Monday, April 12, 2010

Buttermilk Cake

Since I've made buttermilk I haven't gone without it. It ends up going in a lot more things than I thought and makes all my baked goods more tender. The other day it was summertime hot, and we had dinner outside at a friend's house. I brought over this strawberry buttermilk cake and we served it with fresh whipped cream.

I had been meaning to make this for awhile; there was a version of it in Bon Appetit over the winter. Then I saw it, this time a version from Gourmet, on The Kitchenette, made with blackberries. It was time. I adapted both versions and came up with my own, made with olive oil, which I like to bake with. Nothing against butter, it's just that it's always that much easier! And I like to think it's healthier, which may or may not be the case.

1 cup of flour
1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
A cup of fruit, more or less depending on your tastes or you can leave it out, add spices, be creative and use what you have!

Mix wet and add to dry. Drop fruit (sliced strawberries, whole berries--you get the idea) on top of the batter. It will sink a little; no worries. Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. I used a 10 inch spring form pan, and it seemed to be better on the 25 minute side.

This cake was so easy and delicious that when my in-laws came to visit this weekend, I decided to make it again, this time with the brandied apricots that I've had in the fridge sitting in a shot of their brandy. I pulled the apricots and arranged them on the batter, which I had added vanilla sugar and extract to. Then I downed the last bit of brandy. Waste not, want not! We finished it for breakfast the next day.


  1. Utter yum. That's my kind of cake, most definitely. Hope you enjoyed every last crumb.

  2. hot damn! that there's quite a looker...

  3. MMmmmm, healthy cake! Reminds me of one of my favorites from Marcella Hazan, but looks more tender (and smaller portions, which is good for the only cake eater in my home: a.k.a. me). Now I have to look back and see where you make buttermilk, or were you using the leftover whey from the cheese making?

  4. hmm wonder if this would be good with my canned plums in cinnamon honey syrup? Can't hurt! I need to do something with them! Either that or I think rhubarb would be great in there.

  5. Yum! I have frozen plums and apricots that I need to use up. This will totally be what I do! Sorry, kids, rhubarb pie will have to wait...

  6. ps Julia that is a very old alias of mine I didn't mean to sign with. ;0

  7. Gloria - I did!

    Kate - She's purty, huh!

    RCakeWalk - Do you think it's healthy? I hope so! I should post a link to the Buttermilk post; thanks!

    Liz - That sounds great. Rhubarb, too. Mine is almost ready. So excited!

    Annette - Oh, yes please! Then make the rhubarb cake! Everyone is happy. Do your boys prefer rhubarb? (Don't you hate it when you comment with your other blog account? I do that too.)

    makes so many cakes tons better.
    helps so much with the texture, doesnt it?
    just the sound of the cake makes me hungry!

  9. R - Me too!

    Muffins - Yay is right! I'm totally loving what buttermilk does to my breads and cakes.

  10. I am utterly convinced that buttermilk makes just about any baked good better. This cake looks positively lovely -- and I'm jealous of your mad buttermilk making skillz :)


    lOVE, mAMOU

  12. Smitten Kitchen did a version of this last May and we were addicted for TWO SOLID MONTHS! Seriosuly... I made it every other day for two months with every different fruit we had. YUM! I need to try making real buttermilk, you've inspired me. I've always made the cheater method before (milk and vinegar).

  13. Lo - That's right. I'm rocking the buttah-milk!

    Mamou - Of course. I was planning on it!

    Erin - I think the Gourmet recipe was the one Smitten used. It's brilliant this cake. I'll be making it for at least two months. And yes, make the buttermilk, it's so easy!

    Denise - Thanks!

  14. Maybe I'm just blind, but I don't see anything about the strawberries in the recipe, how much to add or when. How does the fruit part go? Do you just put in whatever looks good to you?

  15. cdurusau - It's pitiful that I'm so brain dead! Thank you so much for pointing this blunder out. Jeez. I've edited it and added the fruit part. My bad!

  16. How wonderful. This sounds like the perfect homey, comforting cake. Perhaps it's the buttermilk. I'll have to check your post on making buttermilk too. I have been wanting to make butter--only tried it once but used (accidentally) ultrapasteurized cream which I suspect is the reason it was an utter failure.

  17. Thanks, Sara! So homey, so easy, so comforting. I've been meaning to make butter, but alas, haven't gotten around to it...

  18. Looks good. Can't wait to try this out.

    I think it's important to note that olive oil is *not* a healthy option for baking. It is not meant for high heat, such as frying or baking, only low heat or no heat. The heat actually transforms the good antioxidant properties of the olive oil into free radicals. If you don't want to use butter, try grapeseed oil instead. It has no strong flavor, is meant for high heat cooking, and is full of healthy polyunsaturated fats (way more than olive oil).

    1. Hi Reena!

      Thanks for commenting! Although, upon my quick research on the internet (I will note that I'm not a scientist and you may be one) I found that olive oil (depending on variety, I bake with a mild olive oil, not virgin or extra virgin) has a smoke point of about 400 degrees. I also often mix it with canola oil, which also has a smoke point of 400 degrees. Grapeseed oil is much higher at 468 degrees, which, while better indeed for frying, I really don't think it makes a difference with baking, especially when you are baking at or below 400 degrees. (Also, I must note that although I do agree with you that grapeseed oil is awesome, it is prohibitively expensive in my household.)

      Do know of any place where your claim is documented? I did a search and came up empty handed. But it certainly doesn't mean it's not out there.

      Again, thanks for the visit and thought-provoking comment!

    2. Also, check this out:

      Extra light olive oil has a smoke point of 468 degrees, just like grapeseed oil!