I don’t know about you, but I have a serious thing for buttermilk. As a baking ingredient, I mean…not a drink. Though, if you’re a buttermilk drinker, kudos to you, friend.
Some of my favorite cake recipes feature buttermilk, and I love what it does for the crumb. Buttermilk affects the gluten to such an extent that cakes are a little more tender, with better depth and body. I’m a pretty picky cake eater if I do say so myself, so a fine crumb and a heavier texture is big in my book.
Deb Perelman over at SmittenKitchen has some INCREDIBLE recipes for cakes that use buttermilk, like this awesome chocolate cake that I’ve basically formed a potentially unhealthy relationship with. When I’m not in the mood for chocolate (what a joke, when is that ever a thing??), I turn to fruit–more specifically, I reach for the nearest berry. Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, snozberries, LET ME AT THEM.
This cake is perfect, in that in combines two of my loves: berries, and buttermilk. Plus it’s super easy to make, and presentation is on point…it looks way more complicated than it actually is, which is nice when you want to impress someone…
Raspberry Buttermilk Cake! (Lightly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen // thanks, Deb!)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons sanding sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (not entirely necessary, but…delicious!)
1 large egg
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup fresh raspberries (or, if you’re like me, as many raspberries as will fit…)
Arrange your oven so one baking rack is in the middle, then preheat that sucker to 400°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, or a square one, or, if you want more cake that this, double your recipe and prep a 9×13 incher.
Whisk your flour, baking powder & soda, and salt together. In another bowl, beat your butter and 2/3 cup of sugar on medium-high speed until it’s pale and fluffy, then beat in your vanilla and zest until just combined. Toss in the egg and mix well.
Add the flour mixture and buttermilk in batches, starting and ending with the flour combo. Mix after each addition until the ingredients are just combined.
Transfer the batter to your cake pan, then place raspberries evenly over the top. Deb Perelman suggests you “scatter” the berries, which works for some, but you could also definitely just place those bad boys as strategically as possible, if you’re sort of a control freak (like me). [Try not to eat all the raspberries before you’ve gotten to this step, otherwise you’ll wind up with a plain buttermilk cake, which is definitely delicious, but not necessarily what you promised your friends who are coming over for tea and cake later and who will, nicely, call you Berry Monster for the rest of your life, all because of that one time you ate all the raspberries.]
Sprinkle the sanding sugar all over the cake and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake is nicely browned. Deb says shoot for golden, but you’re welcome to bake to your preference, obviously. Cool the cake in its pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out (carefully) onto a cooling rack and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes more.
I don’t always invert the cake, personally, because I like serving from some of my nicer ceramic bakeware. That’s just my preference though, and if you’ve got a nice cake plate that you prefer to use, have at it! The world is your oyster!
Serving Suggestion: Any excuse I can find for crème fraiche topping, I’ll take, so if you’re interested, whip up a little crème fraiche (1 cup) with a little splash of vanilla and sugar to taste. The cake is pretty sweet, so I like to go light on the sugar I add…plus I like the tang of the crème fraiche on its own. You can do this by hand with a whisk, or toss the ingredients into a bowl and use your hand mixer, or your standup mixer, if you’re lucky enough to have one…beat the ingredients until they’re well combined and nice and fluffy (no stiff peaks, here), and serve alongside the cake. It is awesome.