Back in September, I attended the Rosses Creek school reunion in Lee County, Kentucky, and was honored to interview a lady named Vina who once taught in the one-room school that still stands there.
Vina was delightful to talk with as she recounted her teaching career.
She began teaching just after graduating from high school, with only a couple of college classes under her belt. She said she was “emergency certified” because our country was in the midst of World War II and there was a shortage of men to teach school.
Vina eventually taught at several area one-room schools, then married and moved to Ohio where she raised a family. She took classes while continuing to teach until she completed her degree. She taught first grade in South Lebanon, Ohio for more than twenty years.
We talked for about an hour, and I felt like I had made a dear friend before we parted ways.
“Go get you a piece of my peppermint cake,” she suggested with a wave of her hand toward the table laden with dozens of desserts.
She didn’t have to tell me twice. Vina’s granddaughter led the way to the cake, then she dished me up a large slice of cake that must have stood at least six fluffy inches tall.
I carried it to the car and ate it all on the way home. (My husband was driving.) Oh. My. Goodness.
The cake was light and airy, sweet, but not too much so, with just a hint of peppermint flavoring. The icing was white and luscious and infused with just a touch of peppermint as well.
Vina said this cake was her father’s favorite, and that her family called it “the birthday cake” because most of her family members request it for their birthdays.
I can see why.
Vina had asked me to send her a copy of the feature I wrote about her and the one room school. After the newspaper was printed, I did so, and I requested that she send me the recipe for that cake I couldn’t stop thinking about.
Therefore, I’m spreading the love.
Here’s the recipe for one of the most delectable cakes you’ll ever stick a fork in.
Vina’s Peppermint Chiffon Cake
Step 1) Mix 2 cups plain flour
1 ½ cups sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt—or you may use ½ tsp. salt, according to Vina
Step 2) Put into separate bowl and mix:
1 cup salad oil
7 egg yolks
¾ cup cold water
1 tsp. peppermint flavor
Beat until smooth—fold in the above dry ingredients and mix well.
Step 3) In a large bowl containing the 7 egg whites (Vina says she usually adds an extra egg white), add 1 tsp. cream of tartar. Beat until very stiff. Fold in the batter gradually, using a rubber spatula. Do not beat. Pour into an ungreased angel food pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 55 minutes. Turn up temperatures to 350 degrees for 10 to15 minutes. Cool cake by turning it upside down a few inches from table or counter. The cake may need to be cut from the pan.
Fluffy White Frosting:
2 egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
Dash of salt
1/3 cup water
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1 tsp. peppermint flavoring, or more to taste
Combine above ingredients, then place over boiling water and beat constantly until frosting stands up. Spread on cooled cake. Enjoy!