First off, let me state for the record that I am not Irish. In fact, I’m British born, raised in America and married to an American raised Italian. St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner and Irish Soda Bread was something I hadn’t baked yet, until today. Or had I? I thought I had, that’s what the recipe was called. But after a little searching, it seems what I may have made is actually called Spotted Dog or even Railway Cake. No matter what it’s actually called, I know it’s totally delicious. Reminds me of eating raisin bread when I was a “wee tot”.
I found this wonderful recipe on the All Recipes website. The recipe title is Irish Soda Bread. I didn’t see anyone arguing that in the comments either. However, according to this site, if it has raisins it’s actually not soda bread. They also say if it contains raisins, eggs, baking powder, sugar or shortening, it’s then called a cake, not a bread. Makes total sense to me! Unless of course you are referring to a quick bread…
The website Fabulous Foods has a recipe that is quite similar to the one I baked. Theirs is for Spotted Dog and they describe it as a “traditional irish fruit bread also referred to as Railway Cake”.
So whether it’s Irish Soda Bread, Spotted Dog or Railway Cake, this is a marvelous recipe, one I will make again and again. Don’t be alarmed by the number of raisins. Yes, it says 3 cups! It’s the perfect amount and has just the right amount of sweetness to be perfect for breakfast too. This is my first encounter with Irish Soda Bread… or whatever, but it won’t be my last!
Irish Soda Bread (Spotted Dog, Railway Cake)
slightly adapted from All Recipes
1/2 cup white sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups raisins
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch round cast iron skillet or a 9 inch round baking or cake pan.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour (reserving 1 tablespoon), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins and caraway seeds. In a small bowl, blend eggs, buttermilk and sour cream. Stir the liquid mixture into flour mixture just until flour is moistened.
Use wooden spoon to mix/knead dough in bowl about 10 to 12 strokes. Dough will be very sticky, similar to a loose cookie dough. Place the dough in the prepared skillet or pan and pat down. Cut a 4″ x 3/4″ inch deep slit in the top of the bread. Dust with reserved flour.
Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for 65 to 75 minutes. Let cool and turn bread onto a wire rack.
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