Grandma Adams’ War Cake

This is a recipe for a cake made without eggs or butter, and potentially without milk or using only sour milk. The recipe calls for lard (clarified pork fat), but Jettie would substitute shortening. This was a recipe told to Jettie by her mother-in-law (my great grandmother), Mary (Huff) Adams, who had made this cake during the first World War (and possibly at other difficult times) when refrigerated dairy products might have been hard to come by. You will notice the directions are relatively spare as well – I guess Grandma Adams knew what she was doing and figured you did too.

Grandma Adams’ War cake

Cook Time 50 minutes
Course Dessert


  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp lard
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp cloves
  • 1 cup water (or 1 ½ cups sour milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • nuts to suit


  • Mix all ingredients together. Mixture will be thin.
  • Bake in a glass pan at 325 degrees (F) for 50 minutes or

Author: harveypc

Bill has been involved in genealogy as a serious hobbyist since 1976. He is interested in all aspects of genealogy including DNA research. His wife, Gretchen, likes to say that Bill has tested the DNA of everyone in the family including the dog (no, we're not related to the dog). He has been a member of The Rotary Club of Omaha (Club 37) since 1997 and is a Past President. He has served his District as Rotary Foundation Chair (2019-2022). Bill and Gretchen are both lawyers, and met at Crighton Law School. They live in Omaha with Cooper the goldendoodle, and they have two grown children: Kaitlin who is studying to be a clinical psychologist, and Bob who is a CPA.

Leave a Reply