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1917 War Cake

This easy cake boasts a simple flavor profile from a classic recipe. This cake will appeal to those who love spice cake, because it gets much of its punch from nutmeg and cloves.

Cooking Time1 hr


  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Put corn syrup, cold water, salt, cloves and nutmeg in saucepan. Cook for three minutes after reaching the boiling point. Add shortening.
  2. When cool, add soda dissolved in a little hot water, add flour and baking powder.
  3. Stir, pour into greased tube pan. Bake for one hour at 325 degrees F.

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According to, you can substitute a cup of sugar plus 1/4 cup water for 1 cup of corn syrup. (In recipes where you want dark corn syrup, you use 1 cup packed brown sugar plus 1/4 cup water.)

You should probably point out that this was a recipe developed during war-time when milk, eggs, sugar and butter were scarce and expensive. My mother used to make this cake. It's good -- a little heavy! -- but cheap and I need to find the frosting recipe that goes with it, which I think is mostly boiled brown sugar. My recipe is from the 1932 Detroit Times Cookbook.


@ foreversaved 7671626: A tube pan is a deep cake pan that has a tube in the center. It creates cakes that are shaped like rings, with a hole in the middle. Tube pans are widely available anywhere that cookware is sold. Hope this helps! -- RecipeLion Editors

What exactly is a tube pan??? Thanks for your help.

Hello mmholidaym I definitely think you can substitute with butter. Thanks for the comment and good luck making the recipe!

Can I substitute butter for the shortening? My nephew is allergic to eggs and soy products. Thank you. Mary

Sounds like it's a great EASY CAKE, But you should boast it as an "EGG FREE CAKE". Great for those with allergies. My Sister needs Wheat Free, so I will substitute her Flour. Thank you.


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