Holiday Recipe: Old-Fashioned Boiled Raisin Cake

This 19th century “heirloom recipe” is from the kitchen of Emogene Barrett Chase, the grandmother of local dairy farmer, Barry Chase.  Emogene was raised on Skunk’s Misery Road before she moved to Pine Plains.

Barry and his wife, Rosey, make this favorite family (and friend) recipe very Christmas and it is absolutely delicious.  It makes a big batch.  Barry cooks it in a deep, buttered and floured rectangular pan (about the size of a roasting pan).  You can also use French Pani Molds  (available at Hammertown).


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks) *Rosey uses 1-1/2 and Barry uses 2
  • 2 cups strong coffee
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups raisins
  • 1/2 tsp orange peel, finely grated
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 3 cups King Arthur’s Flour
  • 2 heaping tsp. baking soda


1.  Combine all ingredients EXCEPT flour and baking soda in a saucepan and let mixture come to a boil.  Cool thoroughly.  (Barry does this first step at night and then lets it cool overnight)

2.  After mixture is cool, preheat oven to 275 degrees.

3.  Sift the baking soda into the flour and stir into boiled mixture, and thoroughly mix.  Pour into prepared pan, and spread evenly.

4.  Bake for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

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