Recently, I read Simon Tolkien’s No Man’s Land, and I can just imagine how this cake would have nourished the heart and soul of the soldiers in the trenches. It’s really, really delicious, and perfect comfort food.
It also serves as a wonderful survival food because much like lembas bread, it keeps just about indefinitely without refrigeration. We read about it on BioPrepper‘s website.
So here is the Trench Cake recipe:
The original recipe, promoted by the American Red Cross, comes with a recommendation: “Cake keeps fresh for a long time and can be sent to men at the front.”
1 cup orange juice or rum for soaking raisins
8 ounces raisins (about one package), chopped, soaked in orange juice or rum, and drained before use
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups hot water
2 tablespoons lard (butter may be substituted today, but lard helped the cake stay fresher.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
4 ounces (about 1 cup) pecans or walnuts, chopped
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
Put sugar, hot water, lard, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and raisins, nuts, and grated zest in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat (picture above), stirring frequently, then reduce the heat to low and cook at a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool in a large bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour and baking soda then add to the liquid part. Stir well. Take 2 small loaf pans and grease generously – if you skimp here, it will stick to the pan. Pour your mix in the loaf pans and bake for 45 minutes. Check with a knife when ready. If the knife comes out clean when you poke the cake than it is ready to take out of the oven.
And as you can imagine, it’s wonderful still warm and with butter…