This is a recipe from my mother, who got it from her mother. Both of my maternal grandparents were born in Ireland. the paternal side of my family came over from Ireland one generation earlier. My wife preferred dried cherries instead of raisins.
(It's not the traditional Scone, nor is it traditional Irish Soda Bread; it's something quite unique … and good)
Passed from Mary (F) O to Mary (O) D
Flour 6 C
Baking soda 2 t
Baking powder 3 t
Salt 2 t
Vegetable Oil 2 T
Molasses (Grandma’s Dark) 2 T
Buttermilk 2½ C
Raisins (etc.) ½ C
1. Preheat the oven to 300-325 (latter preferred) and place a metal pan containing warm water into the oven (below the level where the scones will be baked); this avoids a too-dry crust and cake.
2. Assemble all dry ingredients and place in an electric mixer to be blended.
3. Add the wet ingredients in the order indicated.
4. When all ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, work the batter for about three minutes at a slow-to-medium setting. The batter is thick and sticky (for the biggest batch, we have found that a little more buttermilk works better).
1. The loaf pan(s) is(are) greased in the following way: margarine is spread thinly inside the bottom and sides (with your fingers); afterwards, a thin coating of flour is put onto the margarine by placing about 1 T of flour in the pan and the coating process is carried out by tapping the outside of the pan while allowing the flour to cover the margarine.
2. The batter is divided between/among the loaf pans (5-1/4 X 9-1/4 X 2-1/2 inches) if more than one pan is used.
3. The batter should be pushed towards the outside of the pans (under the best of circumstances, the center of the cake rises above that of the edges).
4. Two pieces (for each pan) of aluminum foil be should cut (3 X 12 inches) to protect the edges of the batter from excess oven heat during the first half (or so) of the baking process. The pieces should be oriented length-wise and pressed along the edge of the pan with the tops bent to partially shield the batter (as shown in the accompanying drawing).
5. After filling the pans and applying the foil shield, place them into the oven (in the upper two-thirds - if possible, rather than the bottom) with some space between the pans.
6. After thirty minutes in the oven, remove the aluminum shields (characteristically, the batter is somewhat depressed [and wet-looking] towards the center with the outsides appearing rounded and dry).
7. Remove the pans from the oven when a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry; usually, one hour into the baking process.