My paternal grandmother Emma could make whip leather taste good, but she could not bake. The family joke is she could make an eggless, butterless, and milkless cake that was delicious and perfect every time.
1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup raisins, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoons mace, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/3 cup lard, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cup chopped nuts.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl add a couple of drops of water, add the soda and stir until the soda is dissolved; set aside. In a pot bring the water to a rapid boil. Add the sugar, raisins, cloves, mace, cinnamon, and lard to the saucepan. Continue to cook until the lard is melted. Remove the pot from the stove. Once the contents of the pot are completely cool, add the flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and nuts. Stir everything together until smooth. Pour into a greased 9-inch x 13-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the thickest part of the cake, if it comes out clean, the cake is done.