan like a bundt pan to avoid the center from drying out.


  • 1 lb. Raisins
  • 2 Cups Boiling Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Cup Shortening
  • 1 Cup Cold water
  • 4 Cup Flour
  • 2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tsp . Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cloves
  • 2 Tsp . Cinnamon
  • 1 Tsp . Nutmeg
  • 1 Cup Walnuts, chopped


  1. Simmer the raisins and the boiling water for 15 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Bake in a bundt pan, at 325 degrees, for about 1 hour, or until well browned.
  4. Let Cool, before slicing
  5. ENJOY!

Zesty Tip: With this cake to ensure it did not stick, I used both parchment paper in the bottom of the pan and I added shortening to the middle of the bundt pan.

Big News

  1. The new zestycook design will be released on Monday
  2. The E-Book will be launched late next week as well.
  3. I will be catering a party for 14 tonight so I will have lots of fun recipes to share with you.  I will do a cater week in the near future and talk about the whole process.

Have a great Friday and a nice weekend.
Take care

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mara @ What's For Dinner?

That cake looks a lot like one of my grandma’s recipes… she stayed an avid baker even through WWII and her recipes are fantastic. I’m looking forward to all the Zesty new-ness!


2 VeggieGirl

It’s one of those “accidentally vegan” creations, haha – love it!! :-)


3 Godiva2

Looks good, but lost me with the raisins. Sorry


4 Tanya

I make war cake all the time (not from this website, but from my Fannie Farmer Cookbook). I always leave the raisins out and it turns out fantastic! Don’t let the raisins get you down.


5 ttfn300

can’t wait to hear about your catering experience!! and zesty book? how kewl :)


6 Meg

This looks so delicious! I love anything with plump raisins! Can’t wait to see the new design!


7 Steph

War cake sounds so interesting. I always wanted to bake a loaf type cake with water to see how it compared with thsoe made with milk.


8 Rose

Thanks for the explanation on war cake – this looks good.

Can’t wait to see the new Zesty design. Judging by your previous work, it’s sure to be really great.

Good luck @ your party. Can’t wait to read details!


9 Gera @ SweetsFoods

Wow Cory a great recipe without the traditional ingredients I like it for me tea or coffee!

I expect your e-book and new Zesty design :)


10 Nila Rosa

Good luck at the party. Catering is definitely a stressful job, but very rewarding in the end.


11 Krista

This sounds like a really good, easy to make recipe! Thanks!!!


12 Jenn (eating bender)

I’ve never heard of war cake, but it has an interesting story behind it. Looks great, too! Good luck with the party – and I can’t wait for the new Zesty design and e-book!


13 Joanne

I would have loved the “Cater Week” write up this week?! We’re hosting a party for 14 tomorrow night and could use some professional tips! Hope all goes well with your party and I’ll be looking forward to seeing the new Zesty!


14 brandi


I can’t wait to see the new design and the catering stuff!


15 Saver Queen

This looks great! And a very handy recipe to have. Right now I’m trying to use up what I’ve got before I do another grocery run. I’m out of milk, but with this recipe I don’t need it. Excellent suggestion!


16 coco

this war cake is really interesting! it seems delicious and it’s much healthier than normal cakes! I’ll definitely make this.
one question? Can I replace shortening by something else? what bout full fat yogurt?

and looking forward to see the new design and finally the e-book! :D


17 Biz

What a nice cake! Good luck tonight! Looking forward to the new look too!


18 Bob

I’m intrigued, I think I’ll have to try this out. :)


19 Oh She Glows

Can’t wait to see the new design!

Good luck with the catering…I don’t know how you find the time to blog and cater for 14!



20 Marianne

It’s similar to making wacky cake, which again doesn’t use any eggs/butter/milk. Except that all the wacky cakes I know are chocolate ;)

Have an awesome dinner party!


21 finsmom

Ive never heard of war cake before, but it sounds tasty! I bet it would go perfectly with a cup of tea :)


22 Kath

I hope that’s non-hydrogenated shortening Zest…


23 leslie eggs, butter or milk in a cake??? Never heard of such. But I bet it is divine! I will have to put this one in the “To Bake” pile!


24 beva47

I don’t use shortening. What can I use to replace ? Any advice ?


25 ZestyCook

@Kath – Of course it is :)

@beva47 – You can substitute Butter or margarine to replace the shortening. Equal parts.


26 Culinary Cory

Interesting story about the War Cake. I had no idea that’s how it got it’s name.


27 sharon

Hope the catering went well! This loaf is unique and looks quite tasty. I also received my Grill Charms this weekend so thanks again!!


28 CJ :)

My great-aunt used to make war cake for us all the time, but without the walnuts. I love it and make it all the time at my house!


29 joanne

r u from rhode island?


30 ZestyCook

@ Joanne – No I am from Eastern Canada


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