Raisins with a side of nostalgia

H

eirloom recipes, like heirloom jewelry, are passed down from generation to generation. There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia done right, and one of the pleasures of eating as a grownup comes from the sentimental associations I have from my childhood. This nostalgic recipe comes from my Granny Graybill, but unlike some of the other faded, smudged recipe cards I inherited over the years, this recipe is ready to be added to a new generation’s recipe collection.

I found no solid reason for the name "Long Cake" - the only connection being the oblong cake pan it's baked in. (If anyone has some insight, I hope you'll share it with me.) The stars of this cake are the heavenly plump raisins, simmered and soaked in a buttery-spiced brew. I've given serious thought to skipping the dry ingredients and pouring the whole raisin concoction straight over vanilla ice cream. But that's another post.


RAISIN LONG CAKE:

2 c. raisins
2 c. water
1 3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Combine ingredients in medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes (or microwave 6-7 minutes in microwave-safe bowl). Pour into large mixing bowl and cool completely.

Sift together:
3 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Add dry ingredients to raisin mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Pour into greased and floured 9x13 baking pan. Can also be spooned into lined muffin tins.

Bake 350 degrees. For a cake, bake for 35-40 minutes; for muffins, bake 20-25. Cool on wire rack.

Note: Cake/muffins store well - in fact, improves with age!