My heroine is back in the kitchen, and still struggling. She’s feeling a tad more confident and has moved beyond “Johnny Cakes” to something a bit more complicated: Railroad Cake. My source for this recipe was printed about the time railroads came through the Old West. I think we can safely assume it must have been served in a dining car. Interestingly enough, railroads not only changed the face of the landscape but also brought new recipes to the West.
Not much is recorded on railroad dining, but what few references I found referred to a limited menu. This cake recipe reflects the need to keep things simple yet palatable. Most coach passengers carried their own nonperishable food with them to save what precious few dollars they had.
I’m going with the assumption that my heroine traveled to the West by train, sampled this cake and begged for the recipe. She may have had to pay for it. You, however, get it for free. SO…here you go (modified for the modern kitchen).
Baking Time: 30 minutes
Oven Temperature: 350 degrees
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, blending well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add to creamed mix slowly, alternating with lemon juice and buttermilk. When well blended, turn out into two 8-inch cake pans that have been well-greased and floured. Place in a preheated oven. Done when an inserted toothpick comes out dry.
A slice on a bed of hot cream is a nice touch of the Old West. You can sprinkle with powdered sugar for a decorative look or substitute almond extract for the lemon juice for a more nutty flavor .
So, who’s going to try this recipe with me?