Being a transplant in the South, there are a few rules about food and cooking that you learn pretty quickly:
1) If it ain’t got bacon or lard in it, it ain’t good.
2) Said bacon and/or lard should be sopped up with heavy duty carbohydrates at every meal.
3) We use Crisco.
I have to admit…until I made this recipe, I had never cooked with Crisco. If that makes me a bad Southerner, so be it. I don’t even know what Crisco *is*. I just know that I make fake ice cream out of it for photo shoots – the butter flavored kind makes killer french vanilla ice cream.
So when my friend Magic Fred (don’t ask) asked me if I could bake him this buttermilk cake he’d been talking about, I said sure. I also started having some trepidation because of Rule #4, which is…
4) No one in the South writes down a recipe – you’ll have to call mom’n’em to get it.
This cake really, to me, exemplifies all things Southern. Its a carb gut bomb that’s sweet enough to be dessert washed down with a glass of buttermilk…and its savory enough to be breakfast washed down with a glass of buttermilk.
Maybe I’m a better Southerner than I think…’cuz this cake is really darned good.
Buttermilk Cake – recipe copied directly as dictated by mom’n’em
3 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup Crisco
1 tsp. salt
Mix the above together. Cut in the Crisco using two butter knives until the mixture is about the size of peas. Take 2 handfuls (squeeze it together) and set aside on plate – these two handfuls will be what makes the crumb topping.
Next add –
1 cup buttermilk with 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp cream of tartar added to the buttermilk
Stir the buttermilk mixture until the buttermilk starts foaming. I do it over the bowl and it usually foams over then I pour it into the flour mixture. Stir until moistened. It will have lumps – it is not to be a smooth batter.
Pour into 2 9" cake pans. Take the handful of crumbs and scatter over each cake. Bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes. It was have a nice golden color. The crumb topping will of course stay white.
Added information: I stir the buttermilk mixture hitting the bottom of the measuring cup with the spoon. As it starts to foam, it gets a different sound as you’re stirring. That’s how I know when its about ready.Be sure to use Crisco and not butter or margarine. Good luck!