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Pioneer Cake Is Still Delicious 200 Years Later

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The brave families who tamed the west hundreds of years ago faced incredible odds. They were forging their own destiny while facing food shortages and dangerous weather in a place where they didn't know anyone but their own family. Everything about life in a covered wagon was difficult, including cooking.

Food was taken very seriously by the pioneers - their life depended on it - and nothing was wasted.

The incredible recipes they created in spite of their conditions shows the ingenuity of the pioneers. Take this cake for example: it's made without eggs, milk or butter, but it's still delicious.


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 teasponn cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Note: you can include other kinds of dried fruit to suit your taste

Click to the next page for the directions!


  1. Boil all of the ingredients except the baking soda mixture, the flour and the baking powder for 2 minutes. Let the mixture cool.
  2. Add in the last three ingredients and bake the mixture in a flat pan at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
  3. When the cake is ready to serve you should be able to slide a toothpick in and out without pulling out any cake. Enjoy!

You can top this with some icing sugar or frosting to make it a little sweeter, but there's something to be said for the authentic pioneer experience!

Share this tasty recipe with someone you know!

[Source: Boom Town's Second Edition of Women's Auxiliary of the Western Development Museum Cookbook]