Baking with Olivia and Caroline

January 2022 Recipe – Boiled Raisin Cake

By Published On: December 28th, 2021

Happy New Year! This month we’re bringing you the recipe for Boiled Raisin Cake, but don’t let the name stop you from making this yummy cake! This is a recipe that goes waaaay back to my paternal grandmother, Little Gram (1894-1993). She stood about 4’11”, hence the name. She would make this cake for the grandkids quite often due to popular demand. It’s an “oldie but goodie” as some say.

It always seemed to grace the table this time of year along with her… Scalloped Oysters. Now, I can assure you that the Scalloped Oysters were not requested by ANY of us kids and we always tried to pass that dish by as quickly as possible as it made its way around the dining room table. Although she was lacking in the height department, her eyesight never failed her when a dollop of the dreaded oysters wasn’t plopped onto our plates. But we knew there would be the raisin cake for dessert, so we obliged and begrudgingly scooped the oysters from the dish onto our awaiting plates. Thank goodness for Corky, the family dog, who was always eagerly waiting underneath the table for a treat to be sneakily handed to her.

Caroline and I found it fitting that we share this recipe as we both love it and have also both requested it be our birthday cakes as kids.

What makes this cake taste so good is the cream cheese frosting. It adds a nice sweet, but not too sweet balance to the raisin cake. The orange zest is a must!


1 cup seedless raisins
2 cups of water + 3 tbs
1 cup of sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup flour
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup walnuts
Pinch of salt

Cream cheese frosting:

8 oz room temperature cream cheese
½ cup room temperature butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups confectioners sugar
1 tsp orange zest

Directions for the cake:

Line a 9” square pan with aluminum foil (sides and bottom). Heat oven to 350. Boil 1 cup of raisins in 2 cups of water until 1 cup of water remains (8-10 minutes). Make sure there’s at least 1 cup of the water. Let cool. In a large bowl, mix or whisk the sugar and the egg. Add 1 tsp of baking soda dissolved in 3 tbs of water to the sugar mixture. Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Add cooled raisins alternately with flour, then add vegetable oil. Mix well and fold in walnuts.  Bake for 45 minutes until tester in center is dry. When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Directions for the cream cheese frosting:

Beat together the room temperature cream cheese and butter. Add 1 tsp of vanilla and 3 cups of confectioners sugar. Add on 1 tsp of orange zest and mix well.

PS: Scalloped Oysters recipe available upon request!

Olivia and Caroline are enthusiastic foodies and bakers who are constantly in the kitchen, as well as explorers who create their own adventures in our area – and did we mention they are mother and daughter? Follow Olivia on Instagram to see her many creations at @oliviawvalentine.