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Pioneer homemakers’ recipes stand test of time

This week's recipes include chocolate buttermilk cake, boiled raisin cake, and matrimonial cake
From the Kitchen by Joyce Walter

Stuffed into a box of clippings was a heritage-style book of recipes that might have been used by pioneer homemakers.

The pages were yellowed, the cover was missing but it appears the recipes were related to years gone by when eating outside the home was only done at community gatherings where dishes were prepared to share with friends.

Three cake recipes were of particular interest for this week’s column.

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Chocolate Buttermilk Cake

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
2 sqs. unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 1/2 tsps. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Mix in eggs and chocolate. Sift soda, salt and flour and add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk.

Bake in a greased and floured 9x13 inch pan at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

• • •

Boiled Raisin Cake

2 cups raisins
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup butter or oil
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups sifted flour
2 tsps. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsps. cinnamon
2 tsps. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt


1/3 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
5 tbsps. milk
1 1/2-2 cups sifted icing sugar

For the cake, simmer the raisins and water until raisins puff. Cool.

Mix butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add the raisin juice. Sift dry ingredients  together and add to butter mixture. Fold in raisins. Pour into a greased and floured 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes. Cool.

For the icing, melt the butter and add the brown sugar. Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in 5 tbsps. milk and heat until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Then stir in icing sugar and beat until thick enough to spread. Ice cake, let icing set and then serve.

• • •

Matrimonial Cake

1/2 lb. dates
1 cup flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups rolled oats

Cook dates in 1/2 cup water until mushy. Sift flour, soda and salt. Rub in butter and add brown sugar and oats. Spread one-half of the crumbs in a 9x9 inch pan. Cover with date filling and top with remaining brown sugar mixture. Pat smooth. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Joyce Walter can be reached at