Kenny's Cake

My 1922 Sarnia cookbook adventure continues with a lesson from our ancestors.

A lot of people assume that most food intolerances, like wheat or peanuts or grass, are symptoms of our modern world, thanks to radiation and acid rain. But clearly, this isn’t the case. All we need to do is reach deeply into the past. I give you Exhibit A: Kenny’s Cake.

I know Whipped Cream Cake is calling your name, but look beneath it.

I know Whipped Cream Cake is calling your name, but look beneath it.

1 cup raisins, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, flour to stiffen, 1-2 cup butter, tsp baking soda, no eggs, no milk.

I don’t know who Kenny was, but based on this recipe, he was probably a kid in knickers who was allergic to eggs and milk. Either that, or his family couldn’t afford them. One thing Kenny wasn’t was diabetic, because there’s a cup of sugar in this cake. Paging Kenny’s dentist!

Starting with quality ingredients is the surest way of successful baking.

Starting with quality ingredients is the surest way of successful baking.

Like all recipes in this old cookbook, the instructions were pretty vague. It said to add enough flour to stiffen the dough. I ended up using about a cup. The last time I had to stiffen something in the kitchen was when I worked at Mother's Pizza. But that’s a whole other story.

Here's what a cup of raisins looks like. In case you weren't sure.

Here's what a cup of raisins looks like. In case you weren't sure.

There wasn’t a lot of batter so I was hemming and hawing about what size of pan to use. I settled on a 9 x 5 loaf pan. I guess this technically makes my version not so much Kenny’s Cake as Kenny’s Loaf. That makes it sound a lot less appetizing.

Kenny's loaf going into the oven.

Kenny's loaf going into the oven.

This advertisement for Knowles Shoe Store was on the opposite page. At first I thought, “Hey, why’s Mr. Peanut selling shoes?” But it’s a shoe sole wearing a hat and glasses and carrying a cane. He looks kinda blind. Better watch your “step,” mister! LOL!

Looks like this guy's a sole man.

Looks like this guy's a sole man.

I baked it at 350 degrees for about an hour. As to how it turned out, I don’t think I added enough flour. It was really damp, which made it difficult to cut. That said, it tasted pretty good. The raisins were chewy and it had a bit of a caramel taste. Hello, cup of sugar. 

Here's a good shot of Kenny's brown loaf.

Here's a good shot of Kenny's brown loaf.

If anything, my experience making Kenny’s Cake made me a little nostalgic. My sister’s first boyfriend was named Kenny. He wore clogs, had feathered hair and rode around on a 10-speed bike with the handlebars flipped up. And if that doesn’t reach deeply into the past, dear readers, I don’t know what else does.

Score: Six upturned handlebars out of ten.

UPDATE: It's been a few hours since I ate a piece of Kenny's Cake and I'm feeling crampy. Is it the cake or the Looney Spoons Grocery Cart Chicken Chili I had for dinner? (Honestly, those stupid recipe names would give anyone cramps. La Rice-a Bon-eata?) Anyways, keep me in your prayers tonight.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: It's the next day and the cramping has gone away. I want to thank my readers for their prayers. I appreciate you both.